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Thread: How to brace a heavy beam

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Roehl View Post
    To reiterate what someone else already stated: do NOT tie the wood beam to the steel structure of the building in any way, shape or form--they're just not generally designed for it, unless it was part of some engineered specs when it was built.
    I agree. Consider hiring a structural engineer to evaluate - the last time I did that it was cheaper than I imagined (I got a referral from an architect friend). Otherwise, diagonal steel braces could support if you want to use the beam for something heavier than light fixtures. But even then, I would probably just take out the old wood beam and design something from scratch from steel.


  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kreinhop View Post
    I don't have any suggestions for bracing, but am curious why you have them in your shop. The beam doesn't appear to be doing anything other than holding up some fluorescent lights. Unless there is some sentimental attachment to the beam and posts, I would remove them and sell them to a reclamation yard.
    That's why my initial thought was. If that's a white oak beam its worth a pretty penny.

    My second thought was if they are stable, don't worry about it.

    Put some lag bolts in the posts into the 2x4's if you want.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Thompsons Station, Tn.
    The first thing I would do is determine the maximum weight pick I would need to make from that beam. The engineer will probably ask. Then I would get the back story from the previous owner, assuming he is still alive and kicking. If he was a tractor mechanic he most likely used the beam to split tractors, however, we don't know what size.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    The connection to the siding girt may be a problem. Other than that, as it stands there is no problem. But to put any loads on it you have to brace it accordingly. So let's look at the limitations.

    Floor loading
    The column that holds up the building has a separate foundation under it that does not extend to where the post sits so it is not a good guide for capacity. That said, the floor is designed to support normal equipment loads, presumably some pretty heavy construction equipment. Do you have any indications of floor failures anywhere else? If not, the post can support a fairly heavy load, probably more than the beam can carry in the center.

    Beam strength
    That is a massive beam but it is also a pretty long span. Load capacity at the center is probably not enough to lift even a medium sized piece of equipment. Post the size and span of the beam and someone here may offer a capacity. From there, depending on your planned load you can plan any improvements.

    Connection to the siding girt
    The longitudinal load on the girt should be ok if you don't load the wood beam but there is a possibility of load into the plane of the siding. This can come from loading on the beam or sway of the building. Yes buildings sway a little and you must allow for it. Two inches of clearance between the end of the beam and the siding girt will be fine. If it's tight you should shorten the beam. Not easy I know. Look carefully at the connection of the girts to the building steel for any sign of damage. To connect the siding girts to the beam just to keep the wooden bent from falling over, you could connect it to the girt with a 2 x 4 about 4ft long with one bolt or lag screw at each end. It must run parallel to the siding girt so it will add no load outward on the girt. You need to install some knee braces to the wooden bent to keep it from leaning left or right. A couple of 4ft long 2 x 4s on each end at 45 degrees will suffice for the light fixtures you have hanging.

    This is going to require some investigation by a qualified designer.

  5. #20
    Simplest thing I can see is just to remove the beams and posts. I would just put my loader under the beam, and pulling the nails in the gussets and lifting up the beam and taking it out.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Andrew View Post
    Simplest thing I can see is just to remove the beams and posts. I would just put my loader under the beam, and pulling the nails in the gussets and lifting up the beam and taking it out.
    It looks like it might be a pine 6x12 which might be heavy, especially if long. Don't know if he mentioned how long the beam is.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Your could add a plywood triangle on both sides and ends. Nail schedule like a shear wall or better 3" spacing on all exterior edges and for such a small thing I would just do 3" on the interior edges as well. For houses 5/8" plywood will meet code in California so use at least 5/8.
    Just thinking one sheet of plywood will yield 4 triangles at 45 degrees with 4 foot legs.
    I would not add a strong wall since it will use up valuable shop space and cost a lot more.
    Bill D

  8. #23
    It's just something a mechanic threw up to use to lift something. Attach it any way you want to make you/it feel more secure. I would only be concerned if you plan on lifting a couple thousand pounds up with it.

  9. #24
    Looks like the horizontal beam is a glue lam. Are the posts also?

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