To cut the rafters for a hip roof, or a roof with inclined ends, measure out the angles, cut, drop the hip, and cut the tail. Cutting a hip roof takes roughly half a day and requires a band saw, boards for the rafters, a speed square, a tape measure and a pencil.
- Cut the boards to length
While working on the roof, lay out the boards. Cut them to the needed specifications.
- Mark plumb cuts
Mark the center of one end of the board. Use the speed square to mark a 90-degree angle on each side that ends at the center mark. Mark a 45-degree plumb cut on the other end of the board.
- Cut the boards
The saw should be set for a 45-degree cheek cut. Make the plumb cut. Turn the board around, and cut one half of the point. Flip the board, and make the other cut.
- Make the proper measurements
Place the rafter on its pointed edge. Hang a tape measure on the longest part of the 45-degree angle. Measure along the edge of the board to the point. Calculate the amount needed for the tail according to your roof design. Mark the center of the board at this point, and mark two 45-degree angles radiating from this point.
- Drop the hip
The rafter's stand has to be reduced to drop the hip. Mark a 45-degree angle across the top of the board where you measured for the tail. Measure this length, and divide by two. The amount of drop for the hip amounts to this number added to the rise. Mark this angle on the board.
- Cut the angle
Set the saw to a 90-degree angle. Cut out the angle that reduces the rafter's stand. It's fine to over-cut the long part of the angle so that it fits the corners, but the level needs to be accurate.
- Cut the tail
Re-set the saw to a 45-degree angle. Mark a 45-degree angle from the edge of the angle above. Use the saw to cut. Remove the tip of the tail by flipping the board over and cutting at the 45-degree angle set in the saw.