Tips from Tech Support
Cutting Costs, Not Corners
- by Jim Hodge -

With the continued economic pressure on the entire construction industry, it is necessary to look for ways to reduce the costs of our products while at the same time maintaining product quality and consistency that keeps our customers coming back.  One of these ways may be by not “cutting corners.”

Typical roof configurations seem to get more complicated every year, and hips (and therefore corners) have become a part of a majority of the roof truss packages being produced today.  As we visit truss companies across the country, it is obvious that the design of the corner sets vary widely from plant to plant.  On the West Coast, the “California hip” system is almost universal, but it seems like each manufacturer has his own spin on exactly how the components should be designed and on specific details for how the corners should go together.  The same thing is true in other parts of the country.  Variations in styles of jacks, cuts on the jacks, etc. seem to be endless.

Regardless of how you choose to design the corner sets for your customers, the feature most common to  all corner sets is hip corner girders (king jacks) or hip rafters which creates angled connections on the side and end jacks of the corner.  OnLine Plus supports four options used for the cuts on the jacks where they attach to Corner Girders / hip rafters (shown below): Single Bevel, Double Bevel, Long Side Square Cut, and Short Side Square Cut. 

Short side square cuts can be used effectively to reduce costs in your production without a negative impact on your customer.  The advantages of are:

  • Simplifies design time and reduces possibility of error.
  • Simplifies communication to the plant, both cutting and fabrication and reduces likelihood of errors.
  • Eliminates the extra shop operation to cut the bevels on the ends of the boards.
  • Simplifies the material handling in the shop making it easier to bring the pieces to the fabrication area efficiently.
  • Simplifies the selection process at the job site by eliminating concerns about left/right orientation of jacks and corners.

 If your company decides to implement a change to short side square cuts, please contact the tech department for assistance in making any necessary adjustments to your files.  In our opinion, elimination of the beveling process from your corner sets can help your company remain competitive in today’s market.  As an OnLine Plus user, you have a great tool to help you with this process and we in the tech department want to help you make the most of the tools in the OnLine Plus package.

Different Bevel Types Supported by OnLine Plus

Single cheek cuts were the most common type of bevel cuts used by many truss manufacturers for years.  Using this style of cuts requires that the designer note the quantities of Left and Right jacks and convey this information to the plant accurately.  For many reasons, you cannot assume that it will be half and half (e.g. stubs, overhangs, cantilevers, etc. not being the same on both sides of the corner).  This must be correct not only at the saws but at the jigs or tables.  It also requires that the framing crew gets the pieces on the building in the correct location.

Double cheek cut is a solution that allows the jacks to work correctly on the left or right side of the diagonal member.  This option simplifies the design and staging of the corner sets.  The problem with both of these cheek cut options is that it requires an extra operation in the plant to cut the cheek cuts on the ends of the boards.  This often means redirecting the pieces to be beveled to a different station, meaning more complicated staging of the pieces.

Long side square cuts is a solution to the extra operation and processing caused when cheek cuts are used.  This simply means cut the piece to length and do not bevel it.  Your customer can cut the appropriate bevels on the jacks at the job site after delivery.  Of course this solution is simply passing the extra labor on to your customer, the builder.  Most fabricators would agree that this would not set well with the builder and that they would not wish to add this labor load to their customer.

Short side square cuts is the fourth option to be considered.  This option will generate jacks that will fit on either side of the girder and will eliminate the need for cheek cuts altogether.  This simplifies the entire process of design, cutting, fabrication and erection of the final product. Jacks cut with square cuts can be connected with toenails or hangers just as the cheek cut versions are.  There is no loss of effectiveness either for toenails or hangers as long as the connections are made properly.


6904 Parke East Blvd Tampa Florida 33610
Phone: 813-972-1135  Fax: 813-971-6117  Email: