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American Forest & Paper Association / American Wood Council

APA - The Engineered Wood Association

Wood Truss Council of America
Canadian Wood Council

The Wood Connection Session

A F & P A

Copyright 2001, 2007 American Forest & Paper Association Inc., APA - The Engineered Wood Association, Inc., Wood Truss Council of America Inc., Canadian Wood Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

For many building designers, designing sound wood connections can be a

daunting task. Yet connections are the most critical item to tend to in any
structure and require a good understanding if one is to develop sound,
aesthetic, cost-competitive solutions.
It should be emphasized that slides and information provided in this program
are proprietary in nature and that if, for instance, someone is using an I-joist
manufactured by Manufacturer A, they can not use the literature for
installation or for sizing that material as published by Manufacturer B.

Copyright 2001, 2007 American Forest & Paper Association Inc., APA - The Engineered Wood Association,
Inc., Wood Truss Council of America Inc., Canadian Wood Council, Inc. All rights reserved. For permission
to reprint contact AF&PA at 1-800 AWC-AFPA.

Copyright of Materials
This presentation is protected by US and International copyright
laws. Reproduction, distribution, display and use of the
presentation without written permission of the American Forest &
Paper Association / American Wood Council, is prohibited.
Copyright 2001, 2007 American Forest & Paper
Association Inc., APA - The Engineered Wood Association,
Inc., Wood Truss Council of America Inc., Canadian Wood
Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

DES110: Learning Outcomes

By the end of this eCourse, you will be:

1. Familiar with current wood connection design
philosophy, behavior, and serviceability issues
2. Familiar with design techniques for small and
large wood members, panel products, and wood
3. Familiar with dowel-type and specialized
components, and adhesives
4. Briefly introduced to connection design software

This eCourse presents current wood connection design philosophy, behavior,

serviceability issues, and connection design techniques for small and large wood
members, panel products, and wood assemblies, using dowel-type and specialized
components. Glued connections will also be discussed along with a brief
introduction to connection design software.


wood connection design philosophy

connection behavior
serviceability issues
connection hardware and fastening systems
glues and adhesive-based connections
connection techniques
design software
where to get more information

This seminar presents current wood connection design philosophy, behavior,

serviceability issues, and connection design techniques for small and large
members, panel products, and wood assemblies, using dowel-type and
specialized components. Glued connections will also be discussed along
with a brief introduction to connection design software.
Lets begin with a few basic ideas on wood-connection behavior.


wood connection design philosophy

connection behavior
serviceability issues
connection hardware and fastening systems
glues and adhesive-based connections
connection techniques
design software
where to get more information

This seminar presents current wood connection design philosophy, behavior,

serviceability issues, and connection design techniques for small and large
members, panel products, and wood assemblies, using dowel-type and
specialized components. Glued connections will also be discussed along
with a brief introduction to connection design software.
Lets begin with a few basic ideas on wood-connection behavior.

Connecting Wood
wood likes compression parallel to grain
makes connecting wood very easy

The first fact is that wood likes load applied as compression parallel to the
grain. This is the strongest mode of wood. Structural designs that capitalize
on this idea are very economical, attractive, consistent with woods heritage the tree in the forest. Moreover, compression connections in wood are very
easy to design and detail.

Connecting Wood
wood and compression
perpendicular to grain
compare wood cells to a
bundle of straws
bundle crushes under
perpendicular load

Heres a simple illustration of this. Lets model the cellular nature of wood
with a group of straws. When compression is applied, the straw bundle is
strong and connecting the ends is very simple. Applying tension also
develops considerable tensile strength in the straw bundle, but hanging onto
the ends becomes more of a challenge in designing a suitable connection.
If load is applied perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the straws, the
straws crush because of the much weaker radial alignment orientation of the
cellular walls. This illustrates the anisotropic nature of wood - different
strength properties in three different directions: longitudinal (strong),
tangential (weaker), and radial (weakest).

Connecting Wood
the Hankinson Formula
used to resolve wood bearing strength at any
angle to grain

Z =


P sin 2 + Q cos 2

Many connections rely on the bearing resistance properties of the wood for
strength. As we have seen, wood has different strength properties parallel
and perpendicular to the grain. The shape of the shaded ellipse in the
sketch relates to the strength magnitude in the wood as a result of an
applied force. The wood resistance Z at any angle to the grain can be
computed using the Hankinson Formula shown here, where P is the wood
bearing strength in compression parallel to the grain, and Q is the
compliment strength perpendicular to the grain.

Connecting Wood
wood bearing strength

sawn wood
structural composite (SCL)

Wood products have different strength values and relative perpendicular to

parallel bearing strength ratios. This partial list is ordered from basic to
highest strength in bearing. This may become important if a design is
connection constrained - switching to a product with higher wood bearing
strength may yield a more satisfactory solution.


Connecting Wood
wood likes to take on load spread over its

The second idea about wood connections is that wood likes to see load
spread out. Concentrated load should be avoided as it could easily exceed
the bearing capabilities of the wood. Spreading the load out also builds in a
degree of redundancy.


Connecting Wood
butwait a minute...

Heres an interesting example of a connection found in the Library of the

Forintek Canada Corp Laboratory, Vancouver, BC. The column pairs are
made of 8x18 x 60 ft PSL and feature a fan of PSL members loaded in
compression. The fan meets at one bolt, or so it seems...


Connecting Wood
looks can be deceiving...

What may seem like a violation of the second idea, is actually resolved with
a clever combination of hidden steel plates and timber rivets which serve to
spread out the load transferred through the very large bolt. The plates and
rivets cannot be noticed by the observer below.


Connecting Wood
wood and tension perpendicular to grain
the evil of wood connections
large diameter fasteners
hanging loads

The third idea is woods weakest link: tension perpendicular to the grain.
Tension-perp often leads to sudden catastrophic failures and should be
avoided at all costs. Awareness of how the wood is being loaded is all that
is needed to avoid this issue. Large diameter connectors can also initiate
this weak strength mode.


Notching of Sawn Lumber

Not recommended

outer third of span only

avoid tension edge




Another tension-perp initiator are notches because of the stress raisers at

the internal corners. Notches can be problematic if not addressed properly.
And, it is important to understand that there are different notching
recommendations depending on the material, i.e. sawn lumber, glulam and




Heres a case in point. Notching as shown can lead to a combination of

tension perpendicular to grain and horizontal shear stresses resulting in the
horizontal split shown. The better solution is not to notch at all - but, provide
full bearing under the end of the section.


Tension Perpendicular to Grain

These are no-nos!

Loading wood members perpendicular to the grain without sufficient
compression wood may also initiate splits to form in the red-shaded zones
shown here. There are better alternatives to these configurations.


