This is the third installment in this series where I will be drawing various carpentry challenges featured in the 19th century Louis Mazerolle text. The next section in the book after the theoretical material, plates 9 through 13, concerns dormers.
Funny how in English we use the word ‘dormer’, coming from the French word dormīre, meaning ‘to sleep’ (coming from the same Latin root, dormītōrium, from which we get the word dormitory), while the French themselves use Lucarne. Lucarne translates as ‘skylight’. The section on ‘skylights’, then, by which I mean dormers, comprises 5 different examples in the book. One nice thing is that all the examples sit atop the same slope of main roof (well, it looks that way), so I plan to draw all 5 examples on the same roof structure. The roof slope is 4/3, the same as produced by a 3-4-5 triangle.
Lucarne à Croupe Nolet Carré is the first one I will examine. The word croupe refers to a roof having two hip rafters – this dormer has a hipped end in other words. Nolet is a word one won’t find readily in the dictionary. It can also be written noulet and is formed from the word noue, meaning “valley”. Nolet is a ‘little valley’. The word carré means ‘perpendicular’, or ‘square to’. Thus this type of dormer has a square, hipped end and forms little valleys on the main roof. The problem to be solved largely revolves around those nolets in terms of determining their shape. Funny that this is the first problem to be tacked after the theory section in the book – most other framing books don’t introduce anything to do with valleys until long after hip rafters have been explored thoroughly. Oh well, onward anyhow.
There are several ways to tackle valleys in general. One method is to construct a valley rafter, similar to a hip rafter, and which has a inward backing cut.
Another way is to fasten a pair of boards, 1×6 or w.h.y., in the form of an inverted ‘V’ to the main roof surface to serve as a sill plate for the dormer rafters, ridge (if any), etc. This is the typical sort of solution seen in stick-framed roofs, in the, ahem, good old days before the factory-produced truss packages arrived on the scene.
Another method yet is similar to the one above – a pair of boards are scabbed onto the main roof surface. If you use rectilinear boards for that purpose, their upper surfaces would be co-planer with the main roof, which means that any dormer rafters which come down to meet this board will ned a compound cut on their ends. To avoid this, the boards which are scabbed on can be made in such a cross section – trapezoidal – so that their upper surface is rotated towards the pitch of the dormer roof. The result of this method, where one takes some extra steps to fabricate these trapezoidal cross-section pieces, allows the jack rafters to meet it with a simple bevel cut, which saves work at the other end – and allows for more straightforward mortise and tenon work as well. This is the method shown in Lucarne à Croupe Nolet Carré. Other French books would term this construction method noues chanlattés, or noulet chanlattés.
In new construction, I would normally opt for backed valley rafters as I feel such a structural configuration will be inherently stronger, and I think it is more elegant, more integral. However, if one has to retrofit a dormer to a existing roof, then this method of using a trapezoidal section valley board seems like a good way to go about it. It does use less material than the backed rafter set up as well.
For this dormer drawing, along with the remaining dormers to be explored in the section, I have chosen to put everything onto one drawing, on one building. This sketch I am calling ‘Dormerland’.
Welcome then, to Dormerland:
The drawing proceeds from constructing an elevation cross-section view -I mocked up the dormer in 3D, then transferred lines down to the floor to do the 2D development of the noulet. I found the Mazerolle drawing quite vexing in this regard, so I opted to use another French book which had a more straightforward method for the developed view:
My plan is to develop the noulet, put them on the model, then work backwards from there to figure out if Mazerolle has some more ‘mistakes’ in his drawing, or whether the method is just really weird. I’ll get back to y’all in the next posting to let you know how that turns out.
The above drawing produced the correct shapes of noulet cross sections:
These section views are then used to develop the stick of wood, which can be up-ended on the drawing and marks transferred. Once the stick is shaped properly (or possibly before), it can be placed back on the drawing and marks are again transferred to the length and cut lines on each end.
Here a view of the dormer with most of the parts all fitted in there:
Time to put the moulding on then:
Now the central common and the hips come together in miters, and the exposed lower end of the cheek cuts are reduced to one one side of each hip. Still I don’t really care for it, but I guess it would be all covered over. A ridge or support post would solve it. In Japanese work, the hips are often exposed, and there are some much cleaner solutions for this junction.
Rolling on – thanks for dropping by today.