How to Build Laminated Beams

Updated February 21, 2017

Laminated beams are designed with one thing in mind: strength. They are formed by gluing layers of wood materials together. Generally, you might buy a laminated beam already completed. However, you can make your own laminated beams in order to save money. The average do-it-yourselfer can complete this project in four to eight hours, depending on the size and scope of the project.

Place three two-by-10 boards together as a sandwich, and clamp them together with wood clamps. Place the clamps at the ends of the lumber and across the middle, spaced about 16 inches apart. This will be a temporary clamp, so just make sure that the three boards are aligned with each other and the clamps are tight.

Drill 1/2-inch holes across the centre of the boards and down the length. Place the first hole in the centre and 12 inches away from an end of the boards. Continue to drill the holes, spacing them 16 inches apart until you reach the opposite end of the lumber. Be sure to keep the holes in the centre of the boards. Measure to the centre of the boards with a tape measure if you don't trust your eye.

Release the clamps from the boards, and flip the top board over and lay it just above the remaining two boards. Apply a large amount of wood glue to the surface of the board, spreading the glue out with a small roller. Place an ample amount of glue on the top of the second board that still remains on the stack, and spread it out with the roller. Flip that board over onto the top board that is resting just above. Apply glue to the remaining board and flip it up onto the stack.

Insert bolts into the holes, and remember to place washers onto the bolts before attaching the nuts. Tighten down all nuts until the laminated lumber is tight. Wipe away excess glue from the boards using a damp rag. Allow the lumber to dry for 24 hours before using the newly laminated beam.

Things You'll Need

  • Two-by-10 lumber
  • Wood clamps
  • Wood glue
  • 1/2-inch bolts
  • 1/2-inch washers
  • 1/2-inch nuts
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About the Author

Billy McCarley has been freelancing online since April 2009. He has published poetry for Dead Mule, an online literary publication, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University Of Alabama where he is also a first-year graduate student in history.