Hanger to Beam
Lower half of beam
may cause splits
not recommended


Heres a problem example...


Hanger to Beam
Upper half of beam
Full wrap sling option

extended plates puts

wood in compression
when loaded


and heres a solution. Sufficient compression wood exists to develop the

full bearing resistance to the hanging load. A better solution would be to
wrap a sling over the top of the beam placing the top of the beam in
compression, rather than some interior portion of it.


Beam to Concrete
Notched Beam Bearing
may cause splitting
not recommended


another common problem...


Beam to Concrete
Notched Bearing Wall
alternate to beam notch

with a better solution to avoid splits from stress raisers.


Beam to Concrete
Sloped Beam

not fully supported

may split
exposes end grain
not recommended


Sloped beams at partial end bearing often initiate end splitting.


Beam to Concrete
Sloped Beam
notched concrete wall
alternate to beam notch

Providing full end bearing will prevent splits from developing.


Connecting Wood
wood, like other hygroscopic materials,
moves in varying environments

A fourth idea is that wood moves in response to varying environmental

conditions just like other building materials. The main driver for wood is
moisture. Allowances must be made to accommodate this movement,
particularly in connections. More later.


Connecting Wood
fastener selection is key to connection
ductility, strength, performance

The fifth idea is in selecting connectors properly to do the job. Connecting

wood products can be done directly with fastening systems, or in
combination with stock or custom-made hardware. Connections typically
test the designers skill to arrive at safe aesthetic solution. Choice of
connector/system is critical to the connections ductility, strength, and
performance in service.


Connecting Wood
mechanical fasteners
keep em small
use lots of them
issue is scale of fastener relative to wood member

A key point in connector choice is scale relative to the wood product being
connected. Remember that wood likes to see load spread out; so, lots of
fasteners is a good idea. Often, this will automatically impose that the
fastener be small. More on this, later...


Connecting Wood
Quick point summary

wood likes compression parallel to grain

wood likes to take on load spread over its surface
wood and tension perpendicular to grain is a no-no
wood, like other materials, moves in varying
fastener selection is key to connection ductility,
strength, performance
keep em small; use lots of them

Heres a quick summary of main ideas in connection design to keep in the

back of your mind. This list will often lead you to designing a safe appealing



wood connection design philosophy

connection behavior
serviceability issues
connection hardware and fastening systems
glues and adhesive-based connections
connection techniques
design software
where to get more information

This topic can get incredibly complex and protracted because of the shear
variety of wood connectors and techniques in the market. Some of these
well cover later, but for now well just look at important basics.


Connection Behavior


high strength, poor ductility

good strength, good ductility

desirable to have
good balance of
strength and
ductility for overall

low strength, good ductility

Strength and ductilityall you need for good solid connections. Strength
behavior is understood for many connections, but ductility is more subtle and
sometimes difficult to assess. Good ductility assures warning and structural
resiliency to lateral loads such as seismic or wind.



wood connection design philosophy

connection behavior
serviceability issues
connection hardware and fastening systems
glues and adhesive-based connections
connection techniques
design software
where to get more information

Incumbent with good connection structural behavior is performance in



Connection Serviceability
humidity and moisture
ambient conditions
contact with cementitious materials

In-service performance implies some structure : ambient environment

interaction. Two major drivers to consider are temperature and humidity /


Connection Serviceability
humidity and moisture
ambient conditions
contact with cementitious materials

Day-to-day temperature change doesnt play much of a role to disrupt a

connections life - however, extreme change in short periods of time can,
especially if there is a lot of metal hardware in the connection. Metal and
wood have very different thermal expansion coefficients, and this difference
can cause some grief if not taken into account for extreme conditions.
Moreover, wood and metal respond very differently to moisture gain/loss
which can also lead to interesting behavior.


Connection Serviceability
ambient conditions
and wood EMC

Ambient conditions drive the equilibrium moisture content (EMC) of the

wood. The map taken from the USDA Wood Handbook shows EMC for
wood in various parts of the country. The table also from the same source
shows the variation by month of EMC for wood exposed to the outdoors for
various locations in the country. From the table, more humid climates
display less EWC variation than dry climates (see Montana for example).
Changes in EMC translate into issues than must be accommodated, such as
dimensional change.


Connection Serviceability
wood EMC at installation is important

To assure connection stability, it is important to fasten the materials during

construction at the EMC they will have in service. This table gives some
guidance on the typical installation EMCs to target for good practice and
minimal problems down the road.


Connection Serviceability

What kind of moisture issues are we talking about? Dimensional change.

Wood is very sensitive to moisture change, and alters its cross-section
dimensions in response to the gain/loss of moisture in the wood cell walls.
Cross-section shrinkage can loosen bolted connections, or increase
instability in hangers. Swelling can deform connection hardware and cause
other geometric problems. This is why small ambient variation in humidity is
desirable - otherwise it needs to be accommodated.


Connection Serviceability
Issue: direct water ingress
water is absorbed most quickly through
wood end grain

No end caps or flashing

Great looking cantilevers? Wood takes up moisture fastest through the end
grain, and also dries out the quickest there. It doesnt take many cycles of
this to create the end splits that are evident in these glulams. And these are
located in Palm Springs, CA, a relatively dry environment. What could you
have done?


Connection Serviceability
Issue: direct water ingress
re-direct the water flow
around the connection

end caps and flashing

Protect the ends - through cap flashings, sill flashings, to direct water around
the connection, away from the ends of the wood members. And, be sure to
provide an air space between the flashing/end caps and the wood members.


Connection Serviceability
Issue: direct water ingress
or, let water out if it gets

Moisture trap No weep vents

If water does get in - let it out - and let the end section breathe. Trapped
moisture quickly leads to fungal growth and decay under the right conditions.
Include weeps and vents in shoe-type connection hardware to facilitate the
venting. This example is in Tucson, AZ, another relatively dry environment.


1997 and 2001 NDS Provisions

Wet Service Factor, CM for connection Z values

19% MC
fabrication MC
in-service MC

drift pins
drift bolts
lag screws
wood screws





0.4 Lateral Load

1.0 Withdrawal Load (lag & wood screws only)

Connection strength also varies with wood EMC, and the NDS has
provisions to this effect, the Wet Service Factor CM that affects connection Z
values. Two conditions of EMC at fabrication and in-service are important:
<19% and >19%. The latter condition includes both continuous or
occasional exposure at moisture levels greater than 19%. The designer
must assess the environmental situation to see which occurs when.
At MC levels above 19%, wood is more elastic, and wood strength properties
reduce somewhat. When wood connections are fabricated using wood with
high MCs over 19%, and MC levels are expected to drop to final values
below 19% in service, considerable shrinkage takes place around the
fasteners, and grouped fasteners are especially vulnerable in initiating
tension perp failures; hence the low value of CM = 0.4. A design penalty?
Perhaps. But there is a workaround...


