Customer Review

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less a "complete handbook" than a better-than-average framing primer., August 23, 2011
This review is from: DEWALT Carpentry and Framing Complete Handbook (Dewalt Trade Reference Series) (Paperback)
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At 230 pages I didn't expect much beyond a quickie how-to-add-a-room book, but was pleasantly surprised at how much useful information was packed into this thin book. It is light on text, but heavy on excellent color-coded drawings which quickly cover the essential ground on how an orthogonal house is (usually) framed, and it includes a useful appendix of (generalized) span tables for different woods and nailing schedules for different fasteners.

Only a few pages up front are set aside for homeowners' design considerations before getting down to the gritty job of erecting the structure. There's no baby talk. The reader is presumed to be at least mechanically competent with a grasp of basic algebra, if not experienced in carpentry. Alternative ways are illustrated for laying sole plates, supporting stair treads, and hanging the barge rafters ("fly rafters" in this book) which project the roof beyond a gable end. The math formulas are there if you need to "stick frame" a complicated hip & valley roof, or frame a barn-like gambrel roof. There's a very useful discussion of the uses of engineered lumber (LVL & PSL beams, I-joists and the like) but no warnings about the pitfalls of mixing shrink-proof engineered stock with "green" dimension lumber.

There's also scarcely any coverage of framing hardware, and none of fire blocking or bird blocks. Not good: Even though code-required use of these varies wildly, blocking is necessary in virtually all residential structures, and hardware--even if not mandated locally--is too cheap and useful to ignore. (Fortunately for the reader, illustrated hardware catalogs are available free online and at lumber yards)

None of this is advanced framing. It dwells exclusively on modern platorm framing methods. The semi-obsolete "balloon" framing method still has uses, but not in this book. Nor any coverage of say, how to join angled walls to support a cathedral ceiling, or how build a circular staircases, arches, or skylight chutes. For these you'll need more specialized framing manuals. But if you need a good explanation of framing basics this book is page-for-page more informative, well-illustrated, straight to the point, and easier to read than any I've seen to date.
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Location: Grants Pass, OR

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