Enhance the Look of Wood Beam Construction

This Photo Instructable shows how you can dress up or enhance the look of exposed wood beam construction. This can be done without the high cost of having steel plates made and installed in place with large bolts, nuts and washers. You can do it with a few hand tools, some 1/4 inch mdf board and some wood dowels of a proper size all painted the way you want. Basic woodworking skill are all you need.



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    7 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I'm really surprised that the architect (or builder) did not prescribe metal plates that your faux plates are depicting. Nailing at this this joint is a joke!!

    If you are saying that nails will suffice, then I submit, that all of these members, save for the horizontal beam, of course, are a joke.

    The horizontal beam is doing most of the roof carrying job by retaining the spreading of the rafters at their base, so it is tension. The vertical member is basically in tension resisting the compressive loads in the diagonals that are preventing the rafters from sagging. The horizontal beam should not be seeing any vertical load at this "hard point" because it cannot support any. Yes, the vertical member is supporting the deadweight of the horizontal member.

    This is truss design 101.

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I don't get it, or I am totally confused.
    Are these irons only there for show ???…
    In which case it's somewhat of a pity.
    From the Middle Ages to the mid 20th century, carpenters took great pride in building wooden frames without the use of any iron material. A good frame had to stand by itself… It's only when time and economic factors that prevented to hire highly skilled carpenters that iron came in the picture : to me (and many people around me) a wooden frame with iron fasteners has less aesthetics value than a frame with no iron at all.

    Maybe it's the culture I live in … I dunno…

    However the work is well done.

    2 replies

    Thanks for your comment.
    The FAKE plates and bolts are for show only. I built and installed them at the request of the owner who had the new beams installed on her patio and in her game room. I guess that she thought it would dress up the look of the beams. You can see from two or three of the photos how they looked to begin with which I think kind of looks plain. I think if the carpenters had used interlocking joints with wood pegs or someother custom joints that maybe they would have been left alone. Anyhow I am pleased with how they turned out and I think the owners are to.


    Ok then.
    I would have prefered wooden pegs as you may guess8
    But I must say that the job you did with these plates is really neat in itself.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comment. I was really pleased with how well this project came out. It really made the game room and patio look great.