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Volume 2 Issue 1“Building Confidence”January 2004



Welcome to those who have joined us since our last Newsletter in December, 2003. Thanks for submitting the survey and comments. With the new year upon us, Dan and I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable renovation year ahead.


With a new year comes new additions to our site. Here at we are starting a new phase in our web site. We are installing Visa and Mastercard right on our site to make it easier for people to deal with us directly. Dan tells me he'll be finished this in a few more days.

What's New

A new feature we added to the site is a place for members to put photos of their projects, especially ones that I helped you out with. Seeing pictures from our members, those of you who felt you couldn't attempt a particular project, hopefully will have enough confidence to try it yourself. After all that is our motto - Building Confidence. There is more room to share your project pictures. Thanks to Hans and Chuck for their contributions. Just send your photos in an email to me.

Thanks to our member, Steve, for suggesting a calculator to figure out the volume of concrete needed in a certain size of form or footing. Just plug in the width, length and height, in feet and inches or metric and there you have your volume of concrete needed to fill the form in cubic yards or meters. Dan went one further, with discussion from Steve, to add the number of pre-mixed bags for small pours as well. Check out Table 9. ( Dan just loves doing this type of thing. He is a mathematical genius and hasn't been stumped yet. Send him your thoughts or ideas for new calculators.

And what has Dan's older brother been up to? I added the second part of my article on installing crown molding - Remodeling 12: Cutting Wide Crown and Cove Moldings ( Don't tell Dan, but in between answering questions from our members, I sneaked away for a week with Frances (my wife) and cruised the Western Caribbean. It was a last minute thing, we joined my cousin Kathy and her husband, John. Thanks, Fort Lauderdale for your hospitality and the Everglades air boat ride, we actually saw two wild alligators. Twas the first time snorkeling for Frances and myself, we loved it - better than pounding nails in the wintertime.

Ask Away!

Here are some questions I've been answering lately:

Greetings Dave Osborne,

My question was… when installing barge rafters to support an overhang
on a roof, using 2 x 6's, is there a standard (or recommended) spacing
on how far apart to set the barge rafters. My overhang is 32", it's a
10 in 12 roof with a span of 17' plus the overhand. My rafters are on
16" centers and I'm going in three rafters due to the long overhang.
Any info would be appreciated.
Regards & God Bless,

Hi Bret,

When framing for a gable end overhang, usually an overhang up to 16"
can be done with out building "ladders" or "look outs", as we call them,
for the overhang. In your situation, with a 32" overhang you should use
the ladder technigue as you have chosen. The rafters going out 90 degrees
with the gable end usually sit on the gable end truss which is cut down
by 3 1/2". The look outs , then are 2x4 on edge and usually go inboard
over the gable end truss into the next truss laid out on 24" centers.
In your case with 2x6 rafters, I would do the same, except as you say
remove one rafter from the the gable end and attach the look outs into
the second rafter over from the wall line, at least 24" from the wall
line. On the wall line build your gable end rafter lower by 5 1/2" (or
3 1/2" would do, too, depending on the choice of barge boards matching
the fascia). These look outs should be laid out on 24" centers starting
from the eave where your sheet of plywood starts. May as well have the
4' joint of the plywood butt up on one of the lookouts. Also, the ridge
board should continue and catch the overhang rafter on the top and the
rafter trim catch the bottom. When installing the plywood, try to get
most of the sheet on the roof to help support the overhang. Stagger the
sheets here by only 16" with the longest sheet in the center of the span.
That is, make sure the overhang sheet nails into a rafter at least one
inboard from the lookout connection. This way, your sheathing helps support
the overhang, too.

Here is a drawing to help explain, this can apply to rafters, as well:

Hope this helps,


Dear Dave,

Thanks a ton for the information and drawing, that's exactly what I
needed! I really appreciate your site and its' thoroughness, not to
mention being able to ask you this type of question and get your expertise.
Thanks again!

