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Trusses Installed

Over the course of 4 days, I managed to erect the trusses, mostly by myself. Fourteen in all, they measure 26' along the bottom chord and 30' across the top. They are a 3/12 pitch monopitch design with 2-foot overhangs ($2100 delivered form SBS). The top and bottom chords are hem-fir 2x6, while the webs are 2x4. Simpson tie plates all around. Each weighs about 100 lbs, but there is never a time when you must lift the entire weight of a truss. Mostly, you're tilting, flopping, and sliding them from here to there. Errands and a trip to Stirling on the Kenai interrupted the work, but things moved along smoothly otherwise. Dry, calm weather helped a lot. Ice in the morning w/ temps in the 50s by midday.

A 3/12 pitch roof is civilized place to work. Falling to your death is, like, 5th on your list of worries.

Vertical braces tacked to gable end wall support the first gable truss. You can see the 7/16 OSB spacers there, too. The vertical drop off the west and north sides of the shop roof is 25 feet. It feels like 30 when the wind picks up.

Temporary wall w/ 24 o.c. studs and a bunch of diagonal bracing. This support wall is crucial for setting trusses; trusses must be supported at their centers when on their sides. There are 3 trusses laying flat on top the wall plates in this photo.

Time to remove the temporary wall and use the parts for blocking and diagonal bracing. Lucy looks for stray sandwiches.

Rules For Setting Trusses By Yourself

1.) Wait until the most of the ice melts before starting to work above your ladder.

2.) Don't die.

3.) Waive at any neighbors that drive by.

Tools for the Job

Miter saw w/ stand

Good tool belt

Tape measure

Framing hammer


Cats paw



Garbage can


Impact driver w/ bits

8' Step ladder

6' Step ladder


Framing nailer

Portable compressor w/ hose

Extension cords (2)

Reciprocating saw w/ woodcutting blade

Wetzler #4 clamps (2)


Young bull moose on Clark's Rd.

Older bull moose on Clark's Rd.

Early morning colors over Flattop on my way back from dropping Hil off at the airport.

My Truss Raising Process

1.) Measure distance outside to outside on the top plate framing. Place order for trusses.

2.) Build full-width temporary support wall about 1/4" shorter than wall top plates.

3.) Take delivery of truss bundles to top of wall via boom truck. Help swing bundles into place.

4.) Make top plate spacer blocks (25-1/2") & between-truss blocking (22-1/2") from 2x4 stock. Set up a stop block on the miter saw and cut a bunch at once.

5.) Attach 3-4 vertical 2x4 braces on the outside of the gable end walls & add 7/16 OSB spacers on inside faces of each (set truss back from wall edge by thickness of sheathing). Make sure the braces rise st least 4 feet above top plates.

6.) Cut bundle ties and spread a few trusses out on the top plates. Don't bury the second gable truss.

7.) Tilt up 1st gable truss against outer braces, adjust to equalize end overlap, check for plumb & fasten to bracing (temporarily).

8.) Tack between-truss blocking to top plates (2 permanent blocks on top plates, 1 on temp block on support wall). Tack 25-1/2" blocking pieces (6 for each truss) to the top of top chord of gable truss, hanging them out in anticipation of next truss. Ends of blocking should be flushed to outside-outside of truss top chord (24" o.c. + 3/4" + 3/4" = 25-1/2").

9.) Tilt up 2nd truss against blocking, slide into position atop plates (overhang), pull tight to blocks & fasten with 3" sinkers or 3-1/4" pneumatic framing nails.

10.) Repeat blocking and tilt-up routine with remaining trusses. A couple heavy duty woodworking clamps can provide an extra set of hands if working alone. Remember to waive to any neighbors that drive by while you're on the roof - everyone wishes they were up there with you.

11.) To set the second gable (last truss), tilt it up against vertical 2x braces nailed to outside of gable end wall (same as first gable truss). Get it up and out of the way when you have installed about half the trusses - do this early, when you have plenty of room to maneuver it around.

12.) Add the permanent bracing (longer 2x diagonals) as per engineering plan.

13.) Connect top plates to trusses with hurricane ties (Simpson H1 or H2.5A), 8d nails, and tico nails. A steel punch is useful for making larger holes through metal tie plates (for tico nails).

14.) Drive 6" hex-head Timberlock screws up through both plates into truss bottom chords at truss ends.

15.) Re-check all connections and fix any mistakes.

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