The Roof Framers Field Manual

Submitted by Ray Thornburg on Sun, 04/19/2015 - 17:33

The Roof Framers Field Manual

by Ray Thornburg

Now Available!

Buy The Roof Framers Field Manual Book Learn the science and math of roof framing carpentry. All of your difficult to solve roof framing problems explained in one concise book. Why waste time searching all over the internet for half answers. This book explains it all with each page dedicated to another framing problem with plenty of clear drawings and illustrations. It shows exactly how to program your phone or calculator to do the heavy lifting on complex framing projects. Download the PDF into any portable computer device and all the hard to remember answers will be at your fingertips. Be one step ahead of the competition.  Save time. Amaze your coworkers. Learn how to be a better carpenter. Written by a roof framer for roof framers. Buy it now!  It's only available here and it's new and updated for 2018! There is no other book like this one.

Note* It's now available in the Amazon Kindle store...but buy it here as pdf's are way more functional as you can open them on any device. However Kindle does offer readers for most operating systems.

Note* A paperback book version is now available only at the Amazon Book Store for $45.00. Big bold illustrations and simple to the point instructions. It's awesome!


The Roof Framers Field Manual (book) front coverThe Roof Framers Manual (book) back page










Front Page                                                                     Back Page

Search my educational blog for some sneak peeks into content similar to what's in the book. The book is written for the professional so there is not a lot of chit chat. It gets straight to the point so answers can be found faster. Don't go searching around for another book like this one.... there isn't any. There are roof framing techniques in this book that I've never seen anywhere else. That's right.... for the price of a cheap hammer and catpaw you can be much more productive. So get the mud out!  Just click the add to cart button below. It's Just $25.00 for the PDF.  Your purchase also helps us to maintain this website.

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Now you'll know every trick in the book!

Learn about:

Roof framing Carpentry.

Common Rafters, tail cuts, figuring kneewall heights.

Hip Rafters, Hip Jacks, Dropping Hips, Chamfering Hips, Setback, Shortening. Figuring Ridge Lengths.

Shed Roof Rafters

Dual Pitch Hip Roofs, Dutch Hips.

Valley Rafters, Valley Jacks, Cripple Jacks

Octagonal and Hexagonal Gazebos

Bay Window Roofs

Barge Rafter Cuts

Crickets, Blind Valleys

Sheathing Cuts

Learn how to obtain the length of almost any rafter in seconds.

and much more...... 172 pages.......

Dont waste another minute!  Click the add to cart button below to buy this PDF book now for $25.00.

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When you receive your PDF download just click save as and choose a folder to save it to. Put it on your iphone, tablet, android device or computer. It's easy! Feel free to leave a comment or suggestion or maybe ideas for a future edition.

Remember this is a PDF type book (not paper); it's an electronic file. On some devices you may need a free PDF reader (adobe reader).

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Submitted by Ray Thornburg on Sun, 04/19/2015 - 17:33


Ray Thornburg | Sat, 07/14/2018 - 16:47

The Roof Framers Field Manual has every trick in the book!  I put every framing situation I could think of in this book. You won't find a book which explains complex roof scenarios in an easier to understand way. Large illustrations and simple formulas chop every roof framing problem down to size. PDF files work on every device.

Ray Thornburg | Sat, 07/07/2018 - 18:22

The Roof Framers Field Manual is now updated for 2018!...Due to changing technology and the fact that my old Casio fx-7400 G Plus bit the dust (actually it still works except the 4,5, 6 keys)...I've upgraded to the Casio fx-9860GII. The fx-9860GII is essentially the same but it has way more memory, a bigger screen and does a million things nobody will ever completely understand. It programs the same way but the program function keys are easier to access which makes writing your programs much easier. It also has an easier to use option screen. The book is updated to reflect this new calculator, some code was cleaned up and improved and some minor type changes were made to make some explanations easier to understand. Otherwise is is the same awesome book that has almost every roof framing situation covered. At least I couldn't think of anything else to put in it.....Here's a pic of the Casio fx-9860GII.