Regards & God Bless,


I appreciate the follow up from Bret, sometimes I never hear from the member again and wonder if I did any good or what.

Dear Dave, Your Remodeling 11 on crown molding was great. Could you please expand upon it and discuss working with wider crown that has to be cut flat on the table of a compound slide saw. Thanks for any help. Project will be interior paint grade crown in Santa Barbara California. Hello there Santa Barbara, I got a bad sunburn one summer down your way. Thanks for the kick in the butt. I needed to finish that article. Here it is. I'm sending it to you right away rather than wait till Dan gets it up on the site. Also keep an eye on the table that is mentioned at the end. I'm still working on that. It will be useful for those who install large crown on not too perfect a corner, as well as other angles, too. Regards, Dave The article is now on the site, refer to Remodeling 12. ( Rod replies: I am absolutely blown away to receive such a complete great explanation and so quickly. Although older, I am a relatively new general contractor. Been doing property management for a long time. Therefore I know a lot of people in the trades and I can assure you I will be telling all of them about your site. This is just fantastic! Thanks again. Please feel free to comeback and visit us anytime here in paradise...after all we now have sun blocker so you won't get burnt again..and it really is very pretty here. Take care. Rod in Santa Barbara. And me again, trying to get the last word in: Thanks, Rod, for the nice reply. You are more than welcome. I'll be down your way again and will have to try some of that sun blocker stuff. Actually we have that up here too, we call it clouds!! Dave ********************************************************* I need to install a couple plumbing vents for sinks I am installing and would like to run the vents horizontally through a side wall rather than through the roof. Is this OK to do? If so: 1) Do I need to install them so they tilt down a little to keep water from following the exterior of the pipe into the wall and 2) How do I terminate the pipe, with a vertical T or just cut off the pipe? The purpose of the vent is to ensure that the p-trap is not siphoned out, it breaks the siphon with a vent. The vent will contain sewer or septic gases which smell and are flammable, that is if the sink drains to the sewer or septic tank. This is the reason they are always installed through the roof for the wind or air to disburse the gases. Try to get it up the inside of the wall and out the roof or into the attic to a reachable place then up through the roof. In the "old days" it was allowed to run the vents on the outside of the house, but still they had to be run up the roof, usually in the overhang. It would be kind of embarrassing to have a friend walk by the vent at nose level, which would be bad enough, smoking a cigarette and poof, loose all his hair. He wouldn't be too impressed, either. Better to do things, right. Dave A follow up: That makes sense, thanks. One more question, does the vent have to be installed directly above the P trap, e.g. with a "T", or can it simply be close to the P trap, say within a couple inches? In one of my applications the drain runs in horizontally and ends at the trap. The way I have it installed is the drain ends in a street L connected to a T on the downstream side. The vent runs vertically off the T, so it is actually downstream from the trap. Should I change it so the vent runs off the end of the T and the trap connects in the center of the T? Also, how many sinks can be connected to the same single vent? Thanks What you described is okay. The number of sinks for one vent depends on the size of the p-trap and vent. For a 1 1/4" p-trap and vent, only 1 sink is allowed. With a 1 1/2" p-trap and vent you can have 8 fixture units connected where a lav (bathroom sink) is 1 1/2 fixture units, so that's 5 lavs off one 1 1/2" vent. The trap can be 5' from the vent. You are allowed to use half the diameter vent as is the drain. So for a 3" drain for a toilet, you can still use a 1 1/2" vent. A toilet is considered 4 fixture units. This is just about dry vents, when you are talking about wet vents, relief and circuit vents that's different. Hope this helps, Dave ********************************************************* Dave, I have recently contracted to perform stair building for a GC here in Florida, for a Townhouse Complex of 3 units. Each unit has a U shaped set of stairs consisting on 4 treads landing another 5 treads, landing and 4 treads and floor landing. the question is typically the stairs are made with a full 2x12 stringer and a cleat nailed to the stringer for attachment of the treads and risers. This way the stringers are used as a side board for