Creating a 'Faux Wood Truss'

bobby1973March 21, 2014

Hi folks - I'm hoping to get some feedback on this project that I would like to pursue. I've always loved the look of wood beams and wood trusses inside a home. I just moved into a newly constructed home and it has a farmhouse/industrial theme to it. Our 'morning room' has a cathedral ceiling and I would really like to accentuate that feature by adding two wood trusses. But since they'll be purely decorative, it's not practical to use solid pieces of wood. So my plan is to simply use 1" x 4" pine planking to create a three-sided box, essentially a "U" shaped structure by gluing and nailing the boards together (as shown in the attached photo). Then I'll attach hidden 2â x 4â nailers directly into the ceiling rafters and I can simply slip the âÂÂUâÂÂ-shaped beams over the nailers, and nail them through the sides using a finish nailer. Now that takes care of the segments of the truss that are attached directly to the ceiling. But what about the horizontal beam that would span the width of the room? (equivalent to the horizontal in the letter 'A'). I would probably need to use a solid piece of wood for that and just make sure that both ends get mounted into wall studs. Each horizontal beam would need to be 16' in length, so I would use two 8' beams (probably 4x4"). But 16' is a lot of length to only be supported at the ends, without any center support. I would greatly appreciate suggestions that anyone could kindly share with me. Thank you!

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I would use plywood in a similar fasion as you did the 1x boxes and support it at the center with a V which would complete the timber truss look. Where members meet, cut squares from 1/4tr inch hardboard and use pegs or screw hole covers to appear as steel joining plates and spikes.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:03PM
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I'm not sure why the fact that they are decorative rather than structural precludes the use of solid wood. The box construction you describe is fine for something decorative, but if it's meant to mimic a structural element then it ought to look the part.

Maybe it's because I have some idea of what I'm looking at, but things like trusses and beams that look like they ought to be structural, but clearly aren't built correctly or aren't appropriately supported *really* bother me. (eg big nonstructural trusses anchored to the ceiling with nothing holding their ends up). A 16 ft truss is easily doable in solid wood. Depending where you are a local mill can probably provide you with the beams for a price not that much different than dimension lumber and they will look 1000% better. Search Google images for "timberframe truss" for many examples ranging from very simple to wonderfully complex.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 1:55PM
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