Casio fx-9860GII  The option key (yellow arrow) and the program function key (red arrow) allow for easier use and writing of your programs.  Using the calculator has several advantages over the phone app. First it can be very fast switching from program to calculation mode. Accessing and using it can be very fast. The method of writing the scrips really hasn't changed in the past 30 years so it is a good standy by in case your phone app becomes obsolete or incompatible with newer operating systems. It also has an advantage over those preprogrammed calculators on the market because there are no limitatios to the scrips you can write. So go ahead and get my pdf book and learn something new!






Ray Thornburg | Wed, 01/04/2017 - 08:02

The Roof Framers Field Manual is presented as a PDF. This means it can be opened up on any computer. No need for special software that is special to one operating system or another. Though, I did note that for the kindle fire needed you to download a free PDF reader. One of the best ways to share this book among your various computers and phones is to use Dropbox. Dropbox is a free online storage solution. It actually exists as a file on your computer and as a cloud storage file. Simply download the Dropbox app onto all your devices and the book can be available on your iphone and your other devices. No worries about losing your device because the file is in the cloud. Having the book on your smart phone has some other advantages: The book is always available for reference and the smart phone's calculator can be used to figure your rafter lengths right there on the job. I use the Power One app for this. It really couldn't get any easier. Below is a screen shot of the book on my iphone.



screenshop the roof framers field manual











The only drawback is the size of the screen on a smartphone is limited to the size of the device. Most pdf readers have integrated search, highlighting, bookmarking features which make it really handy. Hope this helps...Good luck and Happy Framing!

Ray Thornburg | Sun, 01/01/2017 - 21:18

Before smart phones came along the handheld calculator was the best thing going. I've had several through the years with the last one being the casio fx-7400G plus. It's a programmable calculator which allows you to enter the formulas outlined in the book. Most programmable type calculators that use algebraic logic work in a similar fashion. The disadvantage of the calculator over the smartphone is portability and availability. The smart phone is pretty rugged and most people carry it around with them everywhere. The calculator in contrast is generally kept in the glove box which may mean walking to your truck to perform a quick calculation. At any rate I thought I'd show how to figure a rafter length using the calculator.


Roof Framers Field Manual - using calculator    On this calculator you'll be presented a screen with some icons for different modes. The menu button (red arrow) brings up this screen anytime. Just scroll over to the Program icon and press EXE to begin. I've already entered all my programs for the kinds of rafters I need to cut so I will just scroll to the script I need to run as seen below.












Hip Rafter Length   On the next screen just choose the program (script) you want to run from the list and press EXE. In this case we choose the one that allows us to figure the length of a standard hip or valley rafter. I named it HIPVAL R. You can choose any name you want when you write the script. At the bottom of the screen note the options for edit and writing a new script.









Roof Framers Field Manual example    The calculator will ask for the rise or pitch of the roof. In this case we entered 7 for a 7 in 12 roof pitch. We'll press EXE again and the calculator will ask the other necessary variable.













length of rafter  

We entered the pitch? as 7. Next we entered the run as 12'. Next we were asked the inches of run which is 8 3/4 inches which we'll enter as 8.75. The calculator will give us the length of the rafter as 19.473130 feet. We'll just subtract the integer portion and multiply the decimal portion by 12 to get 5.6775 inches. Again subtract the integer portion and multiply the decimal portion by 16 to get 10 (10/16"). So the length of the rafter is 19' 5 and 5/8". Now just add your tail, shorten for the ridge, setback the proper amount and you're done.



Hope this helps.


Ray Thornburg | Sat, 11/12/2016 - 22:01

I thought I would show how easy it is to use the formulas in this book to program your calculator or iphone. Once the formula is saved just select the formula you want. As you can see we've entered in quite a few formulas to help us in our roof framing projects. In this example we'll choose hip rafter. The examples shown is from the Power One app for the iphone. Since most people keep their phone with them all the time now, it can be more convenient than running out to the truck for your calculator.

Hip Rafter Formula Example

 At left you see the power one program with some of the scripts visible. Just choose the one you want. In this case we'll choose hip rafter.










