Thor Matteson's award-winning books and where to order.
Earthquake Strengthening for Vulnerable homes

Cover: Earthquake Strengthening for Vulnerable Homes At last, a comprehensive source of important home strengthening information for everyone involved in earthquake upgrades. Written in non-technical language, it picks up where everything else you have read about earthquake retrofitting leaves off. Enhanced with over 400 full-color images, here is just a hint of what you’ll find inside:
  • How earthquakes damage wood-framed buildings of various ages and styles
  • How to tell if existing hardware under a house will effectively resist earthquakes
  • Whether foundation repairs should be done immediately, can be delayed, or dismissed
  • The latest tested and accepted strengthening methods
  • Recommended framing connectors and concrete anchors
  • Specific tools that are either useful or essential in certain situations
  • Time-saving installation methods
  • Dozens of contractor-tested construction details
  • Why standard pressure-treated lumber does more damage than good
  • How to prioritize retrofitting versus attending to termite and water damage
  • Which strengthening methods to implement on a limited budget
  • What commonly-seen retrofit methods are rarely worth the investment
  • How to distinguish a superior installation from a poor attempt
  • Why having an engineer design a strengthening system may save more money than following “pre-engineered” municipal guidelines

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Wood-Framed Shear Wall Construction--an Illustrated Guide

Cover: Wood-Framed Shear Wall Construction: An Illustrated Guide This guide will help carpenters, builders, designers and inspectors understand the construction of wood-framed shear walls. Written by a former carpenter in terms that carpenters will understand, this 8-1/2 x 11, 100-plus page guide contains over 140 photos and diagrams. Carpenters and builders will find this book indispensable. Students, engineers, designers and inspectors will discover valuable information and tips throughout the guide.

The International Code Council, or ICC--the same organization that publishes the International Building Code--released Wood-Framed Shear Wall Construction--an Illustrated Guide in March, 2004.

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Table of Contents for Wood-Framed Shear Wall Construction--an Illustrated Guide

Background Information
  • Purpose of Shear Walls
  • Why Shear Walls Matter
  • Some Misconceptions About Shear Walls
  • Damage Control Versus Life-Safety
  • Why so Much Fuss About Shear Walls Recently?
  • Shear Walls and the Building Codes
How Shear Walls Work
  • Basic Shear Wall Concepts
  • Five Essential Shear Wall Principles
  • Generic Wood-framed Shear Walls (Beyond the Schematic Diagrams)
  • What Happens to Shear Walls in Laboratory Tests
  • Example: Shear Wall on a Slab Foundation, with Real Numbers
Construction Requirements
  • Basic Shear Wall Requirements and Solutions to Common Problems
  • Action--Getting the Loads into the Shear Wall
  • Reaction--Transferring the Load From the Shear Wall to the Structure Below
  • Shear Strength--Making the Wall Strong Enough to Resist the Load
  • Tie-downs--Keeping Your Shear Walls from Rocking Up and Down
  • Bearing Capacity at End Posts--Keeping Your Shear Walls from Punching into the Structure Below
  • Myths That Cost You Time and Money
Related Topics
  • Foundation Considerations
  • Prefabricated Shear Walls and Bracing Panels
  • Collectors (Also Known as Drag-Struts or Drag-Ties)
  • Wood Shrinkage
Advanced Shear Walls
  • Openings Through Shear Walls
  • Shear Walls with Sloping Tops
  • Stepped Footings--Hillside Anchors
Hardware Manufacturers
  • Miscellaneous Hardware
  • Prefabricated Shear Walls or Bracing Panels
Appendix A--Australian Approach to Shear Wall Tie-downs
Appendix B--Engineering Principles of Shear Walls with Sloping Top Plates

Corrections, Updates & Errata for Wood-Framed Shear Wall Construction--an Illustrated Guide
The following errata appear only in the first printing of the book. Corrections were made for the second printing. Page "ii" of the book shows the printing number at the bottom of the page.

Page 16: This change is key to understanding how shear walls work!
In Figure 10, two notes are interchanged. The tie-down and anchor rod on the right transfer uplift force from the shear wall into the footing. The tie-down on the left will not resist any force until the "action" force at the top of the wall reverses direction. Figure 10 (PDF)

Page 26:
Part of this page did not print. Page 26 (PDF)

Page 54:
Figure 60 does not print well enough to show the nails in question. Figure 60 (PDF)

Page 57:
The text refers to Figures 67 and 68; The references should be for Figures 68 and 69, respectively. Text in the caption for Figure 68 should refer to Figure 69.

Note: You may view the Adobe PDF file for any of the updated pages or figures by clicking on their respective links. You may also save the files to your own computer. While you are viewing the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader, click on the diskette icon in the upper left corner of the Acrobat window and fill in an appropriate file name and location on your own computer to save the file.

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Last updated: June 26, 2005 (Note: No new errata have been found since late 2004)