Friday, October 31, 2014

Carpentry & Building 1890

Some interesting and funny comments from the magazine Carpentry & Building  published in 1890.

Fig. 5 shows  this  method  of  getting  the hip rafter backing on  both  sides  of  an  irregular  hip
rafter.   It has been already explained, by getting the distance in plan. This letter would have been unnecessary and not deprived me of my afternoon nap, if the reader would have followed the laws of geometry.

Fig 5 Irregular Hip Roof

Fig 6 Equal Pitched Hip Roof

This is funny. The drawing is correct and is the most simple to follow and the best for general use to determine the hip rafter backing angles.
Which Rule for Backing Hip Rafters is the Best?
From HAH Avoca Wis

 Will you please inform me which of the various rules you have published for backing hip rafters you consider the most simple to follow and the best for general use.  I have examined the correspondence containing these rules and find that one writer pronounces this one Pitch of Hip Batter Backing Hip Rafters Fig 2 Sketch Accompanying Letter from CO incorrect and another brands that one as shaky &c and I am really doubtful which one to follow Will you have the kindness to set me on the right track.


  1. Hey Sim,

    Am I seeing things? Is Fig. 5 showing plumb backing angles? Is that how the 1890 reference is showing them?

    I'd tell that guy to take a look at the "One Length Method". It might be the solution he's looking for.

    It's past my nap time, ZZZzzzz.

    Richard Birch

    1. Richard, no it is not the plumb backing angle. The drawing is showing the correct backing angles. However, it's not a clear drawing.

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  2. Richard BirchNovember 18, 2014 at 6:58 AM


    In Fig. 5, Back Bevels, I think they are unclear and incorrect, as shown.

    The Plumb Hip lines need to be rotated to be perpendicular to the Hip line, then the backing bevels can be drawn correctly.

    1. Richard, yes in Fig.5 the hip rafter backing angles are incorrect. That's why it was funny. The carpenter already had the fig.2 drawing which is correct.
      No, I don't know how to use a framing square only, to find the hip rafter backing angles for an irregular pitched roof. You would have to use some type of geometry with the framing square to find the backing angles.
      What puzzles me is why were they even talking about backing angles in 1890. The only thing they needed to know was the backing depth on the side of the hip rafter, because they didn't have a skillsaw in 1890. They would have drawn out the hip rafter backing depth on the side of the hip rafter, then used a draw knife to trim down the edge bevel and finish it off with a hand plane.

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