Building Confidence

Volume 15 Issue 11
ISSN 1923-7162

Welcome to Dave's Shop Talk's Home Improvement Newsletter of questions from our members on their construction projects, a Tip of the Month and a home remodeling article, both from our website at

Tip of the Month

Sprinkle Borax powder, lightly, on carpet or furniture to kill flees in the home.

And a Bonus Tip:

Clean vinyl siding with a solution of 1 cup of bleach in 5 gallons of warm water, plus a squirt of liquid detergent. Use a window or deck brush with an extension handle, brushing lengthwise on the siding, let stand for 2 to 3 minutes, then gently rinse off with water from a garden hose with nozzle. Start from the top working down in about 4-foot-wide sections. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves with protective clothing and boots. Protect plants with a covering of polyethylene.

Ask Dave!

No question Dave just want to say your site is awesome and I love how easy it is to get your rises and runs in the Calculator. And I'm sure I will be asking questions in the very near future. Please keep up the site it is great.

It's nice to open this section with such a nice comment from a new member!


Rounded front counter top I am going to try to wrap my Formica around the rounded front edge of the countertop. I have tried bending some test Formica around a test front but the Formica is so stiff it doesn't let me do it. Any suggestions oh how to wrap the Formica around the front edge of the countertop. I was thinking that there may be a thinner grade for wrapping but I can't find it anywhere.

Hi Danny,

Yes, there is a thinner form of laminate that the manufacturers use. It is available, but usually at supply stores that serve contractors only. As in my article on counter tops, there are alternatives for making your front edge in wood. It seems that the trend today is getting away from the rounded laminate edge. I used oak, myself with laminate.


Hi, I have enjoyed your site and gained alot of knowledge from it. Thank you! I see my membership will renew March 1 2018, but I don't see what that fee will be. Could you tell me what my renewal cost will be if I stay? Thanks, Darrell

Hi Darrell,

Yes, your subscription cost is $50 for the year. Our policy is not to increase your cost, ever, as long as you renew your subscription. If you cancel and return at a later date, your cost would be the cost currently when you sign up again.

If you would like to continue your subscription, you don't need to do anything, it will automatically renew. If you don't want to continue, you can cancel your subscription at any time and it will not renew, but continue until your paid period ends. Cancellation instructions are on the bottom of each page. If you have problems cancelling, just let us know and my brother Dan, our webmaster, will happily do it for you.

Hope this helps,


I was one of those people that had to use ill cut stringers as other building material. After 2 bad cut I re-inlisted my membership and used the calculator and cut the 2 new stringers per the diagram. It worked perfectly and they fit right into place!

Right on!



Hi Dave I want to re roof my shed with sheet metal. I have removed the old shingles and exposed the solid wood sheeting. (1) How much overhang do I leave over the facia boards. (2) How much space is left at the peak where the metal sheets meet from each side. The roof is 22 ft. Long and a 4/12 pitch. (3) What is the proper screw pattern. (4) is there an overhang on the ends. Thanks Vic

Hi Vic,

Leave about 1 1/2" over the fascia board and about the same on the gable ends.If the metal is flat with corrugations between the flat sections, screws with rubber washers are used through the flat sections near the corrugations and seams at every 16" - 24", depending on the gauge. The ridge pieces should not touch, the ridge cap goes over the gap.


Dave, My project on a house in center city Philly continues. You gave me good advise about installing a basement bathroom. The next step of my project is to get outside ventilation over the stove and the upstairs bathroom. The building was built in 1925 and is brick The walls are maybe 12" thick. Sometime about 1955 someone put a stone face over the brick. I need to make two 6" holes in the brick wall. Can you recommend a type of hole saw? Do I need a diamond grit bit or can I use a carbide hole saw? Should I get a deep hole saw? The price of hole saws that claim to do the job is anywhere from $55 to $150. Since I am only going to make two holes I do not need a holes saw that is designed to make many such holes. Thanks Nick

Hi Nick,

For a one time use, I would rent a bit from a rental yard. Carbide should be okay, if the brick does not have a glazing on it, which it probably doesn't. You may need to rent the drill as well to get a large enough chuck.


Feature Article of the Month

(taken from our website:

Roof 3: How to Build a Hip Roof

Hip Roof Layout:

If this is a long roof with hips on the ends, there will be common rafters in the center. The first thing to do is to layout the common rafters, so you need to know the length of the ridge board. This is found by measuring the length of the building and subtracting the span and adding the thickness of the ridge board. Nail the common rafters flush on the ends of the ridge board and at 90 degrees to it in the center of the span.

When everything fits, nail on the rest of the common rafters and adjoining ceiling joists. Your rafters should look like this:

Drawing of common rafters in a hip roof.

Now let's put on the hips. The hip rafter is a diagonal of the square formed from the two common rafters and the two outside wall lines. The length of the diagonal is the run of the hip rafter. Since the hip forms the diagonal of a square with a 12" run, the diagonal of this square measures 17". This is what we use on the framing square as our run for the hip, 17". For every 12" of run on a common rafter we have a hip or valley run of 17".

A normal common rafter is usually made out of a 2x6. A normal hip rafter, then, would be made out of a 2x8. Always make the hip from a board one size larger (in width) than the common rafters.

In the third column of the rafter table (see my article: Rafter Tables on the Framing Square) on the framing square is the length of hip or valley rafter. For a 5/12 roof we look across at the 5 and find 17.69. Multiply 17.69 times the decimal equivalent (.25 instead of 1/4, for example) of the run to get the distance from the center of the ridge to the outside of the wall line. Shorten the hip by half the 45 degree horizontal thickness of the ridge.

The angle of the side cut of the hip and valley rafters are also given on the rafter table. For a 5/12 roof pitch the side cut is 11.5". Use this number with 12" on the framing square to find the side cut. This is the angle of the side cut which is marked on the top edge of the rafter. The plumb cut for the hip and valley uses 5" and 17" on the framing square, which is marked on the side of the rafter. This is a compound angle best cut with a circular saw or radial arm. Set the side cut angle on the bevel of the saw and cut along the plumb cut.

Okay, now let's go to the wall end of the hip and cut the seat cut (also called bird's mouth). You should have your length marked for the outside of the wall. You will notice that if the hip or valley was installed now the outer edges of the board is higher than the center of the board where the sheathing will lay. To compensate for this, the hip is dropped so the edges will support the sheathing, rather than the center, about 1/4" for a 1 1/2 inch board. To arrive at this drop height follow this simple procedure: more at Roof 3: How to Build a Hip Roof

The above was taken from our article: Roof 3: How to Build a Hip Roof

Thanks to all the questions sent in this month. Hope I was able to answer yours, as well.

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(Ask Dave) (About Dave)

Your source for building tips, woodworking & furniture plans, house plans and building advice directly from Dave...

Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.


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