1997 and 2001 NDS Provisions

Wet Service Factor, CM for connection Z values
CM = 1.0 if:


1 fastener

19% MC
fabrication MC
in-service MC

2+ fasteners


0.4 Lateral Load


split splice

The NDS has a detailing provision for the 0.4 value on bolt and lag screw
connections that can provide full fastener capacity (CM = 1.0).
- one fastener only, or
- two or more fasteners placed in a single row parallel to grain, or
- use fasteners placed in two or more rows parallel to grain with
separate splice plates for each row.
Minimum distances between fasteners, and fasteners and edges still need to
be maintained. This detailing allows the wood to change shape across the
grain on drying without being hung up on the fasteners - the fasteners can
move with the wood.


Beam to Column
Full-depth side plates
may cause splitting
wood shrinkage

Full-depth side plates.

It is sometimes easier to fabricate connections for deep beams from large
steel plates rather than having to keep track of more pieces. Lack of
attention to woods dimensional changes as it breathes may lead to splits.
Full-depth side plates may appear to be a good connection option.
Unfortunately, the side plates will remain fastened while the wood shrinks
over the first heating season. Since it is restrained by the side plates, the


Beam to Column
Smaller side plates
transmit force
allow wood movement

As an alternative, smaller plates will transmit forces, but they do not restrain
the wood from its natural movements.


Beam to Column
tension perp

Hanger to side of beam

See full-depth side plates discussion.
Deep beam hangers that have fasteners installed in the side plates toward
the top of the supported beam may promote splits at the fastener group
should the wood member shrink and lift from the bottom of the beam hanger
because of the support provided by the fastener group. THIS DETAIL IS


Beam to Wall
bolts near bottom
minimizes effect of

Slotted hardware

Alternate to previous detail. Slotted hardware permits dimensional change in

the wood without restriction.


Beam to Beam

Beam hangers
fasteners in top of
supported beam
wood shrinkage
may split
not recommended

Same problem just discussed.


Beam to Beam
Beam hangers
fasteners in bottom of
supported beam
wood shrinkage allowed
prevents lateral movement

with a solution. Note that the compression edge of the beam is still
laterally supported but no bolt has been used at the top.


Beam to Beam
Face mounted
fastener penetration
avoid interference
nails or rivets

Face-mounted hangers are commonly used in beam to beam connections.

In a cross junction special attention is required to fastener penetration
length into the carrying beam (to avoid interference from other side).


Beam to Beam
Weld bracket
bucket -style
dapped support beam

Bucket-style welded bracket at a cross junction. The top of the support

beam is sometimes dapped to accommodate the thickness of the steel. If
this occurs on a beam cantilevered over a support, the top will be in tension
and dapping is not recommended.


Beam to Beam
Deep members

through bolted
shear plates
clip angles resist rotation
allow shrink / swell

Deep members may be supported by fairly shallow hangers in this case,

through-bolted with shear plates. Clip angles are used to prevent rotation of
the top of the suspended beam. Note that the clip angles are not connected
to the suspended beam doing so would restrain a deep beam from its
natural across-the-grain shrinking and swelling cycles and would lead to


Beam to Beam
kerf must accommodate
steel and weld
dowel hole plugged

Concealed connections. The suspended beam may be dapped on the

bottom for a flush connection. The pin may be slightly narrower than the
suspended beam, permitting plugging of the holes after the pin is installed.
Note that the kerf in the suspended beam must accommodate not only the
width of the steel plate, but also the increased width at the fillet welds.
The insulating detail symbol here is used to designate a connection that is
applicable in Heavy Timber fire-resistive designs. Burying the metal
underneath the insulative layer of the wood prevents the metal from
overheating into a plastic state during a fire event. See AF&PAs TR10 for
details (free download).


Connection Serviceability
humidity and moisture
ambient conditions
contact with cementitious materials

Another moisture generator is cementious materials. These materials harbor

moisture within their material matrix and transfer it to other materials in
contact. Wood should always be separated from these types of materials so
that it does not wick up moisture that could lead to early decay.


Beam to Concrete
Beam on Shelf
prevent contact with
provide lateral resistance
and uplift

Concrete is porous and "wicks" moisture. Good detailing using separators

permits wood to be in direct contact with concrete.
Beam on shelf in wall. The bearing plate distributes load and keeps the
beam from direct contact with the concrete. Steel angles provide uplift
resistance and can also provide some lateral resistance. The end of the
beam should not be in direct contact with the concrete.


Beam to Concrete
Beam on Wall
bearing plate under beam
prevent contact with
provide lateral and uplift

Similar to previous detail with steel bearing plate only under the beam.


Beam to Concrete
Beam on Wall
prevent contact with
provide lateral resistance
and uplift
slotted to allow
longitudinal movement
typical for sloped beam

Similar to previous detail with slotted holes to accommodate slight lateral

movement of the beam under load. This detail is more commonly used
when the beam is sloped, rather than flat.


Beam to Masonry

Need 1/2 air gap between

wood and masonry
Same provisions for concrete, must be made for masonry.


Beam to Masonry
bearing plate under beam
prevent contact with
masonry by maintaining
1/2 space at end of beam

Here is an example of a good solution for a sloped beam bearing



Column to Base
no weep holes in closed
moisture entrapped
decay can result

Column to Base Connections

Since this is the bottom of the structure, it is conceivable that moisture from
some source might run down the column. Experience has shown that base
plate details in which a steel shoe is present can collect moisture that leads
to decay in the column. Bucket-style hardware also causes a lot of grief for
wood connections if they are not properly vented or drained to let moisture
and water escape.


Column to Base
Embedded bracket
bearing plate

Bracket carries uplift and gravity load while separating the wood from
moisture or cementitious materials.


Column to Base
Bearing plate
anchor bolts in bearing
slotted column end

An alternate formcolumn bottom is slotted to allow space for anchor bolt



Column to Base
Angle brackets
anchor bolts in brackets

A variant with external anchorage.


Column to Base
Simple steel dowel
bearing plate
shear transfer

Simple steel dowel for shear transfer, with a bearing plate (separator) added.


Column to Base

Wheres the plate?

nuf said. And, by the way, the designer detailed a loose steel plate but
the contractor felt a grout would work just as well. Unfortunately, not here.


Hidden Column Base

Floor slab poured over
will cause decay
not recommended

Hidden column base

It is sometimes preferable architecturally to conceal the connection at the
base of the column. In any case it is crucial to detail this connection to
minimize decay potential.
This detail is similar to other details already seen, but with floor slab poured
over the top of the connection. THIS WILL CAUSE DECAY AND IS NOT A


Column to Base
Floor slab poured below

Heres an alternate that helps keep the wood safe from moisture intrusion.


