Joining wood beams together is done to expand the length of a beam for a specific distance. You can do this by creating a scarf joint. A scarf joint is a type of splice used to extend wood beams while keeping them flush and even. To do this you need to cut a half lap at the end of the beams.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 4-inch-by-4-inch beams
- Saw horses
- Tape measure
- Carriage bolts
- Socket wrench
Place the beams that you need to join on a pair of saw horses. Measure the width of one beam and then multiply the measurement by eight.
Measure the length of the first beam to the measurement in Step 1 and make a mark with the pencil. The measurement for a 4-inch-by-4-inch beam is 32 inches. Repeat this step on the second 4-inch-by-4-inch beam.
Measure down 2 inches from the 32-inch mark and make a second mark on each beam. Cut down to the 2-inch mark on each beam with the circular saw.
Place one of the beams on a table saw and cut it in half to the 32-inch mark. This type of cut is known as a half lap. Repeat this step on the second beam.
Place the two half laps together to create the scarf joint. Make a pencil mark every 4 inches down the length of the scarf joint. Drill a hole through the beam on each mark with the power drill.
Insert a 5-inch carriage bolt into each hole. Place a washer and nut on the end of each bolt. Tighten the nut with the socket wrench.
Tips and warnings
- Stagger the position of the bolts in the beam to ensure strength.
- The lap joint can also be secured by attaching metal plates to each side of the beam.
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