Levelling the second floor joists

In my last post, I got the second floor joists installed. In this post, I talk about how I levelled them.

With the second floor joists in place, I went back with a water level and made a mark on each end of the girder log, then used my snapline to make a level chalk line on the girder log a few inches below the top. I used my combination square to find the distance from that line to the bottom of the joist (yes, all my joists are exactly 12″ tall – if yours aren’t, you’ll want to measure to the top of the joist). I wrote all these down in my notebook. I found out that on the skinny end of the girder log, I made it a bit too high – by about 1.5″. On the fat end of the girder log – over the kitchen, I made it a bit too low – about 1.5″. At least it is straight. I took the biggest difference and the smallest difference, and divided it in half – half the joists would have to be shimmed, the other half would have to be notched. I started with the beam with the smallest variance from my proposed height – this beam is my “zero”. I only had to notch the log about 1/8″. Once that one was at the correct height, I used my 4′ level to carefully mark the rest. You must do this carefully because if your 4′ level is off by even a 1/16″, this can be magnified over a 40′ distance. If in doubt, use the water level to verify.

I didn’t want to notch the skinny end of the girder log, so I will notch the beams themselves. And on the fat end, I shimmed the joists and chiseled out some of the girder log – where it is thick enough, this is fine:

Made a long shim out of a 2x4x8 for the joists in this area.

Normally, you would mark the joists, flip them over and notch them, then install them. But I can’t flip a 200-300 lb joist. Not easily, or by myself. I came up with a way to do it in place….

Use a 4′ level to determine how much you need to notch (the highlighted portion). Also make sure the level is “level”. 🙂
Set a compass to this width.
Use the compass to mark the curve of the log onto the joist.
Use your pulley to lift the joist, and use a winch strap to keep it from shifting over.
Now you can work out the cut.
First, make vertical cuts with your sawzall.
Then chisel out the excess by hand. The chisel wants to remove just the cut portion.
End up with a nice curve here.
Set the joist back down on the log. Perfect.

For the non-reading types, I made a video….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s