How to Build an A-Frame

Whether you’re looking to build a rustic retreat or the off-grid home you’ve long dreamed about, the A-frame cabin offers a simple, incredibly sturdy and comparatively low-cost option.

Cabins And Cottages
Want to build a sophisticated cottage home, a low-key vacation cabin or anything in between? “Cabins & Cottages” has the know-how you need to get started confidently and finish beautifully. This detailed, color-illustrated guide pilots you through all of the pre-building considerations, such as assessing and preparing your site, and then lays out step-by-step instructions for fashioning four structures: a classic log cabin, an A-frame cabin, a cottage of prefab panels, and a house suspended on poles. You’ll also learn how to equip your new lodging with heat, running water and all of the other comforts of home.
A-Frame House
The simplicity of construction and comparatively low cost make the A-frame a popular choice for vacation cabins. Any style of foundation can serve as its base.
Assemble A-Frame
Clamp the ends of two joists around the base of a rafter, aligning the ends and edges of the boards, and drill a 5/8-inch hole through the three layers.
A-Frame Rafters
Butt the top ends of the rafters together and fasten the gussets to each side of the seam with wood glue and 1 3/4-inch No. 8 wood screws.
Cutting A-Frame Joists And Rafters
Remove the scrap board and replace it with a joist or rafter, marked to length. Align the mark with the kerf and cut the board.
Build An A-Frame
With a pair of helpers, lift and position the end triangle on the beam between the scabs. Plumb the triangle and brace it with two 2-by-4s nailed diagonally between the rafters and outer beams so the top of each brace is least 4 1/2 feet from the base of the rafters. Position and plumb the remaining triangles in the same way, bracing them with a 1-by-2 nailed to each side of the adjacent triangle.

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