Arch Base to Support

For very long spans or other cases such as arches where large rotations
must be accommodated, a true hinge connection may be required. And be
sure the base connection can drain. These have a closed shoe. Decay
occurred as shown in next slides. This project is located in Tuscon, AZ a
very dry climate. No locale is immune.


Arch Base to Support

long spans
large rotation
weep slot

If bucket, or shoe -type solutions are proposed, the hardware must permit
free breathing and drainage of the wood, ...


Arch Base to Support

no weep slots
moisture trap

otherwise you get this: early decay of the wood.


Arch Base to Support

end grain sitting in puddle
moisture uptake

One might think that this solution works, however allowing the wood to
contact standing water is not encouraging to its welfare.


Arch Base to Support

The better solution is to slope the bearing surface to discourage the

formation of standing water near the wood (this design actually improves the
flow of reaction forces into the foundation)...


Arch Base to Support

Good connection
avoids tension perp
avoids decay

and use connecting hardware that breaths / drains. Notice the cap
flashing on the beam top edge to discourage rain water from being absorbed
into the top of the wood section, and direct water away from the wood. The
connection base is totally open, the hinge bolts holes close together. This
connection was designed by Tom Williamson.



wood connection design philosophy

connection behavior
serviceability issues
connection hardware and fastening systems
glues and adhesive-based connections
connection techniques
design software
where to get more information

What can we use to connect wood members together? Lets look first at
mechanical approaches.


Mechanical Connectors

Here are some examples of mechanical connections made in variety of

ways: some using only wood, some with hardware, some with fasteners.


Traditional Connectors
the all-wood solution
time tested
extreme efficiencies
available with CNC

If the all-wood connection option appeals to you, there is guidance available

from the Timber Framers Guild web site and others. Modern European
experience has developed this technique to a very high level using
automated CNC milling technology to machine wood joints and pre-drill holes
to very high tolerances for connections. Rapid erection with a perfect field fit
is assured.
This connection area has a huge history and detailing / performance data is
still available in books over 100 years old in many public libraries. Many
techniques and advances were made during the railway building years
(trestles) during the late 1800s.


Traditional Connectors
Wood dowel connection
design technology now

Schmidt, R.J. (2006): Timber Pegs Considerations for Mortise and Tenon
Joint Design, Structure Magazine, March 2006, NCSEA, 13(3):44-47.

Recently, wood dowel connection design technology was published in the

March 2006 issue of Structure Magazine.


Mechanical Connections
Friction or bearing -based
dowel-type fasteners
specialized fasteners
new concealed connectors
mechanical systems

Mechanical connections are primarily either friction or bearing -based,

usually involving some kind of dowel shaped connector with or without
intermediary connection hardware.


Mechanical Connections
Nails and nomenclature
box nail
ring nail
common nail
The simplest of the dowel-connectors is the nail. Unfortunately, there are
many variations of a nail as shown here, with a variety of names, even
variations in the way they are installed. Nail capacities are tabulated for only
some of them, such as box and common nails since these are standardized
to some degree based on shank diameter - the driver of the capacity tables.
Other nail types are not standardized so unless covered by an NER,
capacities are difficult to establish or do not exist.


Nail Types and Designations

New nail capacity tables in 2001 NDS

Same-designation box, common, and sinker nails are NOT necessarily the
same: a 6D common is similar to an 8D box, for example. Shank diameters
differ among same-designation nail types. This table is an excerpt from the
new 2001 NDS nail capacity tables that shows side by side designation
comparisons of common, box and sinker nails based on shank diameter.
What is important in nail capacity determination is nail shank diameter as
seen in the capacity formulae on which the table is based. APA has similar
tables 8.11A and 8.11B in the APA Engineered Wood Handbook. These are
really handy tables for a lot of good reasons.


Fastener Values
Included in U.S. design literature
Fastener Type




Lag Screws


Wood Screws


Nails & Spikes


Split Ring Connectors


Shear Plate Connectors


Drift Bolts & Drift Pins


Metal Plate Connectors


Hangers & Framing Anchors




Design values for connections loaded in single and double shear tabulated in
the NDS Chapters 8, 9, 11 and 12 are based on the fastener bending yield
strengths, Fyb, given in the footnotes of the respective tables. Other fastener
bending yield strengths may be used with the yield mode equations in these
Chapters to calculate design values for the connections involved. However,
bolts, lag screws and wood screws must conform to the applicable
ANSI/ASME Standard referenced for these fasteners in 8.1.1, 9.1.1 and
11.1.1; and nails and spikes must meet the requirements specified in 12.1.2.
Bending yield strength of nails and spikes may be determined in accordance
with ASTM F1575-95 (see Appendix I of the NDS).


Fastener Bending Yield Test

Center-Point Bending Test

Fasteners need to be resistant to static and repetitive bending to be effective

in transferring load. Static fastener capacities are determined from a centerpoint bending yield test....


Yield Limit Equations

Fastener Bending Yield Values

Fastener Type



0.5(Fy +Fu)

Common Wire Nails

130,400 - 213,900 D

that results in the following relationships for bolts and common wire nails.


Yield Limit Equations

4 Modes
6 equations

term Rd

Equations have been developed (now part of the 2001 NDS) for four
possible yield modes that dowel fasteners can take on.


Yield Limit Equations

Reduction Factors, Rd
Fastener Type



Parallel Perpendicular

Mode I



Mode II



Mode IV



Mode I



Mode II



Mode III



Lag Screws

The NDS considers six yield limit equations for dowel connectors. Reduction
terms, appearing in the denominator of the NDS yield equations, vary by
dowel type. To facilitate a general format for the six yield limit equations,
reduction terms have been separated from the yield equations and are
shown here for bolts and lag screws loaded parallel and perpendicular to the


Yield Limit Equations

Reduction Factors, Rd
Wood Screws & Nails
D 0.17"
0.17" < D < 0.25"
D 0.25"

10D + 0.5

.and for wood screws and nails.


Fastener Penetration
Lag Screws, Wood Screws, and Nails
Fastener Type



Lag Screws



Wood Screws



Nails & Spikes



To be effective in holding and to develop its full capacity, fasteners must

achieve a minimum penetration depth into the holding member as indicated
in the table.


Mechanical Connections
Nail installation
correct toe nailing

The NDS provides guidance here:

12.1.3 Nominal design values apply to nailed and spike connections either with or without
bored holes. When a bored hole is desired to prevent splitting of wood, the diameter of the
bored hole shall not exceed 90% of the nail or spike diameter for wood with G > 0.6, nor
75% of the nail or spike diameter for wood with G 0.6.

It is important to understand that toe nails only resist loads in certain

directions and thus are not recommended when the load application can be
from several directions as shown.


