Closing in the Gables – Part 1: Framing and sheathing

Framing and Sheathing done on front!

With the windows and doors almost all installed, we decided to change gears and close in the gables. This part of the house is not structural, so I have more leeway with how to do it. I still used 16″ centers for my framing, though. I decided to frame it in with 2×6’s, since I had almost all the lumber I needed for free from when I was working on the roof and a guy just wanted to get rid of them.

I really like this front window.

The biggest challenge was getting it all up there. My 24′ ladder only reaches the top of the log wall. There was nothing to lean my 40′ ladder against. Plus, I still had to haul the 4×8 panels up there, and I couldn’t see doing that from a ladder. My scaffolding was also too short. I asked around on the LHBA forum for ideas that didn’t involve telehandlers, and Jarrington said just buy another section of scaffolding. I didn’t know different brands of scaffolding fit together, but they do. It’s called “baker” or “perry” scaffolding. So I bought one more section because renting it was the same price as buying it. Plus, with 24′ of scaffolding, I can now reach my ridge pole so I can get the rest of the bark off it. If all this work could be done from the ground…..

Even my 40′ ladder barely reaches the ridge pole.

But it can’t. Which makes it hard. Someone remind me why we built such a tall house? Oh yeah, so we don’t bump our heads at the top of the stairs. I’m sure it will pay off. Someday.

The gables are the triangular portions formed by the peak of the roof and the top of the walls. Some folks want to do log walls all the way up, but that’s harder than it seems. For one thing, the logs get pretty “floppy” if there are no corners to support them. For another thing, you have to have lifting poles about 6′ taller than what you’re lifting, so that would mean something like a 40′ lifting pole. Even most telehandlers can only reach 34′. So do it the easy way: just frame it in like a regular stick home (a “stick home” is what log home owners call a regular framed home).

Here’s how I did it:

  1. Watch the LHBA how-to video 🙂
  2. Shave off any huge knots on the double-butt log. This is the bottom of the triangle.
  3. Snap a chalk line down the middle of this log and set a 2×6 on this line. If the log is bowed, figure out where it will set most comfortably.
  4. Use some fancy laser tool to figure out where the top 2×6 will go. Or just use a plumb bob. Nail a 2×6 directly above the bottom 2×6.
  5. Make a mark every 16″ on the bottom 2×6. Hang a plumb bob directly over these marks and make a mark on the top 2×6 where they line up vertically. Also measure this distance. Note what your rise and run are. On mine, every 16″, I rose 8″. The inverse tangent of these two numbers gives you the angle to make cuts at the top of your vertical frame members: mine was 30 degrees.
  6. Make a cut sheet for all the vertical members. Cut and install them. Make sure to install 2×6’s around the Ridge pole as well.
  7. If you don’t have wads of cash for a telehandler, use your scaffolding instead and a deer processing pulley (available at Harbor Freight for about $15) to haul 4×8 panels up to the gable. Use the thinnest panels that will meet code. The gable isn’t structural, so I used 3/8″ panels. I screwed a scrap 2×4 to the top log to rest the panels on while I nailed them in place. I’m a one man show.
  8. Install the full panels first along the bottom, then offset the next row and make angled cuts in the panels before hauling them up to install them. I also found that snapping a chalk line every 16″ on the 4×8 panels while they are on the ground helps to keep the nails on the studs. Anything you can do on the ground to make life in the air easier is worth it.
  9. I used a registration stick (also known as a “ticking stick”) to trace the ridge pole onto a piece of cardboard, and then transfer that image onto a piece of plywood. It was the first time I’ve used this method, and I like how it turned out. Here’s a video on that.

Next I’ll install a vapor barrier, some horizontal cleats, and then board and batten to finish it off.

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