the base of the stairway. There is a product on the internet called Easy Riser made by Universal Forest Products Do you think this is a good product to use for this application. The easy rider system looks okay, but it is similar to the open stringer, where you notch out the treads and risers. You say your GC (General Contractor) wants a closed 2x12 stringer with cleats. These are two different methods. So to answer your question. No, the easy rider is not a good product for this application - closed stringer. Dave [Note: I really don't like a closed stringer for stairs where the treads are dependent on a cleat nailed or screwed into the stringer to support them. I prefer the open stringer where the treads are attached to the top of the cut out stringer. If a closed stringer is preferred, go with the open stringer first then nail a closed stringer on the outside. This gives you the best of both methods. Another disadvantage of a closed stringer on an outside set of stairs is that it traps water in the corners, either building up ice in the winter or encouraging rot.] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From a member Dave, Love your plans, will help greatly! In process of starting to build a garage workshop. Do you know where I can get plans for utility wall cabinets, have been unable to locate any old kitchen wall cabinets, thought I would tackle the building process We have some plans for a corner cabinet (, which may be helpful. They have instructions on dados and gables which you may be able to apply to your project. If not, let me know where you need the help. Dave -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hi Dave, I was wondering if you have any good solutions for getting rid of the smell of wood stove smoke? My house was filled with a great deal of smoke and I can't get rid of the smell. I have placed white vinegar around and cotton balls soaked in vanilla extract. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks, Kip Hi Kip, The University of California at Berkeley has a good web site by the parents group which answers questions like yours. Here is a link to it: ( Hope this helps, Dave Follow up: I did check out the site that you suggested. Thanks. Just for your information, vinegar works wonders on odors. Setting out small pans reduces odors very well. Another good idea is cotton balls soaked in vanilla extract. Hope you can use this info some time.Kip Thanks, Kip, I'll use that in the next newsletter. Vinegar is an amazing product. I should have asked my wife, she has "The Complete Vinegar Book". Glad you got the problem solved. Dave -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I've had a few questions lately on methods of fastening stringers to the floor joists at the top, especially if the stringer comes below the joist leaving nothing to fasten to. Here is a sketch to help: Notice at the top we cut back the stringers the thickness of plywood to be used to hang the stairs onto the back of the stringers and fastened into the floor joist. Fasten the plywood onto the stringers first, then lift them in place as a unit. For the bottom, a 2x4 is securely fastened to the floor with drill and anchors or shooting concrete nails in with a gun. The stringers are then notched over the 2x4. What is important is the posts supporting the stringers, so you don't just rely on nails. Dave, I've printed out your instructions - they are fantastic! I'll be ripping out the carpet and such, and will (hopefully) start them tomorrow. I'll let you know how they turn out. Thanks again for all your help and support, Gary

Survey Says

Here is the break down on our Survey for this issue, not much of a change from last time:

  • Shed Plans 18%
  • Patio deck plans 18
  • Picnic table plans 12
  • Planter plans 14
  • Outdoor furniture plans 14
  • More how to articles 24

Corner Cabinets; Router Table Plans; Plans on using a drill press as a belt sander (Humm); Framing Tips; Adding a Second Storey; House Renos; Framing Windows and Doors (Hey, we have those); and Remodelling and Framing.

Thanks for your time in filling out the survey.

Hey, be careful out there! Keep your thumbs out from under your hammers!

Thanks for your continuing support and keep those questions coming.

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"Just wanted to drop a quick line saying "Thank you" for your website! My wife and I just bought a fixer-upper and the resources we have found in your site have been invaluable. We appreciate the service that you are offering. We have used information from your site to do many things. Next on our plate is a stairway. And thanks to you, we're not going to have to pay $4000 to have it done. Keep up the great work, and keep'em coming!" NL

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