As specialists, we got pretty fast — and so did everybody else. When I started out as a carpenter, I was expected to hang eight doors a day. With a helper and the advantage of production tools, my friends Al and royal Schieffer could hang nearly that many in an hour. They hung doors on valley jobs for 30 years, maybe more. Single houses now could be framed, ready for drywall inside and stucco outside, by two or three carpenters in a day or so.
But to produce houses at that rate, we had to look hard at every step of the process. Every time we found a way to save a few steps or a few minutes, we adopted it. Then I used this rafter as a pattern for the rest of the rafters. Several years later, I was cutting the same roofs in an hour or two. I made low, long sawhorses on which I could rack up hundreds of common rafters upside down and on edge.
Then I could make the cuts with special tools, one pass on each chalkline see photo. Getting the rafters in place took longer than marking and cutting them to length. Materials changed, though not always for the better. I miss working with old-growth Douglas fir.
It is such beautiful wood. Today, our fir framing lumber often has no more than three or four growth rings per inch. Most of this material was utility grade, which meant that it could have large knots. Walking across a newly laid subfloor was like walking through a minefield, especially if you had a load of studs on your shoulder.
Step on a big knot, and down you went. The sharp edges of a broken knot could rake holes in your body. Fifty years later, I still have visible scars on my lower legs from leaving behind some skin and blood after I broke through a knotty board. So I was happy when plywood arrived on the job site in the late s. Now we could cover the floor with big sheets and not be fearful of injury from poor-quality sheathing.
Soil permitting, it was much quicker to build on a concrete slab. If the slab was poured in the morning, I could snap chalklines in the afternoon and start framing walls the next morning. They had a dozen pockets and offered some protection from both the weather and from job-site scrapes and abrasions.
Then I noticed that some of the pieceworkers were wearing leather belts with a hammer loop and two easy-to-reach leather bags worn on the back. These first nail bags were made at a local shoe-repair shop. By , I was wearing this uniform, along with most framers. In the early s, I added suspenders to take some weight off my waist. The curved-claw oz. Try a Plumb rigging hatchet. Just feel it. Here was the tool I needed.
It had a oz. I understand that it got its name from being used to set up rigs that were drilling for oil. The good and the bad part about this tool was its hatchet blade. But then one day I cut my forehead with the hatchet and left some blood on the job site.
In , I saw a joister a pieceworker putting floor joists on framed walls using a remodeled Plumb hatchet that had claws welded to the hammer part. I took my Plumb tool home and cut off the hatchet blade with a hacksaw. I had an old Estwing hammer that supplied the claws. I took the pieces to a friend who had an electric arc welder in his garage, and he put the parts together. Although my hammer was a rough-looking tool, it was now safer to use, and I could drive framing nails easily with one lick.
The straight-claw, long-handle California framer was born. When I started out as an apprentice carpenter, I had several sharp handsaws that I carried in my toolbox. But by , I had bought my first power saw. It was a pretty dangerous-looking tool with a guard over the top of the blade but none on the bottom.
In time, that saw became an extension of my arm. Eventually, I got my hands on a circular saw with a in. Most of our nailing was done by hand, so I became a master nailer, which is as much art as skill, like dancing. To avoid nailing floors on my knees, I made a nail buggy, a in. On one side, I fixed a small bread tray to hold nails. Sitting on this buggy, I could grab a handful of nails, push myself backward on a sheathed floor, and drive nails through the 1xs or plywood and into the joists.
Finger out a nail, set it, drive. It was a production tool, operated by a person standing upright while nailing off floors and low-pitched roofs. Four hundred or regular 8d nails straight out of the box were put in a tray, then dropped down a tube, one by one, to a driving pin. At the bottom of the tube was a loop through which you slipped your foot. This tool allowed you to walk along, driving nails through the floor into the joists.
A good operator could easily nail off sq. Regular handheld nail guns were not available until the early s. The first air gun I had was actually a stapler used to nail floor and roof sheathing. So we continued to nail walls together by hand until around , when better 16d guns were available. Before any of these developments had taken place, we used ordinary bright nails. We bought them by the truckload. In the early days, they were delivered in lb. Later, they started coming in lb.
So once they arrived at the shop, I would treat them with a gas-wax process. I took a 5-gal. Once the gas was warm, I dropped in a bar of paraffin. After the wax melted, I would open a box of nails, pour in a bit of the gas wax, and shake the nails around in the box. The solution would cover the nails with a thin coat of wax, and the gas would evaporate. Other people used dishwashing soap. These nails went into wood like a hot knife through butter.
One lick, and a 16d was home. Building inspectors wondered whether gas-waxed nails had the holding power of unwaxed nails. I had to explain to them that most nails in a framed wall hold in shear and not in tension.
Larry Haun May 6, - October 24, was an American union journeyman carpenter and author known for his skills and techniques expressed through his career in production home building as well as his instructional videos and books on the subject.
Haun spent five decades as a production framer during a housing construction boom in California in business with his brothers Joe and Jim. Larry was known for his ability to set a nail with two swings of a hammer. He also contributed to a blog connected to Fine Homebuilding magazine up until his passing.
Shortly before his death he donated most of his tools to a local high school. An avid marathon runner, Larry ran the LA Marathon three times while in his 60s. His favourite genre of music was bluegrass. He always had a garden where he lived and encouraged his children to eat organic foods and read books. Larry's wife Mila states that he was interested and involved in Native American culture and as well as Buddhism.
He was opposed to the Vietnam War. Larry died on October 24, from lymphoma. Scott Wadsworth of Essential Craftsman states that Haun's book, The Very Efficient Carpenter, gave him great inspiration throughout his career as a professional carpenter as Haun focused on devising methods and techniques to be more efficient while retaining quality.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American carpenter. Harrisburg, Nebraska , US.
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Larry Haun was an American union journeyman carpenter and author known for his skills and techniques expressed through his career in production home building as well as his instructional videos and books on the subject. Larry Haun (May 6, - October 24, ) was an American union journeyman carpenter and author known for his skills and techniques expressed through his. Larry Haun began his building career on the Nebraska prairie, where at 17 he helped to build his first house. In , he began framing in Albuquerque.