Dolmetscher007

Where do people find new large timber beams, i.e. not reclaimed?

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Like a lot of you guys I'm sure, I watch a pretty good bit of YouTube every day. I see on a regular basis where some woodworker is making some cabin, workbench, Japanese gate, or some other amazing project out of lumber that appears to be 8x8 or larger. Now, I know that there is a huge trend to make everything possible out of some old reclaimed barn wood from the 1800's, but I was curious... would a descent local lumber yard carry new lumber in these massive dimensions, and if so, would it just be sopping wet garbage that will end up twisting into a pretzel by the time it actually dries out, 6 years from when you get it home?

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My previous yard that closed had some 4" and 6" beams in a hardwood species. I didn't pay much attention to them as I have no use for them. You could probably get them from a backwoods mill, but i expect the beams will crack or have some sort of defect. I don't think they would twist and distort to a pretzel but you'd probably get some distortion. Old workbenches like the Roubo were made from massive beams that were air dried and they worked out ok.

Shannon Rodgers did some good instagram posts about how his lumber yard made hardwood beams. They skinned doug fir beams with 1/8" veneer to give the beam look. This is how I'd do it if i needed a large beam. Using QS material and flat sawn material you could easily get the same look. The endgrain would be the hardest thing to mask.

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I want these beams for outdoor use, btw. I am building a deck, and want to... actually, to describe it would take a long time, and it doesn't matter. I will call my local lumber yard. Probably should have done that to begin with. ha ha! Thanks guys. You are all the best. I love this forum!

 

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9 minutes ago, Dolmetscher007 said:

I want these beams for outdoor use, btw. I am building a deck, and want to... actually, to describe it would take a long time, and it doesn't matter. I will call my local lumber yard. Probably should have done that to begin with. ha ha! Thanks guys. You are all the best. I love this forum!

 

Humm, i think you need to show us plans, take pictures, and explain this in detail preferable in a journal documenting the steps as you go.... :ph34r::D. I am interested now hope you share some pictures when you are done at least.

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Menards, Home Depot and such near us have pressure treated and cedar beams... at least up to 6x6 in stock.   And they can special order longer lengths, larger sizes, etc.

But if you're looking for a white oak beam, then a local hardwood supplier might know where to get it.   I can assure you, it'll cost $$$.

 

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@Chestnutcan probably speak to this better than me (I believe he's an engineer)  but I know that in a lot of modern construction, there has been a move away from using solid beams for structural support, instead using laminations of multiple 2X6's, 2X8's or whatever the appropriate size is for the building/deck/whatever is being built. 

I would think you can probably  find 6x6's readily and easily (As @Minnesota Steve mentioned in his reply)  but to go bigger than that, I don't know if there is a lot of demand for beams that size. 

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1 hour ago, Doug Carlson said:

@Chestnutcan probably speak to this better than me (I believe he's an engineer)  but I know that in a lot of modern construction, there has been a move away from using solid beams for structural support, instead using laminations of multiple 2X6's, 2X8's or whatever the appropriate size is for the building/deck/whatever is being built. 

I would think you can probably  find 6x6's readily and easily (As @Minnesota Steve mentioned in his reply)  but to go bigger than that, I don't know if there is a lot of demand for beams that size. 

Yeah... I did think about just laminating multiple boards together myself. I am making a deck to go outside my house, so it won't be some massive load-bearing structure. (I don't have that many friends LOL!!!) This is the video that inspired my deck idea: 

 

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I am behind a draconian firewall at work that doesn’t allow for YouTube – or any video for that matter – so I will have to check it out later.

One thing I was going to mention though is that - if you WERE to find some reclaimed beams, you probably wouldn’t have to worry about them pretzel’ing up! If they are relatively straight and true, odds are they will stay that way – and a couple passes through a planer and they may look good as new! Not that you haven’t considered this already, but just thought I would mention it.

Take care sir.

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Ahh this makes more sense now. So for this you have to keep in mind allowable tolerances. For outdoor stuff like this the joinery is probably designed in such a way to help prevent the boards from distorting too much or in a way that will cause structural failure. Thinking about this on terms that it's a furniture project is goign to cause you to chase your tail. I realize it can be done to tolerances for a furniture project but that's going to take a lot of time and the first massive humidity swing is goign to undo a lot of that hard work no matter if the timbers are kiln dried or otherwise.

Where to get this stuff. Find a local sawmill and give him what you are looking for. They'll probably be able to saw some beams to specs. The guy you linked specifically stated he was making the floor with green to semi dry wood so it only contracts. This way all you have to do is fill in the gaps instead of deal with possible blowouts. That guy does not look Korean or is it just me? :blink::D

This seems like a lot of work for an outdoor project that will eventually rot. Is it goign to be covered?

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I built a timber framed front porch on a house in 1983.  It has 12x12x16 posts, 12x12 lintels, 10x10 girts, and 6x8 joists.  I had them speciallly cut at a mill, and pressure treated.  It's still a show place house on the lake. It was all mortise, and tenoned together.  Flooring is 2x4 treated V-joint (seen below) T&G. I hired a small crane to set the frame.  I rode the lintels up to get them in place with my feet. 

  8x8 is a standard pressure treated size, but hardly anyone inland from the coast stocks them.  Houses on the coast built on stilts are typically built with 8x8's.

 All that big stuff comes rough cut.  I walked it with a flooring drum sander to smooth them out.  That was before I started doing a lot of hand planing, or owned a 6-1/4" power planer.

One other source would be a local sawyer.  The woods are full of them all over.  Look on the Woodmizer website for local sawyers, or post on the Forestry Forum.

I think I have a picture here of a porch I built with treated 8x8 posts.  A small tornado hit that house recently, and it was pretty simple to reassemble it.  Picture was when we were almost finished reassembling it.  The handrails were mortised into the posts, with no fasteners, so they mostly went right back in.  They were originally mortised to allow for the posts shrinking. It takes large treated timbers some years to dry out all the way.

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Around here, the largest size stocked is 6x6.  I built our dog porch, on the back of the house, with 6x6 posts.  It seems kind of spindly to me, but being on the back of the house, I didn't go to a lot of extra trouble to special order anything.

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I built a pole barn that was 100' x 60' it was 16' to the eves we had to get it engineered and the eve posts were specked out at 8x14s 24' long. They had to be custom milled an then pressure treated when they were delivered to the lumber yard the salesman called me and said " Dave Your trees are here when do you want them delivered" I had a good laugh over that one. You can get anything you want milled to your specifications kiln dried, pressure treated what ever you want just expect to pay a premium price.

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I love to make stuffs from woods, I will share some of the pictures that I made from wood. As like small chair, keyboard from wood but just the shape & mouse. I love to explore things made of wood.

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