Mechanical Connections
Nail installation
overdriving reduces performance

Overdriving fasteners can reduce performance and must be field checked to

assure design intentions are carried through.


Mechanical Connections
Overdriven Nails
APA Recommendations Prescriptive
If < 20% fasteners overdriven by <1/8,
then they may be ignored.
If > 20% fasteners overdriven by >1/8,
then add 1 additional fastener for every 2 overdriven.

Here are APAs prescriptive recommendations on dealing with an overdriven

nail problem with structural panels such as plywood and OSB...


Mechanical Connections
Overdriven Nails
APA Recommendations - Mechanics Based (engineered)
If < 20% fasteners overdriven by <1/8,
then they may be ignored.
re-analyze capacity based on average thickness of panel measured from
the bottom of the nail head.
(5/8 panel with fasteners overdriven by 1/8 = capacity of panel.)
Adjust nailing schedule accordingly.

If you choose to calculate it out, then APAs recommendations are these in

the slide to preserve capacity.


Mechanical Connections
Nail installation
if ya miss em, well.

and if the studs are missed entirely, then Cd is zero (no capacity!) In the
trade, these are commonly referred to as shiners.


Power Driven Fasteners

Four important considerations:
nail nomenclature
thin galvanizing

Power driving fasteners is not new and has its own unique concerns.


Power Driven Fasteners

Nail nomenclature:
There is no control over nail nomenclature!
Manufacturers can and will call fasteners anything
that they want.
8d does not equal 8d!!
(8d box = 8d slightly longer power driven)
NER 272 (not included)

On nails:
There is no standard - name, size, metal, or otherwise. Systems
manufacturers have their own tables, etc. which vary among manufacturers.


Power Driven Fasteners

Power driven fasteners rely on velocity to drive
fasteners and not mass. They do not have the
clamping action that the last swing of a hammer

There is a difference in capacity between hand driven and power driven



Power Driven Fasteners

Thin Galvanizing
power driven fasteners that are galvanized are
thinly coated to prevent rusting in the box. The
protection is scraped off of the fastener during
generally not recommended where long-term
performance against corrosion or staining is desired,
which normally requires thicker coatings.
Anecdotal reports

Power driven fasteners that are "galvanized" are likely to be thinly

coated. Galvanized power driven fasteners can loose their protective coatings
on driving. It's clear that thin plating offers the minimum protection against
corrosion. The result is that wherever corrosion resistance is required, more than
the minimum protection is recommended. In most case this would be hot-dipped or
hot-tumbled galvanized fasteners. Therefore, thinly galvanized fasteners are
generally not recommended where long-term performance against corrosion or
staining is desired, since these fasteners offer minimum protection.


Power Driven Fastener

If the gun is improperly adjusted, overdriven
fasteners can be expected. Adjusting air pressure is
NOT the correct way to prevent over-driven fasteners.
APA White Paper

Proper gun adjustment is CRITICAL. Calibrating for driving into D.Fir., then
using the same gun to fasten sheathing to SPF will result in overdriving the
entire assembly. Gun must be properly calibrated for the wood species
being nailed, and size of fasteners driven.


Mechanical Connections
Fastener corrosion resistance
stainless steel
what should be used?

What about corrosion-resistant fasteners? AF&PA has a policy paper out on

this subject:
WOOD (Revised 8/00)
which breaks down the subject like this...


Mechanical Connections
see American Forest & Paper Association
Policy on Naturally Durable and Preservative-treated Wood (Revised 8/00)

naturally durable and preservative-treated wood

fasteners shall be resistant to corrosion or be protected to resist

treated wood foundations

fasteners shall be as required in AF&PA's The Permanent Wood
Foundation System - Technical Report No. 7.

fire retardant treated wood

fasteners shall be resistant to corrosion or be protected to resist

Fasteners for naturally durable and preservative-treated wood shall be

resistant to corrosion or be protected to resist corrosion. Where sacrificial
coatings are applied to fasteners, a minimum coating thickness capable of
protecting the fastener for the expected service life of the structure shall be
Fasteners of zinc-coated galvanized with sufficient thickness, stainless steel,
silicon bronze, and copper have demonstrated performance to normal
exposures. Fasteners for treated wood foundations shall be as required in
AF&PA's The Permanent Wood Foundation System - Technical Report No.
Fasteners for fire retardant treated wood shall be resistant to corrosion or be
protected to resist corrosion. Where sacrificial coatings are applied to
fasteners, a minimum coating thickness capable of protecting the fastener
for the expected service life of the structure shall be provided.


Mechanical Connections
...sacrificial coatings applied to fasteners
a minimum coating thickness capable of protecting the fastener for
the expected service life of the structure

fasteners of:

zinc-coated galvanized with sufficient thickness,

stainless steel,
silicon bronze, and

have demonstrated performance to normal exposures.


Mechanical Connections
Larger fasteners
group action factor
NDS tables
equation calculation
accounts for load distribution within the connection
tabulated values still exist in the NDS
can calculate your own group factor if outside the tabulated table range

The Group Action Factor provided in the NDS for connections involving large
diameter fasteners often causes a lot of confusion.
Nominal lateral design values for split ring connectors, shear plate
connectors, bolts with D less than or equal to 1, or lag screws in a row are
multiplied by Cg.
There are two ways to determine Cg: tables and calculation.


Mechanical Connections
Cg definitions:
row of fasteners:
2 or more split ring or shear plate connector units
aligned in the direction of load
2 or more bolts of same diameter loaded in direction of
2 or more lag screws of same type and size loaded in
direction of load

Lets first review Cg terms.


Mechanical Connections
What is a row?

Determining numbers of rows can be trickyhere are some diagrams to



Group Action Factor, Cg

Equation method

m(1 m2n )
Cg =
n (1+ REAm )(1+ m) 1+ m


REA = the lessor of

1+ REA

1 m

E s As
or m m
E m Am
E s As

m = u u2 1

u =1+

s 1

2 E m Am E s As

This is the calculation equation for Cg.


Group Action Factor, Cg

Load / slip modulus, (lb/in)
D = diameter of bolt of lag screw (in)
Bolts, lag screws:
wood-to-metal connections
Bolts, lag screws:
wood-to-wood connections
(wood-to-concrete connections)
2 split ring
2 5/8 shear plate
4 split ring
4 shear plate



The calculation depends to a degree on the load-slip relationship between

the fastener and the holding material(s). The NDS tabulates the load-slip
modulus for various installations as shown here. For fasteners into concrete,
wood-to-wood values are used as a reasonably conservative approach.


