1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

building a-frame, need help please?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by GoodEgg, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

    724
    0
    159
    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Hello all,

    After looking at 3 different coops and the cost of local materials, I finally decided on an a-frame as the one I could most easily afford.

    I built a ground frame 8 x 8 with 2x4's, and have set it on top of 2 pieces of plyboard for flooring. I know the floor will rot out, but it was cheaper than buying wire to bury around the edges, and it will buy me some months in which to see just what predators I might be dealing with.

    I need to build the frame now. I have 1 x 4's to build most of it with, and 4 sheets of 3/4" plywood to make the sides with. Hehe ... I need help.

    I've looked at some pics online. The first thing I'm wondering is if there is ANY WAY I can do this without mitering the ends of the wood joined at the top? I planned to have a 1 x 4 run the whole length for a roof support in the top of the point. (I hope that makes sense.) I'm trying to figure out HOW I can attach this?

    And do I set the bottoms of the A's inside the frame? That seems sturdiest?

    I have a borrowed power drill for now, and a skill saw, but I can't cut miters. I also bought strips of metal with holes drilled all over it, a kind of plate, that I planned to attach just below the point to both pieces of wood making the point to hold them together better.

    Are "A"s every 2 feet enough to make it sturdy enough? I'd planned cross-pieces horizontally as well (I planned for two on each side.).

    Anyone have any ideas, suggestions, info, or know of where I can look at close-up pics online? I sure would appreciate any help.

    Thank you SOOOO much if anyone can help with any info at all. I'm stuck, and I need these chicks outside by Thursday, if that's possible.

    trish
     
  2. biretta

    biretta Chillin' With My Peeps

    183
    0
    129
    Jun 7, 2007
  3. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

    724
    0
    159
    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Thanks Biretta,

    It has some info (more than I had before, and I thank you!). I did bookmark it.

    I admit I'm still looking for a way to attach the top without having to bevel the supports, because I don't have a saw that will cut them. This one I borrowed won't do it.

    I'm pretty tempted to run my boards the other way too, so I can nail the plywood over the long part of the 1 x 4's I'm using as a support frame, instead of the skinny edge.

    Seems the bevel would matter less in that case anyway. I might just drill a big hole through the supports and the top beam and just bolt it all together. If I can't find any instructions, I might give it a try.

    Maybe if I use a bolt almost the exact length, so I don't get much of a "bump" it will be ok. Especially if I do it above where the plywood will be nailed, and maybe cap it with guttering or something. If I end up with a little ventilation up there that would be a good thing, but I can't figure out how to plan for it.

    I'm just afraid to start pounding it together without a plan, without seeing one made like that, and without a concrete idea of how the pieces will fit together. But I might just have to do that. I will have to do that part sometime tomorrow.

    Thanks again, biretta. [​IMG]

    If anyone knows any other sites, pics, or info, again I sure would appreciate it!

    And I guess I'll take some pics on the off chance it turns out ok and can help someone else.

    trish
     
  4. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2007
  5. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    458
    0
    149
    Apr 11, 2007
    Illinois
  6. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

    724
    0
    159
    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Thanks Rafter and Newchickenmom,

    I think I have that part figured out.

    LOL, why can't I think ahead? Now I'm wondering how in the world to put together a frame that is about 7 feet off the ground. I think I need helpers!

    Maybe I can nail one side to the center support, then stand up the other side and tie it together, and somehow tie it all up loosely then come back and nail it?

    Don't know if that makes sense, and I can't see an easy way out of this problem.

    Thanks so much, I'm glad I can fasten the A's to the center!

    trish
     
  7. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

    724
    0
    159
    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    OK, I think I have an idea.

    I am planning to try a 10' metal pole, 1" diameter (from plumbing dept) for a center ridge pole, horizontally.

    I will use a spade bit or hole saw to cut 1" holes in the top of each of my 1 x 4 framing pieces (the "A" part).

    I *think* if I do this, I will be able to thread all of the 1 x 4's onto the pole and stand it all up vertically, letting the legs sit inside the frame. It will probably be shaky when I first put it up, but I think when I attach crosspieces and pieces lengthwise to make the frame stronger, it *should* become more stable then. By the time I get the plywood sides nailed on, it should be fairly stable, I am hoping?

    I will have to take apart all the "A"s I made so far to do this, but it's not that big a deal. Just losing a couple of hours worth of work. And I will be laying the plywood onto the 1" sides of the boards instead of along the 4" sides, but it will be ok. I think most people who make A-frames turn them that way anyway.

    I think I can still use a vinyl gutter to cap the top. I just can't nail it straight in. (Unless I cap the metal pole with another 1 x 4.)

    And a bonus is that the pole is 2' extra long, so maybe I can hang a flower basket on the outside or something to dress it up a bit!

    Hoping I can finish tomorrow. If it doesn't rain, I have all day (except a run to the post office and the laundromat, so hopefully I can at least get it up. Was hoping to have it ready for the girls, but since I still need to figure out a door and paint, they probably won't be sleeping in it tomorrow night.

