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Customer Design Projects

Truss Story, Part 3 (final)

Truss is almost complete
The main portions of both trusses were now in place except for the center vertical beam that covers the electrical wire, the hole and the chain. Now it was time for all the electrical work. I spent a lot time investigating different fixtures and finally found one at Home Depot that was narrow enough to be installed inside the beam. There was almost no room to work inside the beam so I had to take apart each light and remove some of the fixturing that is there for installing in attics. I had to double check to make sure none of these abutted the inside of the beam or got so warm as to be a hazard. This type clipped in and stayed cool under all circumstances.  I used the same method as before to measure and mark both beams so that the lights would be even. The  drill I used to
Cutting a hole for the lights in the truss

cut these would not go deep enough (it was made for thin drywall) so I had to do a cut from the bottom, and then finish the cutting by drilling from the top. I wrapped the bottom of the beam with a drop cloth and it did a good job of catching all the sawdust. I drilled 4 holes in each beam. The lights clipped in although it was handy to have access from the top when they didn’t seat perfectly. I wired all of these together with twist caps and attached and checked the wiring. (One wrong set of bulbs sent me back to Home Depot where they by now knew me on a first name basis.)

The last electrical source was the extra socket from the end over the fireplace. I had pre-run the wires in the beam and attached this to an external small track-light fixture over the fireplace and facing the wall over the stairs. This was additional decorative lighting but was easy to do. These were also twist cap attached. Coming down the stretch …… (dare I say it has been 12 months now…) and I flit all over the ladder like a possessed monkey.

There are covers for the tops of the beams, but I am not that fond of the way they look because a slight seam shows where they attach. In the end, the tops of the beams are much higher than anyone can see so I cut plywood to go inside the beam and keep the dust out of the lamps and didn’t have to install the top covers. This leaves the center vertical beams. I built a small “plate” for the center vertical beams to sit on and stained and screwed it to the horizontal beam. The vertical beam then is installed and a cap/ cover is screwed in on one side to cover the opening. This was a bit tricky, because they need to be perfectly straight up and down, but also need to match each other, cover the hole in the top and be centered perfectly. I talked to Jeff at again and these are toe-nailed in at the top and bottom in to the main center beam and the horizontal beam. The caps took the stain a bit different (and darker) then the rest of the beam so it took some work to get them to match and of course, more caulk for the seams. Then I used more of the ubiquitous calk to cover the screw heads that were counter sunk.

Last step was a re-install of the ceiling fan, my goodness, it has been so long I don’t recall even how it goes together….. Then a dimmer was added because the lights were a bit too bright in the beams, then some paint touch up around the beams, straps, and caulking (blue tape works marvels here.)

We had planned to add more angular small support struts in the trusses, but it did not look as good visually so we decided to just keep the simpler single beam in the center. We liked the esthetics and could see more through them from the top floor.
Finished truss

Ta-Da! Put the ladder away and lay on the floor and stare at these beauties….. As luck would have it, the first time I went upstairs I spotted a paper towel I had left …on top of the ceiling fan…..! Time to get that ladder out again!

Thanks for my wife Cyndi’s help and patience, all of Jeff’s help and encouragement from and my friends and family. Hope my experience helps others.
Ta-Da!  Indeed Kevin.  You did an amazing job.  The trusses look fantastic.  I’m sure your Dad would be very proud.  Kudos to you and Cyndi.  Enjoy your beautiful cabin.
-      Jeff

Kevin’s Material list:

1 @ BE-5812 Raised Grain Beam – 7 7/8” x 11 ½” x 14’ – Unfinished [Ridge Beam]

3 @ DS-5812 Straps

2 @ BE-5810 Raised Grain Beams – 7 ¼” x 9 1/8” x 20’ – Unfinished [Rafter Beams]

2 @ BE-4811 Raised Grain 4-sided Beams – 7 ¼” x 10 7/8” x 20’ – Unfinished [Collar Tie Beams]

1 @ BE-4066 Raised Grain 4-sided Beams – 5 ½” x 5 3/8” x 20’ – Unfinished [Vertical Knee Braces]