Group Action Factor, Cg

Equation method Example
Find Cg for two rows of 1 diameter bolts spaced 4 apart in a wood-towood double shear splice connection using 2x12s for main and side
Wood Data

Em := 1400000psi

Es := 1400000psi

A m := 1.5in 11.25in

A s := 2 1.5in 11.25in


= 0.5

A m = 16.875in

Fastener Data

s := 4in

n := 10

D := 1in

Load / Slip

:= 180000




= 1.8 10


Here is an example of a calculation run for Cg. The problem set-up and
material data are featured here.


Group Action Factor, Cg

Equation method Example
Cg equation

u := 1 +

Em A m
2 Es A s

m = 0.808

m := u u 1

u = 1.023

REA = 0.5
Em A m
Es A s
2 n

1 + REA
m ( 1 m )
Cg :=

Cg = 0.669
n 1 + REA mn ( 1 + m) 1 + m2 n 1 m

REA := min Em


, Es


then the equation is run for a Cg of 0.669.


Group Action Factor, Cg

Table method
Am = gross x-sectional area of
main member, in2
As = sum of gross x-sectional
areas of all side members ,

We can use the table method for the same problem since criteria fits the
bounds of the tables in the NDS. If the bounds are exceeded, then
calculation is the only approach.


Group Action Factor, Cg

Table method
As/Am > 1.0, so use Am/As
= 0.5 to enter column 1 of
the table
also, use Am for column 2
according to Note 1
(Am = 16.875 in2)
read across to column for
10 fasteners in a row

Cg = 0.665

TableCg := 0.61 + ( 0.70 0.61)





TableCg = 0.665

The steps here are explained in the slide. The table provides a Cg result of
0.665, consistent with what we calculated.


Group Action Factor

Not applicable here - unit loads act along the
length of the member and loads are not axial
Anchor Bolts and
Washers as required
Bottom Plate

The Group Action Factor does not apply to sill plates because such loads
are not necessarily axial with the plate.


Mechanical Connections
Larger fasteners

Bolted connections are attractive with either hidden or exposed connection

hardware. One consideration often forgotten is to allow erectors enough
room to install and tighten the bolts / nuts, especially in junctions at tight
angles or close proximity to other members.


Mechanical Connections
Larger fasteners
bolts in wood bearing must be no larger than 1 inch diameter!!!

Bolts and other dowel-type fasteners should always be no bigger than 1

diameter. Studies show that dowel diameters larger than 1 have the
capability to initiate high tension-perp stresses on the bolt hole that can
induce splitting of the wood.


Spacing, End, & Edge Distances

Parallel to

Detailing provisions are given diagrammatically in the NDS for grouped

fastener connections. Anything outside of these conditions will result require
a factor calculation for edge distances.
BREAKING NEWS! New information has recently been generated as a
result of research at the US Forest products Lab on connections using
multiple bolts. New failure modes will be added for the designer to check.
Thisinformation will be included in a new Appendix E of the 2001 NDS, and
detailed information will be broadly available shortly. Watch for the
announcement on www.awc.org.


Spacing, End, & Edge Distances

to Grain

This diagram applies for perpendicular to grain loading.


Local Stresses in Fastener Groups

Closely spaced fasteners
brittle failure
lower capacity
wood failure mechanisms need to be
considered in design

Where a fastener group is composed of closely-spaced fasteners loaded

parallel to grain, the capacity of the fastener group may be limited by wood
failure at the net section or tear-out around the fasteners caused by local


Local Stresses in Fastener Groups

Properly spaced
increased ductility
higher capacity
spread out the fasteners!

By increasing the spacing between the fasteners, much higher capacity and
ductility is achieved, even with fewer fasteners!
The 2001 Edition of the National Design Specification (NDS ) for Wood
Construction contains editorially clarified provisions for checking stresses in
members at connections. The following requirements, included in the 2001
NDS, are also applicable to all prior editions of the NDS:
Stresses in Members at Connections - Structural members shall be checked for
load carrying capacity at connections in accordance with all applicable provisions of
the NDS. Local stresses in connections using multiple fasteners shall be checked in
accordance with principles of engineering mechanics.

One method for determining these stresses is provided in Appendix E from

the 2001 NDS, which is also available free from www.awc.org. All referenced
sections and design values used in sample solutions of this Addendum are
based on information in the 2001 NDS.


Local Stresses in Fastener Groups

Appendix E NDS Expressions
Net tension:
= Ft' Anet

Row tear-out:
= ni Fv'tsmin


= Z RT
i =1

Tabulated nominal design values for timber rivet connections in Chapter 13

account for local stress effects and do not require further modification by
procedures outlined in Appendix E. The capacity of connections with
closely-spaced, large diameter bolts has been shown to be limited by
the capacity of the wood surrounding the connection. Connections with
groups of smaller diameter fasteners, such as typical nailed connections in
wood-frame construction, may not be limited by wood capacity.
Appendix E leads the designer through the stress checks for three failure
modes: net tension capacity of the wood through the cross-section, row
tear-out, and...


Local Stresses in Fastener Groups

Appendix E NDS Expressions
Group tear-out


+ Ft' Agroup net

applicable to ALL editions of the NDS

Appendix E available free from www.awc.org

group tear-out.
Modification of fastener placement within a fastener group can be used to
increase row tear-out and group tear-out capacity limited by local stresses
around the fastener group. Increased spacing between fasteners in a row is
one way to increase row tear-out capacity. Increased spacing between rows
of fasteners is one way to increase group tear-out capacity.
Footnote 2 to Table 11.5.1D(2001 NDS) limits the spacing between outer
rows of fasteners paralleling the member on a single splice plate to 5 inches.
This requirement is imposed to limit local stresses resulting from shrinkage
of wood members. When special detailing is used to address
shrinkage,such as the use of slotted holes, the 5 inch limit can be adjusted.
These provisions apply to the 2001 NDS and ALL PRIOR EDITIONS. The
example calculations provided in Appendix E use design values from the
2001 NDS. Appendix E in its entirety is available as a free PDF download
from www.awc.org.


Timber rivet connections have been used in Canada for several decades.
The new NDS design criteria introduced in Chapter 13 of the NDS apply to
joints with steel side plates for either Southern Pine or Western Species
glued laminated timber. The term "timber rivet" was chosen to
accommodate future application to sawn lumber as well.
Provisions of the Specification are applicable only to timber rivets that are
hot-dipped galvanized. Rivets are made with fixed shank cross-section and
head dimensions (Appendix M) and vary only as to length.
Because of the species test results and property values used to develop the
rivet bending and wood capacity equations, use of design values based on
provisions of 13.2.2 should be limited to Douglas
fir-Larch and southern
the p
pine glued laminated timber. The NDS presently limits use of timber rivets to
attachment of steel side plates to glued laminated timber.