    If anyone knows this won't work, or has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I'm still gonna try to take pics, in case it DOES work, and maybe it will work for somebody else someday.

    [​IMG]

    trish
     
  8. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    4,273
    71
    271
    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Hi - I'm attaching some pics of our new coop which still needs to be painted but it might give you some ideas. It's really hot and humid and always raining here in So. LA (across the lake from New Orleans) so we borrowed from the style of the old homes here in that it is raised off the ground, has high ceilings and lots of ventilation. We put wire over the frame floor with slide-out removable wood bottoms and partitions in the nest area. Because I am brand new to chicken ownership I had sketched out an outline of a simple A-frame that I had in mind. Well it ended up being much bigger but with the supplies you have you could build one more of the size I had in mind. My husband, son and I learned a lot about building materials and the most important is that things like plywood come in 4' wide sheets...well our coop was about 4' 3" wide. It was also just a few inches too long for most standard materials so we had to use double of everything. All together it is 16' long, 6' tall, and 4 1/2' wide. We put a big door on one side with a smaller door cut in it and two double doors on other side. The perches are inside. My husband made the frame and covered it with wire. My son came up with idea of the boards/support down the front and used a 4x4 as the roof rafter. He then made the A-frame. We put plywood on the roof and covered top part with metal roofing and cut bottom portion and hinged it for nesting boxes. We covered that portion with rolled roofing. If we had known about the rolled roofing with was only $9 for a huge roll we would have used that for everything. Instead we used up way too many sheets of metal trying to cut it. Anyway, we lived and learned. You may borrow any or all ideas. It does stay extremely cool in our heat and the chicks can be found in the coop in the middle of the day because it is much cooler than outside. The air can come up from underneath and we put wire at the top of frame just above the doors, in back it lines up with the roosts and they can look out. If we ever have a cold day we could cover the wire floor with a board and the vents with plastic.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Chillin' With My Peeps

    145
    0
    129
    Apr 18, 2007
    Construction pointers

    ---------------

    No, a 1x4 flat isn't strong at all, and will sag and probably break in short order. You need them standing on edge for strength.

    -------------------

    You can make T shapes from two 1x4's. That will give you the strength from the one, and the wide nailing/screwing surface from the other.

    -------------------

    Yes, you really do need to cut those beveled edges for the roof joints. It's not hard, you can do it with the tools you have, and it doesn't have to be terribly accurate.

    Figure out your measurements and lay some boards out on the ground in those positions. Then lay two boards out like they are the roof. With nothing more high tech than a pencil, draw a vertical line as the miter. Now take your saw and cut that line.

    You can get semi fancy and make a template of that angle with a piece of cardboard so you can make the same marks and cuts on the other boards.

    There you go, there's the miter cuts for the ridgepole!

    ----------------------

    And btw, you don't need that ridgepole. If you make the roof pieces into triangles (trusses), you can skip the ridgepole.

    -----------------

    2' spacing of the roofing joists is fine.

    ------------------

    Don't try to set the roof trusses inside of the walls, set them on the top. It's stronger and easier that way. Plus, it gives you a bit of overhang for rain water, preventing it from dripping down inside the walls, rotting them.

    ------------------
    You need to join the sides of the structure at the top of the walls, otherwise it will just bow out and try to collapse, succeeding eventually. The bigger the coop and the heavier the roof, the longer the walls, the faster it will succeed in collapsing. Hence the practice of building with trusses.

    -------------------

    You can build the walls, and then plop the roof trusses on top of it. A little more bevel cutting is necessary to fit well.

    roof
    /\\

    walls
    |_|

    --------------------

    Alternatively, there is this:

    roof (no bottom)
    /\\

    walls
    _
    |_|

    Since the roof piece isn't a triangle, it's a little more fragile when setting it up on top, but it still isn't particularly difficult.

    -------------------

    Remember, this is a chicken coop, not a house. The loads are much less, and the construction requirements are much less.

    --------------------
     
  10. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

    724
    0
    159
    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Ruth,

    Thanks for the info and pics. Actually, yours is the coop I had *wished* I could have (I think it was actually your dog that caught my eye, in another post ... he reminds me too much of my GSD ... he was bred in LA and has lots of relatives there, I wonder if they could be related?).

    Hot and humid here too ... and while I can't afford to build one of that size, I will keep it in mind for next time. Thanks so much for sharing. And I can see exactly how you did the top too, thank you!

    I am glad you mentioned the rolled roofing though. I saw some at the salvage yard, and their prices are 1/2 of hardware store. I didn't ask what it would cost because I thought I couldn't afford it. I think I'll see about getting it though. I was planning to paint the plywood, but it sounds like the roofing would be cheaper (and probably quicker as well) and I think it would work better. Thank you for mentioning it!

    trish
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2007

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by