I really stink at math. When I build I kind of make up a plan in my head and make things up as I go. I'd make a horrible architect or engineer. James likes to draw things out and make a plan. I understand that but it never really goes exactly as you plan anyway so I don't waste my time.
Today we began building rafters for the barn. It didn't seem like it should be all that hard. We picked a height for the front of it and then chose a pitch that would shed snow and rain pretty easily. The thing I didn't know was how to figure out what the pitch was. It turned out being 2;9, or however you write that. It means it has a 2 foot rise for every 9 feet in length. James figured that out by adding this and that and taking the square root of something. I didn't take the time to ask how he came up with it because I didn't need to know since he did. It was something having to do with the height and length of the barn, I think.
Okay, so we had our pitch. Now, how to attach the rafters to the front and back girters (that's a new word we're using now also)? The way the rafters are notched out on the girters are called bird's mouth cuts. It was another thing we had to figure out with numbers and a carpenter's square. Well, neither of us had ever used a carpenter's square in this way. We'd only used it to mark boards and make sure things were, well, square. Of course, there's no better way for me to learn something than by seeing someone else do it. Reading about it doesn't cut it for me unless there are lots of very clear drawings. Since there wasn't a carpenter here to teach us I went to the obvious source, YOUTUBE.COM. I typed in "building rafters" and, TA DA! Just what I needed. I watched Robert Markee, from Expertvillage explain how to measure and cut angles and bird'smouths on a rafter. I watched it maybe 6 or 7 times and finally I thought I got it. I went back outside and tried out what I learned. Well, shut-my-mouth, if it didn't work. I made all the measurements and James trusted me for some reason. Maybe because I pretended to look like I knew what I was doing. I made the cuts, we took it up the ladders and I didn't yell WooHoo, but I wanted to. It all fit perfectly. The two of us weren't fit to be around for a while, we thought we were so good.
We spent a good part of our day thinking and figuring so we didn't get done as much as I thought we would but now that we know what we're doing the rafters should move along a lot quicker. It really takes time because the 2x6's are only 16 feet long and the roof is longer than that so we have to piece together a few boards to make one. It's pretty cumbersome but it works. When I bought lumber I hadn't figured on needing 2 boards per rafter, plus I forgot to buy floor joists, so now we need to go back to Lowes and get more.
We're pretty pleased with how things are going. It's not perfect by any means, but I don't think the goats will notice any mistakes we've made. We may want to spend a few nights in it ourselves before we hand it over to them.