Timber Rivet System

timber rivet cross section

Provisions of the Specification are applicable only to timber rivets that are
hot-dipped galvanized. Rivets are made with fixed shank cross-section and
head dimensions (Appendix M) and vary only as to length.


Timber Rivet System

perforated steel plates

Plates also have a fixed hole pattern geometry. Hole sizes are chosen
deliberately to firmly hold and lock the head of the rivet in position,
preventing the rivet from rotating next to the plate, to fully develop a
cantilever action for the rivet shank embedded in the wood.


Timber Rivet System

one or two -sided connection


side plates

Rivet connections can be made from one or both sides of a member.


Timber Rivet System

loading to grain
Load parallel to grain

Load perpendicular to grain














Similar rules apply as before in properly and safely loading the wood.


Timber Rivet System

Load at angle to grain

angle to grain values




Metal side


Angle to grain capacity values are also provided in the NDS.


Timber Rivet System


Timber rivets were invented by Professor Borg Madsen at the University of

British Columbia for use with glulam. They have been popular in Canada for
years because of their high strength, ease of use, and economy. The 1997
NDS referenced the use of the rivet in glulam, and since then the Canadian
design standard CSA O86 has approved the rivet for use in sawn lumber as
well. Timber rivets permit greater load transfer per unit contact area than
most other fasteners thus providing more ductility in the connection.
For more information: http://www.clevelandsteel.com 1-800-251-8351


Specialized Connectors
Shear plates

Shear plates have a long history and are still used, especially for large
section glulam applications. In glulams which can achieve depths up to 84
or more, the scale of shear plates resembles that of nails in a 2x12. Shear
plates sit flush with the wood surface in pre-cut grooves.


Specialized Connectors
Shear plates

Split rings require special tooling of the wood for fit which can be performed
off site for immediate erection on arrival. These were featured in the PSL
frame joints the the Forintek Canada Corp laboratory Library frame shown
here. Their discrete finish provides a very clean-looking connection. Bolt
heads could be countersunk to make the connectors completely disappear.
Shear plates are also suitable for joining wood to dissimilar materials such
as steel or concrete (separator must be used between wood and concrete)
since only 1 shell needs to be installed in the wood.
FERIC Building, PSL column quads, glulam beams, Vancouver Canada
Forintec Canada Corp Building Library, 60 ft PSL columns, PSL beam pairs,
Vancouver Canada
Architect: The Hulbert Group (Rick Hulbert) Vancouver Canada


Specialized Connectors
Shear plates

More examples:
South Surrey Ice Arena erection, 4-hinged counterbalanced PSL truss
frame, near White Rock, BC Canada
Architect: Lubor Trubka


Specialized Connectors
Split rings

Split rings are primarily wood-to-wood connectors requiring special tooling

before sending to the site for erection. Split rings fit into pre-cut grooves in
both wood surfaces being joined. They get their name from a tongue and
groove split in the ring that allows it to deform slightly under load or changing
wood MC conditions ensuring that all contact areas distribute load. In scale,
they are treated much like shear plates, although many have been found in
pin-jointed wood truss applications in buildings dating back to pre-1940.


Specialized Connectors
which is which?

Split rings and shear plates are used with bolts or lag screws to improve
structural efficiency by enlarging the area of wood over which the load is
distributed. The connectors transfer shear either between the faces of two
timber members or between a timber and steel plate. Bolts or lag screws
need to be properly sized since they effectively clamp the connection
assembly together. Aesthetically, can you tell from the outside which was
Design values and provisions for timber rivet, split ring, and shear plate
connections appear in the current NDS.
For more information: http://www.clevelandsteel.com 1-800-251-8351


Concealed Connectors
Proprietary Systems

New recent proprietary concealed connection systems, two from Europe and two
from North America, offer new options in structural efficiency and aesthetics, and
gradually designers are discovering these and newer ones as they come to market.
Many of them already carry ICC-ES and/or state/municipal building code approvals.
Designers value connection systems that produce predictable failure modes, and
that fail in the steel components where homogeneity and lower material variability
lead to more accurate strength calculations. When steel failure governs, ductility
can be included in the connection design a preferable quality for structures in
seismic regions.
The cost of these connector types vary and should be considered with the
understanding that they allow more options for using timber, often in situations
where steel may have been, heretofore, the best economic choice. In this sense,
the new connectors provide economy and high reliability at the joint.
To learn more see:
Moses, D.; Malczyk, R. (2004): New Concealed Connectors Bring More Options for
Timber Structures, Wood Design & Building, Winter 2004/2005, Janam
Publications, Inc., 30:40-41.


Concealed Connectors
SFS Intec

SFS intec manufactures two types of connectors for heavy timber construction a selftapping tight-fit dowel for steel-wood-steel connections and a long, threaded screw for woodwood connections.
The self-tapping dowel, or WS-T connector, has a built-in drill bit at the tip of the dowel can
cal drill through up to three 1/8-in. steel plates in addition to the timber member. The dowel
portion of the connector is smooth and is the same diameter as the drill bit, resulting in a
tight-fit connection. This means no slipping of the connection compared to standard bolts
which have oversized holes. As such, these qualify as tight-fit pins (friction pins), per
European standards. There is a limit on 4 pins per row, but you can have many rows.
Apparently, the pins are small enough that European designers generally neglect the wood
shrinkage problem. Canadian designers still design to limit the 8" (or so) maximum array
width across a member. Also, since friction pins are normally used in glulam connections, so
kiln-dried material from glulam factory to in-service minimizes the potential for cross-grain
movement due to changing moisture or humidity conditions.
The WS-T is approximately -in. diameter and available in lengths up to 9 in. long. When
massed in large groups, it produces high strength connections for hangers, trusses, and
other applications.
The screw connector, known as WT-T, has various diameters and lengths up to 12 in. It is
threaded over its full length except for about 1-in. in the middle that helps to pull the two
wooden members together as the screw is tightened. The result is a strong, easy to install
For more information: http://www.sfsintecusa.com SFS intec, Inc.
Wyomissing, PA tel: 800-234-4533 (head office)
Waterdown, ON Canada tel: 905-847-5400


Concealed Connectors
BVD Connector

The BVD connector consists of a shaped steel shaft that is inserted into the
end of the timber member leaving a flush-mounted threaded connection
exposed. The shaft is criss-crossed by tight-fit steel pins or dowels that form
an interlock between the shaft and the timber. A non-shrink group fills the
voids between the steel and the timber.
The very solid connection forces the failure mode into the steel components
so that the full tensile capacity of the timber can be reached unlike other
conventional systems. BVD connectors can be designed for the allowable
tensile strengths as high as 65 kips. Such tensile resistance means that true
moment connections can be developed.
For more information: email: kmwright1@msn.com 1-541-683-5878


