Ridge beams

Last week I was in the attic of a local house completed in 1678. I was surprised that there were no ridge beams and had never been any. Rafters just butted to each other with a lap joint and a wood pin. After 350 years no roof sag. Why do we use ridge beams now? EDS
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Because it's easier to frame the roof when using 2x dimensional lumber. Without a ridge you have to put up both rafters at the same time. The ridge serves little if any structural purpose if the sheathing is of adequate thickness and the framing was cut correctly.
R
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wrote:

You sound like you're talking about a ridge "board". A ridge beam is structural.
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Some people refer to ridge boards as ridge beams. I'd bet dollars to donuts that is what EDS meant. If he had been talking about a ridge beam, he wouldn't have been asking why it wasn't there. It would have been there, or there would have been a framing system that would take the loads and would have been obvious to someone in the trade. Don't take my "word" for it, ask him. ;)
17th century timber framing practices and architectural styles can mask what's going on structurally if someone is trying to make sense of them viewed through "modern" stick framing practices. They might not realize that those short knee walls in the attic are actually extensions of the timber frame posts from the first floor. The horizontal ties are at the floor level - the floor joists set down below the wall top plate - and those ties are what resist the spreading load from the rafters. That only works with a steeper roof, stout posts and good connections.
R
R
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wrote:

Since I am Canadian, but can no longer really eat donuts, or doughnuts, it'll have to be my doughnuts to your dollars. (What's the exchange this morning?)
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Hey now. I might have been born in the morning - it wasn't this morning! Homemade or store-bought?
R
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wrote:

The Gold Standard of Canadian Doughnuts:
http://www.timhortons.com /
The chocolate dipped are legal tender in the ten provinces, for all debts public and private.
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wrote:

Yes, Ridge board, ridge plank, whatever... EDS
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Rafters tied by ceiling joists? Massive wall type below?

To support the upper end of the rafters.
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