What is the Hexenschnitt -- The Witches Cut?

The cuts on the end of the hip rafter for square tail fascia, when there are two different roof slopes on each side of the hip rafter.

The Witches section got its name probably several hundred years ago, as Schiftkenntnisse still secret knowledge of the carpenter were. For the work on the profile of the master took as helpers often an inexperienced employee, in which he could be sure that he gave him nothing of his abschaute Schifttechnik For journeymen and apprentices ge like the skill of the master have time borders on witchcraft.

The witches cut got its name, believing only a person of witchcraft cut make this triple canted tail cut.

Berechnung der Hexenschnittschmiegen

Calculation of the witches cut bevels

Hexenschnitt Gratsparren

Hexen geschnitten Gratsparren

Witches Cut Hip Rafter

R5 = 16.10211°

P2 = 40.89339°

P2 + R5 = 56.9955

Dormer Square Tail Saw Bevel Angle = 25.65891

Math for the Witches Cut

Joe Bartok's Online Math Notes

Traditional Layout to draw out the Hexenschnitt -- The Witches Cut.

This drawing shows how to develop the hip rafter miter cut angles on each side of the hip rafter.

This drawing shows how to develop the hip rafter side cut angles on each side of the hip rafter. Pretty messy, with all the construction lines.

Witches Cut for Timber Framing

Major Pitch 8

Minor Pitch 10

Deck Angle 120

Plan Angle = 70.89339

Plan Angle = 49.10661

90 - R2 = Hip Rafter Miter Angle On Side Of Hip Rafter

90 - 2.99577 = 87.00427 = Hip Rafter Miter Angle On Side Of Hip Rafter

90 - P1 = Hip Rafter Housing Angle On Side Of Hip Rafter

90 - 10.87702 = 79.12298

Witches Cut Miter Angle = arctan(sin(plan angle) x tan(tail angle - roof slope angle) + hip slope angle

Witches Cut Miter Angle = arctan(sin(70.89339) x tan(90 - 33.69007) + 32.2085

Witches Cut Miter Angle = arctan(sin(70.89339) x tan(90 - 33.69007) + 32.2085 = 87.004239

Witches Cut Miter Angle = arctan(sin(plan angle) x tan(tail angle - roof slope angle) + hip slope angle

Pitch 8

Deck Angle 90

Plan Angle = 45

71.92506° = arctan(sin(45°) x tan(90° - 33.69007°) + 25.23919°

71.92506° = arctan(0.7071 x 1.499999) + 25.23919°

71.92506° = arctan(1.0607) + 25.23919°

71.92506° = 46.68587° + 25.23919°

Here's an example of using an 80° tail angle.

Witches Cut Miter Angle = arctan(sin(plan angle) x tan(tail angle - roof slope angle) + hip slope angle

Pitch 8

Deck Angle 90

Plan Angle = 45

61.74784° = arctan(sin(45°) x tan(80° - 33.69007°) + 25.23919°

61.74784° = arctan(0.7071 x 1.04680) + 25.23919°

61.74784° = arctan(0.740194) + 25.23919°

61.74784° = 36.50864° + 25.23919°

CopyRight 2013 by Sim Ayers (Rafter Tools, SBE Builders)

I don't want to see my trigonometric solution in any French or German books.

Witches cut model layout.

Sim , another way is to consider the level line as the run and the angled lines projecting down to the building as the rise . This alternate is taught in

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I just ordered the book, Gurndwissen Des Zimmerers, this morning after seeing your comment and reading online that the German apprentice carpenters are taught the witches geometry cut layout in their third year. Boy, the American apprentice carpentry system sucks. I should have learned this 40 years ago.

DeleteI added a couple more drawings this morning. They use the line projected down from the profile level line to find the hip rafter side cut angles. I, also added the trigonometric solution for finding the witch cut angles when the rafter tail angle is sloped at any angle. As Americans we only use 90° square tail rafters, but the trigonometric solution will work with 80°, 70° ...etc.

Now I need to find the correct way to draw out the bevel angles on the top edges of the un-backed hip rafter using traditional layout. If the hip rafter is backed out first, then the bevel angles on the top edge of the hip rafter are the roof sheathing angles.

Geometry is suppose to be an unspoken language, but it still sucks not being able to read my French and German books word for word.

Sim , There is one chapter just for the witch cut ,If I remember correctly there are three ways that each German Carpenter has to demonstrate the witch cut

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