Figuring for the length of the hip rafter.The span of this house was 22'11". Divide that by 2 and you have a run of 11' 5 1/2". We've memorized the inch fractions decimal equivalence so we'll input 11 feet and 5.5 inches in the appropriate places and enter the rise of the this case 7. The answer is automatically displayed in feet and fractions of a foot (blue arrow).  To get the inches just subtract the integer portion and multiply the decimal portion by 12, in this case the answer is 6. Do the same for 16ths of an inch if needed. In this case it's 5/16". So the answer for this hip rafter is 17' 6 and 5/16". Pull your tape, mark the birdsmouth and make your deductions for the ridge as outlined in the book and you got it. Easy pie. It's a good idea to hit the new (red arrow) if you have to run your measurements again. Click the image to enlarge into a new window.

Note* I could have included an additional script to convert the final answer to feet and inches for you but my purpose in  writing this book was to teach roof framing so I thought that this conversion process was an essential skill to have. However after you have mastered the process of writing these formulas out;  you yourself could add this feature if you desire.

Hope this helps.....Ray Thornburg

Anonymous | Wed, 01/09/2019 - 06:33

Hi Ray could you detail the mathematical formulae for calculating the hip rafter length in your example Thanks Paul

Ray Thornburg | Thu, 01/10/2019 - 06:12

Sure....the hip rafter run is the same as the run of the common rafter times the square root of 2. Then the formula for figuring the rafter length is the same as for the common rafter except 16.97 is used as the unit run (instead of 12). Details about exactly how to do this is in my book.

Anonymous | Wed, 01/09/2019 - 06:26

Hi Ray could you detail the mathematical formulae for determining the 17.529 hip rafter length thanks Paul

Anonymous | Wed, 10/26/2016 - 07:49

It's so convenient to have this book "The roof framers field manual" on my iphone; now anytime I need to remind myself how to cut an angle I can look it up in seconds right on the job without having to jump down off the roof. I opted to use the formulas that go with the power one app..... It's so easy to get the length of a rafter in just seconds right on my iphone, Can't live without it now!

Anonymous | Mon, 05/16/2016 - 05:11

Very useful, well written. I like the way the author explains shed roof rafters. Now it's easy to figure them and every other kind of rafter. Thanks.

Anonymous | Sat, 02/06/2016 - 07:20

Very useful and convenient... thanks....

Anonymous | Sun, 11/01/2015 - 17:17

This book is indispensable to me now. Ray gives you little scripts you can put on your iphone to figure different kinds of rafters. His explanations are very direct and simple and always include a drawing....makes it easy. It's also great to be able to put the whole book on my phone. I put it in dropbox so I can share it between my home computer and my iphone. Very handy just to flip to the page you want right there on the job site. Now every time I cut a rafter I use the information Ray provides to cut it right the first time. Best money I ever spent!

Anonymous | Tue, 08/11/2015 - 20:36

All I can say is wow! I've been framing for 15 years and didn't know how much I didn't know till I bought this book. But now I do. Ray explains everything in such a straight forward fashion. Want to know how to figure the overhang of an octagonal's here. Sleeper's here. This book even shows you how to figure the length of a dual pitch hip rafter in seconds. And the best thing is if I forget something out on the job I can just take a sneak peek at it on my iphone. What a time saver!

Anonymous | Wed, 08/05/2015 - 01:28

Probably a great book from the comments, but I refuse to create a PayPal account to make a purchase. No other options, leaves me out.

Ray Thornburg | Wed, 08/05/2015 - 10:20

That's the beauty of pay pal....You don't need a pay pal account to pay.....just a credit card....... If it doesn't work that way just let me know....thanks for visiting my site.....

Anonymous | Mon, 06/08/2015 - 10:34

Right on! I've read a lot of carpentry books but none like this. This book is just what I needed. But I'm going to keep it a secret....I don't want my competitors getting their hands on it!

Anonymous | Tue, 04/28/2015 - 20:12

I was hesitant at first but this is the best money I ever spent. I put this on my I phone and my kindle fire too. So easy to find the answers even while I'm at the job site. Thank you!