LumberJocks

Creating an exposed beam from multiple boards

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by DaveInPA posted 11-01-2017 01:32 AM 1183 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DaveInPA's profile

DaveInPA

3 posts in 104 days


11-01-2017 01:32 AM

Hi all – I am finishing a room that calls for 3 structural exposed beams in the ceiling. The architect calls for them to be at least 2.5” thick and 8” high and 16’ Long. In order to match detail from another room there is a 3/8” bead running along both sides of the bottom of the beam. This would need to be some sort of hardwood preferably quarter saw oak.

Problem is that I can’t find 12/4 boards in a hardwood anywhere in the northeast as far as I can tell. So I’m thinking that I can get 2 8/4 boards and just laminate them by basic face glue technique. On the bottom of the laminated board I would then apply a 1/2” board that had the bead on the edges. This would then give me the beaded profile as well as hide the joint and grain differences between the 2 boards that were laminated together.

Question – do I have to be careful about how I cut that bottom applied board so the grain looks right? I may be overthinking this but the 2 laminated boards have face grain that will be seen on the vertical sides of the beam. The applied board should then replicate what should be the edge grain of those boards. But that means I need to find a 12/4 board to rip it from right? Or if I use face grain will it look just fine and nobody will ever notice? If I get quarter saw lumber does that make the problem go Away?

Thanks for any help!


11 replies so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

2952 posts in 547 days


#1 posted 11-01-2017 03:07 AM

Dave …where do you live in Pa. ? :<))

-- Tony Reinholds,Pa. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View jonah's profile

jonah

1447 posts in 3133 days


#2 posted 11-01-2017 03:40 AM

Most good hardwood suppliers will have 12/4 maple, cherry, oak, and poplar. And if they don’t have it, they’ll know where to get it.

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

800 posts in 1276 days


#3 posted 11-01-2017 04:06 AM

If you use rift-cut stock, you can make all the grain run in the right direction.

Can you make your own beam in your jurisdiction without an engineer getting involved? (Not in mine!) If you do, you should use a structural glue, like resorcinol, not PVA (like Titebond).

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

9609 posts in 3482 days


#4 posted 11-01-2017 04:14 AM

Do you plan a butt joint in the center? A brick
laid laminate?

Aside from the thickness issue, dry hardwoods
in 16’+ lengths may be difficult to get.

Getting beam stock from a mill that supplies
timber framers shouldn’t be undoable. It
may be green however.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2558 posts in 1859 days


#5 posted 11-01-2017 04:44 AM

You might make it like a box with mitered edges where they join (a 3-cornered box).

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View avsmusic1's profile

avsmusic1

171 posts in 519 days


#6 posted 11-01-2017 11:11 AM

Are these supporting weight / structural, or purely aesthetic?

Do they have to be a solid 12/4?

View DaveInPA's profile

DaveInPA

3 posts in 104 days


#7 posted 11-01-2017 02:35 PM

Thanks for the feedback…..

My architect/engineer came up with the structural beam idea so it kosher for a structural member. Its an A frame and there are collar ties at the peak as well. But regardless the architect, framer, and my GC are all comfortable with it.

I am in Buck’s County PA which is outside of Philly and we have a few different hardwood dealers. I’ve spoke to a few of them and sent a few emails to some in Main as well. I can get GREEN oak timbers no problem – but nobody has been able to get me 12/4 oak in these lengths. I could use shorter lengths and join them to make a longer beam – maybe with a dovetail type of joint. The force will be in compression so I bet that will be ok structurally.

If I got the lamination of 8/4 stock and use quarter or riff sawn – will the grain patterns work out or will it look like it was “boxed” in?

View dubois's profile

dubois

34 posts in 1665 days


#8 posted 11-01-2017 02:55 PM

Lengthening shorter beams would be my choice over creating a beam-like object from planks though the way to do it is not dovetail but one of the many scarf joints, very strong and not so difficult as they may seem.
If you don’t want to work unseasoned beams there is no doubt reclaimed wood in your county.
Much depends on what you are matching this work to of course.

View avsmusic1's profile

avsmusic1

171 posts in 519 days


#9 posted 11-01-2017 06:05 PM

Have you asked for Ash or Maple? It’s my understanding that both species are easier to kiln dry and, therefore, may be easier to find in thicknesses that would be tough to maintain grade on in oak

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

9609 posts in 3482 days


#10 posted 11-01-2017 06:11 PM

If I got the lamination of 8/4 stock and use quarter or riff sawn – will the grain patterns work out or will it look like it was “boxed” in?

I doubt anybody will ever notice or care, but
flatsawn boards do tend to show quartersawn
figure on the edges. It’s an observation that
most people who don’t work with wood have
probably never noticed.

So, yeah. If you want to make it look as much
as possible like one solid beam section, flatsawn
sides and a quartersawn bottom would do that.

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

800 posts in 1276 days


#11 posted 11-01-2017 11:15 PM

I agree with Loren—unlikely that anyone will notice or care, but using rift-sawn material will make your built-up beam look virtually identical to a solid one:

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com