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ceiling beams

Beam Joints: How to Cut for a Perfect Fit

Beam Joints: How to Cut for a Perfect Fit

How to Cut Beam for a Perfect Fit


When you butt one beam into the side of another one, you want the joint to be so tight that it's invisible.

With smooth beams, you can just cut the butting beam square, and it should fit against the main beam without a problem. It's a different story with our distressed beams.

Sure, you can cut the beam square, butt it to the main beam, and fill the gap with caulk. But you're likely to have a lot of gap to fill, and the result can look messy and unprofessional.

To do it right, you should scribe the end of the butting beam to match the contours of the main beam. All you need is a simple .

1. Lay the beams together as shown in the photo, at the exact position where they'll meet.

2. Spread the compass an inch or so. Hold it flat and slide it up along the beams as shown, so the point follows the surface of the main beam while the pencil draws a line on the butting beam. Do this all the way around the top and the other side.

3. Tilt the jigsaw shoe to an angle of 10-15 degrees, so that you'll cut away more material toward the center of the beam and make a sharper outer edge. Carefully cut along the scribed line on all three sides of the beam. You can also use a coping saw.

4. Test fit the beam, and remove any high spots with a coarse file until you have a perfect fit.

5. Stain the cut end of the beam to prevent any possibility of raw polyurethane showing through a crack in the joint.

Now you're ready to install the beams and have the satisfaction of seeing a perfectly invisible joint!