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Old 07-04-2012, 07:28 AM   #16
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Cedar shake questions


Yesterday I finished putting the sheathing on the cupola. It's been crazy hot here (100 predicted today) so I've been working on the cupola in the basement and the gazebo has just been sitting while I wait for this heat wave to break.

Once the sheathing, felt, fascia and battens were installed (on half) I decided to give the shakes a try. It was late but I wanted to see how they would look. I quickly learned that with an 8 sided roof there are a lot of cuts and a lot of waste. Even at the widest part of the cupola roof I"ll get maybe one shake that I don't have to cut.



I have to keep reminding myself to leave a gap between the shakes. My woodworking brain has a tough time with that. I think I'll have to rout out the space at the ridge in the right. When I shot the nail, the shake split because it was too tight.

I still have to figure out how to do the battens at the peak. It looks like it's going to be solid wood.

Oh yeah, in my haste to see what the shakes looked like, I forgot to lay the felt between the shakes. That dawned on me about 10PM last night. I realized then I needed to quit for the day. Do I need to remove the shakes and start all over or will the shakes themselves be enough to keep things dry?

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Old 08-07-2012, 11:44 AM   #17
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Cedar shake questions


I'm pretty sure I've recovered from a nasty balance issue (something with the inner ear) that laid me up for almost a month. Yesterday I was able to get back on the horse (in this case a scaffold) and work on the gazebo roof.

Things I've learned so far about installing cedar shakes:
  1. Don't buy your cedar shakes from Menards. Even though they are labeled #1, they are pretty rough and there's a lot of narrow pieces.
  2. Download and read thoroughly the Cedar Shake and Shingle Roof Manual and watch the video they have on their site. Become one with these Grasshopper!
  3. Roofing something like a gazebo (mine's octagonal) leaves a lot of waste, so buy more than what is normally recommended.
  4. If you are going to interlay the felt, be very exact when laying the felt. If it's laid properly it becomes your guide for laying the shakes. No need to measure the exposure, just set the butt to the felt underneath.
  5. If you're going pneumatic, use a stapler rather then a nail gun. Less splitting. Set several shingles in place and fire away!
  6. This isn't furniture making. No need for precise measurements (except with the felt). Being too finicky about your cuts will make things that much harder.
  7. If you can, build a scaffold rather then working off a ladder. I've done both. Now that I have a scaffold, the work is going faster and is much easier. You'll spend a lot of time working on the roof, so be kind to yourself.
Here's the latest pics:

Yesterday I built the scaffold (I'll be leapfrogging the sections) then laid battens on three sections and started working on how I was going to lay the felt and shakes. A quick refresher with the Roof Manual got me back on track.


I set the cupola wall in place but it's not secured yet. I was thinking I'd do that after the shakes were done but I needed it in place to lay the top battens.


After hiding in the basement for over a month, the cupola roof finally sees daylight. My girlfriend and I carried it up the stairs. OMG! That thing is heavy! The top finial was off. If it was secured, I would have had to cut it off to get it up the stairs.

I bought a DeWalt 20v panel saw for this project. I LOVE IT! Another tool that makes my life easier. I kind of wish I had bought a roofing hatchet too. I'm switching back and forth between a hammer and a hatchet and that's one more tool I have to move around while I'm working.

Well, back to work!

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