The Roof Top Hop!

David's picture

The cob studio is really starting to take shape now! With clear skies and a small breeze over the weekend, we were able to get the roof framing set on the walls. We even went so far as to put a temporary sheathing on top. But the install was hardly a cake walk, but in the end we proved victorious.

Our excitement was overflowing when we got started on Saturday. I told Patricia that it should be a snap and that we should have it done in half a day. Boy was I wrong. I started out by leaning all the rafters against the east wall. I then laid a 2x12 across the loft joists to make a catwalk going east to west. This worked out pretty good. I could lift the rafters and easily walk them across the building. We'd start setting them on the west side and work out way back from there. Easy.

So, in went the first one. We wrestled with it a little, mostly because it was all a new process for us. I would man handle the rafters on the catwalk, while Patricia would be down below setting and fastening them. And even though this was her first time with a drill, she handled it really well. Shifting it back and forth, and up and down, we finally got it into position. At about that time, a friend of our, Roger, came by with his wife. It was perfect timing because Patricia and I were having a bit of a communication issue. I was trying to instruct her on what needed to be done while holding the rafter in place. It would have been easier if I were on the ground and she was up top, but she didn't feel comfortable up high. I can't say as I blame her. It takes a bit to get used to. But Roger volunteered to give us a hand. So he took my place so I was able to get everything buttoned up down below. I also attached a brace from the rafter to our tee-pee tripod. With that, Patricia was able to see what was needed and was pretty comfortable with doing the next one.

Well, I had figured the first one would be the hardest and the rest would simply follow suit. I assured Roger that we could handle it from there, so he went ahead and let us do our thing. I pulled the 2nd rafter up, walked it down and set it in place. Patricia directed me which way to shift it, and then fastened it down. Something didn't look quite right, so I got down and took a look. Sure enough we were off about an inch. I needed to pull the rafter in. So we took it apart, made a slight shift and fastened it down. This threw out the other end. So, after a quick inspection we took that one apart, adjusted and fastened again. Perfect. Now the next one.

Ok, so the first two rafters were 24" apart, but the next one we had to skip and go to the fourth. We skipped it because that's where the door is and that particular rafter would need to be trimmed. Well, the next being 4' from the previous made it a little more difficult for us to line up, but we still managed. With a little more wrestling and a bit more adjusting, it was up.

Now to keep this story short I left out some of the other adjustments we made. We were actually spending quite a lot of time making re-adjustments. Too much time. And the rafters never seemed to be lining up. Patricia was getting very frustrated and thinking it was her fault. But I assured her it was all my fault. I just couldn't seem to figure out why they weren't lining up. The problem was the fact that the walls and deadmen were not straight. I didn't have anything to square up to. I was racking my brain, but worst of all I had Patricia running to one side and the other making different adjustments. Both of us were pretty frustrated. With only three rafters up, and none of them perfect, we decided to call it a day. We were getting nowhere, fast. And you know. It wasn't 15 minutes after coming inside that I had figured it out. I guess I just needed a break to get my bearings. But it would have to wait until the following day.

Sunday morning we went back out there to see if we could nip this roof in the bud. Our new plan of attack was to square off from our first rafter and keep every other rafter true and straight to it. We did this by attaching a faux fascia to the rafter tails as a guide. Oh man, what a difference! We were able to realign the 2nd and 4th rafters pretty easily. And the rest of them went up just as nice. Too bad I didn't think of this to begin with. Now, all the rafters are nice and true. Perfect for any roofing material.

While we were standing back admiring our work, Patricia started asking about the sheathing. We don't have the materials to go on with the roofing so I said, "How about stapling up some tarp?" She was all for it. We both wanted to see what it would look like with a 'roof' on it. Plus it would completely cover the walls, sheltering them from the rain. I started at the rafter tails, and made my way up. I ended up using 3 tarps, one on each side and the third on the peak to overlap them both. They were kind of in tatters so we took a pair of scissors to the ends to clean them up a bit. The blue tarp roof is not much to look at, but it does define the building.

We are happy to have gotten this far with the building, and we may even be able to finish all the cobbing and complete the roofing before the snow flies. If we can do that, we could probably continue on working inside while the snow is piling up outside. That would be nice. Anyway, Patricia and I learned a lot about roofing a cob building. She also got a chance to get acquainted with a drill. She did, however, injure herself. She had to exert a lot of pressure to drive in those 3" screws, and she didn't have the room to do it comfortably. A lot of times she was in awkward positions, which ended up proving to be too much. With a pulled muscle in her leg, the rest of her day was spent vegging out on the sofa. I'm glad to say that the damage wasn't permanent, and she is back to walking around without too much difficulty. I must say I couldn't have hung the rafters on my own, and was glad to have her working along side me. She's a hell of a worker, and has an 'I'm not quitting until the jobs done' attitude. - I love her!

Here are some pictures we took over the weekend. Enjoy!


Rick's picture

Looks pretty sweet! Its a lot taller than I thought it would be - plenty room to sleep in that loft!

I love the window too...perfect contrast and splash of color.

By Rick
David's picture

Yeah, at first when we had just marked out the walls on the ground, it felt kinda small. But with the walls and roof up, it actually feels quite nice. Noticeably small, yet spacious.

By David
Rachel's picture

Wow! Pat, your window turned out beautiful! And, the whole building is coming along so nice. You two should be very proud. I can't wait to see how this turns out.

By Rachel
David's picture

She loves her window! We can't wait to see the results either.

By David
Criddles's picture

WOW!!!!!! That looks so neat!!! I love the window..Im sure the sun shining in will look so neat inside. You guys did awesome!!! Im so anxious to see the inside now!!! HUUURRRRYYYYY!!!!!!!

By Criddles
David's picture

We just discussed the sun light in the window. There may not be any! But I'll talk about that in another blog.

See the inside? I thought I mentioned that we won't be taking any pictures of the inside. You'll have to come up and see inside for yourself.

Psych! We will put up pictures, but we won't get to that point until the outside is finished.

By David