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help locating rafters

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TuckerMac
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:29 am    Post subject: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I am no carpenter, I spend my time on the farmall forum so I need some advice. I need to hang a porch swing for my wife under the carport. How do I locate the rafters under the plywood? I know I need to go right in the thick of the rafter to support the weight. Thanks for any advice. This may earn me some time in the shop with my tractor.
 
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Zachary Hoyt
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:49 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

In plywood I would look for screw heads, they should be visible unless there is a lot of paint over them. Once you have found them you can drill 1/8" holes on either side of the screw in a line to determine exactly where the sides of the rafter are. You can feel if the drill pops through the plywood into air or goes into wood.
Zach
 
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TuckerMac
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:55 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Zach, thanks, good to see a friend from the other forum.
 
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GordoSD
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:57 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Get a 2 dollar plastic magnet "stud finder" from nearest hardware supply.
 
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BAnNC
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:27 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Could use the "tap" method. With a lightweight tool, tap the boards along the ceiling till the sound changes. If you are careful and listen, you can tell where the wood is above the sheathing.
 
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farmerjohn
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:28 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Look for nails or screws, they might be finish nails so the head would be small. Drill or drive a screw in to confirm that it is there. If you make holes that you don't want you can fill them with painter's caulk and touch up the paint.
 
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retired farmer
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:30 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Probably be safer to just buy one of those swings with the frame already with it instead of trying to find a rafter to put hangers in. Will be no fun for her if you miss the rafter.
 
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magpiene
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:37 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Most big box lumber stores carry a (stud finder) that seem to work good. Used one on a ramp project couple weeks ago.
 
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pete black
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:37 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

when we built our new home last year i had the professional doing the siding to place swing hooks in the porch ceiling joists. the joists were doubled for this purpose, however, one hanger pulled out one day while my wife and i were in it. sudden unexpected and painful drop, luckily the other side held. so, make sure of some things; 1. use hooks designed for swings as they are heavy made, have a nylon roller to reduce friction and wear and quieter. 2. make sure the hooks are in the center of the joists and not on the edge of it. 3. make sure starter hole is small so as not to remove too much wood for the hook to bite into.
good luck and enjoy, nothing like a summer morning and a cup of coffee while sitting on the swing.
 
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mkirsch
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:41 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Can you get up overhead?

I just bad visions of the screw-in hooks pulling out of the wood.

If it were me I'd go up overhead and add blocking where you want to hang the swing and use hooks with nuts and big flat washers, through-bolting right through the rafter and blocking.
 
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Mark-Mi
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:56 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

When I had my house built I had the carpenters double width the bottom of the rafter and put a small x with pencil where the center was on the ceiling.
I used the longest 1/2" eye bolt I could find and one side pulled out! With a couple of our good friends on it. Luckily no one was hurt.
The lag pulled out because as luck would have the lag went in right in the center of the two boards sandwiched together.
Next I had the carpenter take down a piece of the ceiling and I ran a threaded eye bolt through added washers and double nutted the rod.
 
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Billy NY
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:10 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Conventional framing, you have about 1 1/2" of each member to find center on, for a fastener to be installed, and if its a truss, it could be southern yellow pine, which is a bit hard and brittle, miss that center and the fastener will pull out prematurely. I have aligned center by sweeping from each side of the suspected framing member, making a mark on each side and centering between them, yet I do not recommend blindly attaching something a person will sit on, into framing I cannot see first, its asking for trouble, now or later.

A.) check to see the size of the member will support the load between the span, which is the swing and how many people, there has to be a reference for lumber, its an engineer function, but it would seem like overkill, overthinking, but also a safe thing to do, that is entirely up to you.

B.) if after reinforcing, doing some investigating, confirm you should have enough strength and that the fasteners will hold in what you have and remember the fasteners are going to be either in shear and or tension, one had best select the right fastener, do not use deck screws and or even some kinds of cheap lag screws, they can be pot metal, never trust them unless there is a astm designation and made by a reputable mfr.

C.) I got a call from a customer to repair a commercial overhead door at his building and what I determined was mentioned above, I have photos somewhere in this pc, lag bolt fastener off center, split the bottom chord of the truss, the whole thing could have come down, killed or seriously injured someone. Trusses are really not meant for extra loading anyway, especially from the bottom chord, yet people do it all the time, usually not excessive weight, likely no problem but that bottom chord carries most if not all the load and one has no idea what the limits are unless its calculated, checked out and confirmed by same. My fix was to open up the area, you should do the same, and inspect what you have. In this case I decided to make hangers out of steel angle iron, which spanned a couple of trusses each side, I drilled holes and installed threaded rod, used an angle over and under the bottom chord and literally clamped both angle iron sections to the bottom chord, this afforded me the rest of the attachment and firmly stiffened up the entire assembly holding that door, it eliminated further compromising the framing above.

Purely up to you how you do it, blindly nail or attach without inspecting the existing framing opens the possibly much further of what ever it is you are attaching, to fail, which while sitting in the swing could cause serious injury, do a seatdrop from that distance, you could cause a spinal injury, compress a vertebrae, I'm no doctor, or licensed P.E., just common sense to do the right job.
 
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TuckerMac
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:31 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Thanks a lot. I think I will brace between rafters and then bolt to that. Probably use screws to fasten the braces between the rafters. I would think this would share the load and be firmer as well.
 
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Zachary Hoyt
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:41 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

If you use eye bolts I would recommend nylock type nuts, I hung a swing with regular nuts and one came unscrewed after a while. With the lock nuts it has been years with no problems.
Zach
 
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ss55
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:40 am    Post subject: Re: help locating rafters Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Zircon makes some handy little electronic stud finders. I've had one for about 20 years now, it was $10-$20 back then. It finds the ouside edges of the studs/rafters. I mark the edges on a piece of masking tape or a wide Post-It-Note so there are no permanent marks left behind.

Rafters are designed to support distributed loads, say 50 pounds per square foot over the whole roof. Concentrated loads require extra bracing. If adults use the swing the maximum load on your hooks could be between 150 to 250 pounds per hook with a 50 pound side load when it swings. To spread the load between 3 or 5 rafters, consider installing 2x4 or 2x6 braces to the bottom side of your plywood ceiling. Fasten the braces through the plywood into all the rafters with deck screws, dry wall screws are brittle and can snap. Still fasten the hooks into the center of a rafter.
 
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