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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My pile of tractor attachments has outgrown the shed. I’d like to build a small lean-to as protection for them. I was planning on 4-4x4 posts in the ground with some stringers and a simple roof.
The big question is to use a birdsmouth or not on the rafters. I’ve never done it before, it doesn’t seem that hard, but I am by no means a woodworker, I just get lucky swinging a hammer sometimes.

any advice for attaching rafters in a simple fashion?
 

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How big is a small lean-to?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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That's probably more proper than what I do. I usually just set a rafter on the top plate and use hurricane ties without cutting those out.
I've done it both ways but prefer not to do the cuts.
On a small pole building/lean-to I run boards across the poles, set the rafters and then run another set of boards across the poles on the otherside, pushing it up until it meets the rafters.
 

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I would suggest 6x6 as opposed to 4x4 for longevity, strength, and resistance to bumps/accidents. Birds mouths are easy to cut and figure out as well as providing a more stable rafter, making easier to nail and spreading the load, are you in a snow zone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would suggest 6x6 as opposed to 4x4 for longevity, strength, and resistance to bumps/accidents. Birds mouths are easy to cut and figure out as well as providing a more stable rafter, making easier to nail and spreading the load, are you in a snow zone?
I was waffling on the post size. Yes, I’m in western, NY. No stranger to high wind and snow. I’ll upgrade to 6x6
 

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I would suggest 6x6 as opposed to 4x4 for longevity, strength, and resistance to bumps/accidents. Birds mouths are easy to cut and figure out as well as providing a more stable rafter, making easier to nail and spreading the load, are you in a snow zone?
I can't disagree with any of that. (y)
 
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I agree with Manomet on using 6x6's, cutting and bird's mouth, but why calculate/measure? Frame your walls and lay a full length rafter on the top plate. Assuming you're using 2x4's for top plates for the rafters to sit on, cut a short length of 2x4, 4-10" long, stand rafter up on top plates, verify position (for overhang), push 2x4 against rafter and trace 2x4. Do not move rafter on trace 2x4 on opposite end. There's your bird's beak's! After cutting both bird's beaks, I'd try it up in place (just to make sure!) and use this as your "master rafter" to layout the rest of the rafters.
I've never had good luck with toe-nailing...either too close to the bottom and it splits or too high up/wrong angle and I go into the second member by almost 1/4" !!! I now use Simpson Ties, or equivalent. These are a 90º angle with pre-punched holes and even I can't screw up! Short fastener for these should be available where you buy the angles.

Also, since you could have a wind issue, I'd use some type of anchor to hold the lean to on the ground! I tend to make things "bullet proof" and to outlast me! I would use a post hole drill down about 4', drill a hole in a 4x4 concrete post support base, and install a 1/2" or 3/4" rod (with at least 3 HEAVY coats of primer or undercoat for autos) through the hole with a washer & nut. Drop the base & rod into the hole and backfill and tamp. Bob
 

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I agree with Manomet on using 6x6's, cutting and bird's mouth, but why calculate/measure? Frame your walls and lay a full length rafter on the top plate. Assuming you're using 2x4's for top plates for the rafters to sit on, cut a short length of 2x4, 4-10" long, stand rafter up on top plates, verify position (for overhang), push 2x4 against rafter and trace 2x4. Do not move rafter on trace 2x4 on opposite end. There's your bird's beak's! After cutting both bird's beaks, I'd try it up in place (just to make sure!) and use this as your "master rafter" to layout the rest of the rafters.
I've never had good luck with toe-nailing...either too close to the bottom and it splits or too high up/wrong angle and I go into the second member by almost 1/4" !!! I now use Simpson Ties, or equivalent. These are a 90º angle with pre-punched holes and even I can't screw up! Short fastener for these should be available where you buy the angles.

Also, since you could have a wind issue, I'd use some type of anchor to hold the lean to on the ground! I tend to make things "bullet proof" and to outlast me! I would use a post hole drill down about 4', drill a hole in a 4x4 concrete post support base, and install a 1/2" or 3/4" rod (with at least 3 HEAVY coats of primer or undercoat for autos) through the hole with a washer & nut. Drop the base & rod into the hole and backfill and tamp. Bob
Agreed. Especially on the anchorage. One thing to remember is that a foundation isn't just about spreading out the dead load (structure, snow, whatever you have hanging from the roof) but it is also about resisting uplift from wind. Think of that roof as a wing or a sail.
 

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We are talking about a 8 x 12 lean-to here guys. I know its fun to spend other peoples money but concrete and all is a bit much. Dig some holes 2'+ deep, set the posts and put on the roof. Rafter ties are fast and cheap, I will give you that but toe nails have been working for centuries, JM2C
 

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You don't need a massive hole for a post. You just got to get under the frost line so ice doesn't push your post back up. In my area 18 inches will get you there.
 

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We are talking about a 8 x 12 lean-to here guys. I know its fun to spend other peoples money but concrete and all is a bit much. Dig some holes 2'+ deep, set the posts and put on the roof. Rafter ties are fast and cheap, I will give you that but toe nails have been working for centuries, JM2C
Going that route, get drainage gravel at the bottom of the post holes.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
We are talking about a 8 x 12 lean-to here guys. I know its fun to spend other peoples money but concrete and all is a bit much. Dig some holes 2'+ deep, set the posts and put on the roof. Rafter ties are fast and cheap, I will give you that but toe nails have been working for centuries, JM2C
I think I’ll tow the line somewhere in the middle here. Aside from wind / snow hazards, you do have the hazard of me operating a 24 hp, hydraulically operated, diesel powered machine in the vicinity.... frankly, that’s the biggest risk!
 

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"that’s the biggest risk!"

Me too
 
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