Building My Arched Rafters

arched laminated rafter

Here’s my first arched laminated rafter on the jig!

This year I’m Kicking Off Spring with Tiny House Prep! Today I began building my arched laminated rafters. I’m building a gypsy wagon, also known as a vardo. Over and over again I find myself drawn to little arch-topped houses, so I’ve decided to make one of my own. I’ve never lived in an arch topped house before, but did live in My Home Sweet Yurt, which had a circular roof and a round oculus. And I’m a big fan of the arched roof on Caboose at Caravan – The Tiny House Hotel, John Labovitz’s tiny house truck Polymecca, and Big Maroon. And, of course, Little Bird, which is one of my all-time favorite tiny houses.

Katy Anderson, the incredible craftswoman who built Sweet Pea has generously allowed me to borrow her jig to make the rafters. I my mixed grain fir milled up by the fine folks at Creative Woodworking. It cost a small fortune to have the milling done, so these rafters will probably cost twice what I originally estimated. But I’m fine with paying for the milling since I didn’t have a good way to cut 130 pieces of 12 foot long 1/4″ thick fir. Over the past couple weeks I hunted at nearly every hardware store in town to find a glue applicator like Katy recommended. I finally found one at Woodcrafters. They had the best price on Tightbond III as well, so I got a couple gallons of that on Friday when I was Kicking Off Spring with Tiny House Prep. I also dropped nearly $200 on clamps, because, you know, “you can never have too many clamps.” I currently have 20. Need more clamps…

At the moment I have the first half of the first rafter on the jig. I feel like a kid eager to open a present, waiting to unclamp it and see how it worked! I’ll be building my arched rafters over the next ten days, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

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