Will's books

Will's books


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Available NOW at bookstores and Amazon (CLICK on title)

 by: Will Holladay

Four years to write - A lifetime to gain the experience

A journey is a person in itself, no two are alike. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip, a trip takes us.” - J Steinback
In From the Top Plates Up, production roof cutter Will Holladay, author of the classic roof framing manual A Roof Cutter's Secrets (1988, 2002, 2014) and the challenging workbook The Complicated Roof (2009) shares a bucket load of stories as he reflects back over his 42-year career as a hard swinging roof framer. The book goes back to the early 1970s when the author was a jobsite laborer working for a custom builder and carries all the way through to 2014 when injuries finally got the best of him. It is the love story of a man and a job. The story of a relentless roof-framing junkie who was never happy unless he was up in the air. Interwoven in the book are intriguing stories of lessons learned – many the hard way – aimed specifically at helping the reader avoid the same pitfalls that tripped him up. The book harbors a kaleidoscope of fun and informative topics including: his favorite tools; swinging a hammer; avoiding jobsite injuries; dealing with simple or crippling medical events; forging a top-notch framing crew; setting up your work truck; the history and tools of production roof cutting; applying the cool new rafter cutting inventions; the development of modern day roof framing lingo; and, staying in physical shape for maximum jobsite performance. In one stirring chapter Will tells of his conversion to Christianity while stacking roofs in the Los Angeles housing tracts and how that decision eventually lead him to a part-time ministry in Central America where he helps out as a relief pilot and teaches locals rough carpentry skills. The book is truly a collection of the best pearls of wisdom from one of the industry’s most beloved roof framers. It is written in a manner that will cause the reader to stop and think, all the while challenging him/her to reach for the stars.

Table of Contents 

1. One Swing, One Nail – the art of the hammer
2. My Two Best Friends – a Skil 77 and a Homelite chainsaw
3. The Minimalist – “simple” and “speed” both start with an “S” (the tools I use)
4. A Man and his Truck
5. The Making of a Framing Crew
6. Roof Cutters – a flash in time (the history of production roof cutting)
7. Smiles and Frowns – successes and failures (jobs)
8. Where was Adam when we needed him – names matter (roof framing terms)
9. Filling Needs – the Headcutter and the Seat-cut guide stories (inventions)
10. Framing Is a Street Fight – treating and avoiding jobsite injuries
11. The Domino Principle and the Downhill Slide (a story of injuries)
12. Teaming up with the Perfect Carpenter
13. Train to Survive the Battle (physical training ideas for a framer)

Reader's comments

Hi Will. Your new book provides a magnificent picture of production framing at a truly professional level.

Will, I just wanted to let you know I finished “From the top plates up” last week and it was a joy to read. As someone who has become very interested in the days of tract homes and the production framing techniques that were developed during the time period, your book had great insight. Again loved the book and it has a new spot on my bookshelf, top shelf right beside my dog eared, underlined ,highlighted and well worn copy of RCS!

This book managed to capture a look into the world of framing through an amazingly talented carpenter. The journey reveals tricks and tips that will add knowledge to anyone who has a desire for advanced skills in framing. Along with the hard work of framing comes wear and tear on your body. I was pleased to read that maintaining fitness to perform this hard trade was addressed. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about a dedicated tradesmen and a wonderful life story.

I have purchased and really enjoyed and benefited from two of your books: A Roof Cutter’s Secrets to Framing the Custom Home, and From the Top Plates Up.  I am a carpenter (of course), and found a lot of times where what you wrote expressed how I’ve felt but never even realized.  It was great to have it put into words; I even got a good laugh because of it a few times.

Hi Will,
"From the Top Plates up" took me back in time. I became a rough carpenter in 1969 at 18. Did layout, stood walls, P&L, joist. Unlike you, I never gravitated to stacking or fascia. I was a little afraid of heights. I admire your expertise in that area. One of my first jobs as an apprentice was working with a roof cutter in the San Fernando Valley. I moved to San Diego in ’73 and continued my rough framer career until 1984. I made the jump into residential supervision, then VP of Operations, you know…corporate bullshit. I am now retired but my fondest memories are being a young framer. Thanks for getting me back in touch with some great memories.