Timber Connector Plates

Hamill Creek   |   Dec 20, 2020

In timber frame construction, much is made about the species of wood used, whether the wood is locally sourced, the drying method and construction technique. Of equal importance in creating a beautiful and long-lasting timber home is how you connect those beautiful timbers together. Whether it’s a contemporary residence with timber frame metal connectors that contrast with the natural wood, or a classic wood structure with post and beam connector plates, these timber connectors, typically used on trusses, bring an added elegance to the design as well as structural integrity. In timber frame construction, the joinery is just as important as the wood, as much of it will be visible and will form part of the overall aesthetics.

Learn about timber connector plates and timber frame metal brackets, which are both used to add strength and beauty to the timber frame home.

What Are Truss Connector Plates?

A truss connector plate, also known as a gang plate or nail plate, is a metal plate of a light gauge that connect timber trusses. The teeth on one side of the plate hold the wood securely to the plate and to each other. A roller or hydraulic press can be used to press the plate to the wood. The metal plate with its closely spaced teeth provides a strong connection and keeps the wood from splitting. Truss connector plates come in different widths, lengths and gauges.  

Connections using steel connector plates include the following:

  • Bottom chord with king post and truss webs
  • Timber rafter peak with steel plates
  • Rafter with web connector plate
  • Truss seat with steel connectors and clips
  • Rafter seat with steel plates and hangers
  • Bottom chord connection with timber rafter

Whether your timber home is basic and traditional or bold and contemporary, steel connector plates can be custom made to accommodate your design. If you’re building with classic post and beam, connector plates can enhance the vintage design. A timber construction profession will have the necessary engineering expertise to know the best type of joinery and timber connectors to use for the greatest structural integrity.

What Are Timber Brackets?

Timber frame metal brackets, which come in many different shapes and sizes and for different wood joinery purposes, are steel plates with holes cut out for bolts and lock nuts. Like the truss connector plates, they’re often painted black for a stark, attractive contrast with the wood beams. Timber brackets can be structural and decorative simultaneously. They’re either pre-formed for a specific use or custom made for special installations, and can be unfinished, powder coated or weathered, according to the builder’s needs.

Some typical uses include:

  • Truss plates
  • Post anchor brackets
  • Beam hangers
  • Joist hangers

You may also hear the term “heavy timber brackets,” which are made from various wood species and used for load bearing with eaves, posts and beams, walls, porches and balconies. In addition to being practical, they are also decorative.

How Are Connector Plates Used in Timber Construction?

Steel timber connector plates have both utilitarian and design characteristics. The use of steel connector plates in timber construction allows for heavy timber beams to span considerable distances. The steel plates are bolted onto the wood and they can support an exceptionally large structural load and give the entire structure added integrity and strength. They’re often painted black, providing a stark contrast to the light wood and lending an industrial feel to the structure. Connector plates give timber frame buildings the appearance of old mill buildings and factories.

The Engineering Expertise of Hamill Creek Timber Homes

At Hamill Creek, we have more than three decades of experience in timber home construction. From sustainable, locally sourced timber and careful drying to advanced timber frame engineering techniques like CNC technology, our timber homes are designed for maximum strength and longevity, in addition to lasting beauty.

We work with our clients and their design ideas and advise every step of the way to ensure that your timber frame home is built with your location in mind, and to your exact specifications. Contact us for a free consultation today.   

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