Step 4: Make a story pole

Making a story pole
Photo: David Carmack
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Take a length of clapboard as long as the wall is high. Hold it vertically and align one end with the butt edge of the starter course.

Transfer the marks from the wall to the clapboard. This is your "story pole."

Place the pole it vertically alongside the corner board nearest the marks made from the swing stick, line up its end with the starter course as before, and transfer the marks onto the corner board with a pencil and square.

Repeat the process to create a matching set of marks on the opposite corner board.

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    Tools List

    • speed square
      Speed Square,
      for marking story pole and swing stick
    • chalk line
      Chalk line.
      for premarking courses and for finding and marking plumb lines at stud locations
    • utility knife
      Utility knife,
      for notching clapboard and cutting felt, flashing, and waterproofing membrane
    • tacker hammer
      Hammer tacker and staples,
      for attaching builder's felt to sheathing alternative: staple gun
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun with paintable, synthetic-rubber sealant,
      for sealing ends of clapboard at casings, frieze, and corner boards
    • ladder
      Ladder or scaffolding,
      for reaching high spots
    • miter saw
      Miter saw,
      for cutting clapboards to length
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • table saw
      Table saw,
      for ripping down the starter strip

    Shopping List

    1. PRIMED RED-CEDAR CLAPBOARD

    2. BUILDER'S FELT: 15-POUND, 12-INCH-WIDE ROLL

    for protecting sheathing at water table, corner boards, and around window and door casings



    3. BUILDER'S FELT: 2-INCH-WIDE ROLL

    for covering the wall at stud locations



    4. METAL FLASHING

    for covering the top edge of the water table and window casings



    5. WATERPROOF MEMBRANE

    for protecting the tops of windows and doors



    6. 4D AND 7D STAINLESS STEEL RING-SHANK NAILS

    for attaching clapboard and flashing