This section is from the book "Carpentry", by Ira Samuel Griffith. Also available from Amazon: Carpentry.

**Lengths Of Jack Rafters For Square Cornered Roofs**. First Method: The framing table for common rafters and jack rafters, Fig. 49, may be made use of in determining lengths of jacks. To make use of this table we shall need to know the run of each separate jack. An examination of Fig. 66 shows that in a rectangular house the run of a jack is the same as the length of plate or of ridge which forms the angle. This is true of hip jack, valley jack, or cripple jack. However, such measurements are along the centers of the top edges of the rafters and allowance must be made in the length of the jacks for the thickness of hip or valley rafter. In the case of the cripple jack this amount of reduction will be equal to ½ the diagonal thickness of the hip plus ½ the diagonal thickness of the valley, measured at right angles to the plumb cut, Fig. 61, or measured in the plane of the plate, or a parallel plane.

Top and bottom ends of cripples are alike, but in nailing them in place the lower ends must be held up so that their center lines will strike the center of the valley rafter. Their tops will be kept even with the outer arrises of the hip whether the hip is backed or not.

In determining the true length of hip jack and valley jack we should know that a reduction of ½ the diagonal thickness of hip or valley, measured straight back from the plumb cut, is to be made. In the case of a valley jack resting against a ridge piece, an additional reduction must be made as described in Section 19, Fig. 56. In actual practice carpenters usually measure the length of hip or valley jack from the long point, along the arris, instead of along the center of the top edge, no reduction being made for ½ the diagonal thickness of hip or valley. Cripple jacks are measured from long point to long point, no reduction being made for thickness of hip and valley.

Fig. 66. Lengths of Jack Rafters..

Second Method: Where jacks are framed so that equal spacings may be laid off, beginning with a full length common rafter, as in Fig. 67, the simplest method of determining lengths of jacks is to first count the number of spaces between jacks, which must be laid off on ridge or on plate, and divide the length of common rafter by this number. The result will be the common difference between lengths of jacks. The longest jack will be framed first by reducing the length of common rafter by the common difference. The next, by reducing the jack just framed by the common difference, etc. This method is applicable to roofs of any number of sides.

Third Method: If we begin to frame with the shortest jack instead of the longest, we first determine the length of the shortest jack, remembering that its run in the square cornered building will be the same as its spacing from the corner along the plate, or along the ridge in case of a valley jack. In a similar manner the second jack can be framed. The difference in the lengths of these two is the common difference. To the length of this second jack, and to each succeeding jack add the common difference, to get the length of the next.

Fourth Method: As rafters are usually spaced either 16" or 24" apart, a table consisting of the common differences in lengths for the various pitches will be found convenient, Fig. 49. The steel square of Fig. 50 also shows such a table for the square roof.

Fig. 67. Determining Length of Jack Rafters.

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