Will's books

Will's books


Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Will Holladay giving a roof framing demo at the 1996 JLC Live

(NOTE: click on orange for links)

Will began his career in construction as a job-site laborer with a shovel in his hands.  Blessed with the knack to drive nails he found a good fit in rough carpentry.  While working in the Los Angeles housing tracts during the mid 1970s Will had the opportunity to learn production roof cutting and stacking.  Ever since those early days, roofs have been his forte.  Lacking the technical side of his profession he made time to attend the Construction program at Orange Coast College graduating with an AA degree.  When roof trusses gained prominence in the late-1970s he left the Los Angeles area and moved north into the custom home market along the California central coast. There with his crew he spent the next 14 yrs specializing in framing custom homes with complicated roofs.   During that time he wrote his first book entitled A Roof Cutter’s Secrets to Framing the Custom Home (1989) and earned a BA thru night school.

In 1992 after some 20 years in the industry, Will began working as a freelance framing consultant and “traveling roof cutter”.  He did this primarily so he could divide his time between his other interests of bush flying (he is a commercial pilot and aircraft mechanic), whitewater river guiding and humanitarian aid projects.  In his new capacity he participated in the building of many interesting projects up and down the West Coast.  From 1992 – 2002 he had the unique experience to be able to teach roof framing seminars/workshops at “JLC Live” and other building conferences.  The video of his 1997 roof framing presentation at the JLC Live East conference was edited into a commercial video and made available thru JLC to the public as a resource.

In 1996 Will developed “The HeadCutter” and was granted patent #6038775 for it in 2000.  He invented this devise to replace the venerable sidewinder blade that he used for many decades when cutting roofs.  “The Headcutter” is an adjustable saw foot that clamps to the bar of a chainsaw converting it into a vertical milling machine.  It is terrific to gang cut the head-cuts and tail-cuts on common rafters packages, square-cut TJI packages and quite popular with manufacturers and installers of insulated roof panels. BigFoot Saw manufactures and sells “The HeadCutter”.  Will used this tool along with other custom saws to help set up a production roof cutting division at National Lumber (Boston) in 2001.  Watch the video Gang cutting rafters 2 to see the HeadCutter in action.

In 2002 after four years in the works, Hanley Wood republished an updated version of A Roof Cutter's Secrets in a modern day format. 

In 2009, Will completed The Complicated Roof - a cut and stack workbook, as a companion guide to his mainstay.  In this workbook, encompassing the calculating, cutting, and stacking of two real life complicated roofs, he shares how he approaches difficult projects and applies the methods shown in A Roof Cutter's Secrets.

Just recently in 2013,Will finished Roof Framing for the Professional, a two part video series. It was amateur recorded during a 2 week long roof framing clinic he presented in 2012.  His teaching and demos were condensed down to some 11 hrs. on (6) DVDs.  Viewers have said is by far the most comprehensive study of roof framing available on film.  For more than 20 yrs. Will had desired to make available his teaching in a visual format.

Over the years, Will has written more than half a dozen articles detailing special roof and stair building topics that were published in The Journal of Light Construction magazine.

Alongside both his availability as a roof design/framing consultant and his availability as a production roof cutter, Will has recently branched out to include the design and building of tree houses/tree platforms in his repertoire of skills.

While Will enjoys the physical aspect of building things he also desires to share what he has learned over his lifetime with others and to that end participates in various humanitarian aid projects overseas.  If you know of any that could use his help please let him know.