Concealed Connectors

The Stavebolt connector is used in post and beam construction in both

sawn and round log applications. Testing has shown the connector to be
five to ten times stronger than pinned mortise and tenon connections, with
high ductility to resist wind and seismic loads. The Stavebolt is intended to
carry only tensile loads parallel to its axis, and not shear load perpendicular
to its axis. Thus, in beam-to-column connections, the beam should rest on a
The connector consist of of 2-in. (approx) diameter steel pipe that has a
receiving thread at one end for a -in. diameter tie bolt that allows for
fastening of one timber to another. Two holes at the other end permit the
insertion of stitch bolts that lock the pipe into the end of the receiving
member. Split rings or shear plates may be added to improve joint strength
if necessary.
For more information:
http://www.loghelp.com/fastener.html#anchor_stavebolt 1-800-359-6614


Concealed Connectors

Timberlinx consists of a hollow steel connection tube inserted equal distance

in both members of the joint and linked by two expanding cross pins that fit
through 1-1/8 in. diameter holes in the connecting tube. Installation requires
only an electric drill and jig, and appears similar to a mortise and tenon joint
when plugged with a wood dowel. Engineering tests have shown it to be
significantly stringer that the traditional mortise and tenon. The connection
can also be tightened in service by removing the dowel plugs and tightening
the cross pins with an Allen key.
The hollow steel connection tube comes in various lengths, and can be
modified to handle applications such as timber column anchorage to
concrete, or as angled clusters for conical roof apexes. Shear resistance
can be boosted by incorporating standard split ring connectors.
For more information: http://www.timberlinx.com 1-877-900-3111



wood connection design philosophy

connection behavior
serviceability issues
connection hardware and fastening systems
glues and adhesive-based connections
connection techniques
design software
where to get more information

Glues can be a sticky subjectbut they are used all the time to bond wood
together either into manufactured components, or between components of
an assembly. Glues and adhesives are sometimes broadly classed as bond
-based connectors.


Glued Connections
Bond -based connectors
mobilizes shear resistance at the bond line
construct composite systems which economize
material usage
building components can be pre-assembled
increases rigidity of the joint and enables full
utilization of material strengths

Bond -based connectors mobilize shear resistance at the bond line, thus
allowing a number of productive things to happen...


Glued Connections
Bond -based connectors
some adhesives are sensitive to changing
environmental conditions (temperature and
epoxies lose strength above 150 deg F
some adhesives are not moisture resistant

adhesives must be carefully chosen to suit

expected conditions
glued joints are probably the most unpredictable
Care must be exercised in selection the right adhesive for the task at hand.
Moisture exposure considerations often play a significant role. In
performance, glued joint capacities are very hard to predict. Failure modes
are often brittle and sudden.


Glued Connections
Adhesives classed based on application:
manufactured components
field construction
for complete discussion on adhesives and uses, see:
Wood Engineering and Construction Handbook, McGrawHill, Chapter 12.

Chapter 12 of the Wood Engineering and Construction Handbook on

Adhesives written by R. Richard Avent, PhD, PE provides an excellent
description of wood adhesives and their application.


Glued Connections
gluing is not
recommended for
bonding siding or
roof sheathing to
APA glued floor

In typical building construction, gluing is often done of floor assemblies, but

never of wall or roof assemblies for ductility reasons. Floor assemblies
benefit from development of T-beam action between the subfloor sheathing
and the joists to increase floor stiffness and reduce squeaks among
components. APA provides a full description of this in the APA Design /
Construction Guide - Residential & Commercial.



wood connection design philosophy

connection behavior
serviceability issues
connection hardware and fastening systems
glues and adhesive-based connections
connection techniques
design software
where to get more information

Here is some how-to on a variety of wood connection subjects...


Connection Techniques
must evaluate:

forces present
environmental effects
material effects

Whenever we talk connection design, we must consider these four items,

regardless of the fastening device chosen.


Connection Techniques
small linear members
nails, screws
truss plates

Design metal plate

connections using the
latest edition of

Weve already seen nails. The truss plate is a device that can also be used
very effectively for connecting small dimension linear members. ANSI/TPI 1
is the reference design standard for truss plate connections.


Connection Techniques
large linear members (heavy timber)

lag screws
specialty connectors

with or without intermediate hardware

Larger size members mean larger size connectors capable of transferring

higher loads.


Connection Techniques
wood bolts in all-wood structure

Here is a modern wood trestle bridge connected completely with only wood
bolts. The wood bolts were actually a laminated beech product. This was
constructed by the US Air Force for a test stand in Albuquerque NM.


Connection Techniques
steel bolts in columns

Hidden kerf plates

Bolts can be used to build-up members such as these columns - an excellent

example of wood working in compression. Note that the base and branch
connections to the ceiling members are very simple. Hidden kerf plates at
the base also add a measure of fire resistance to the connection in that the
steel plates are buried in the wood which acts as an insulator.
Countersinking and plugging (not shown here) has the same additional


Connection Techniques
wood bolts in beam to column (hidden)

another discrete hidden connection. Again, these are partially concealed

steel bolts.


Connection Techniques
wood bolts in heavy trusses

On the other hand, heavy truss joints are expressed through these bolted
plate steel connections.


Connection Techniques
large linear members (heavy timber)
proprietary solutions: well-suited to many
standard solid sawn and EWP applications
consult manufacturers literature

Heavy timber design often brings on the use of proprietary and customfabricated hardware in the connection.


Pre-engineered Connectors
Post to Beam
Beam to Beam

Pre-engineered connectors are manufactured by a number of component

manufacturers that have exhaustive catalogs of their products that suit a
variety of innovative applications. Many components are fabricated of
formed sheet metal, increasing in thickness as loads increase. Specific
nailing and fastening requirements are given and must be rigorously followed
in order to develop full connection capacity. NER documents often underlie
the component capacities found in the catalogs.


Pre-engineered Connectors
Joist to Beam (Hanger)

Joist hangers are very useful products and save considerable connection
construction time.


Pre-engineered Connectors
I-joist web stiffeners

web stiffeners

none here

With I-joists especially, many hanger products require web stiffener blocks to
prevent web buckling and joint rotation in the hanger (lateral torsional


Pre-engineered Connectors
Panelized roof connectors

So discrete, pre-engineered connectors were used in this panelized roof



Pre-engineered Connectors
Truss hardware

Here are some well thought-out and design solutions using combinations of
pre-engineered connectors, truss plates, and bolt patterns to secure trusses.


Pre-engineered Connectors
Field creativity

and one with some field creativity!


Pre-engineered Connectors
Watch for those loose or popped-off plates!

Loose or missing truss plates usually result from rough transportation to or

handling at the job site. Plates must be snug and installed correctly in order
to properly transfer load. Consult the truss manufacturer should deficiencies
be discovered.


Connection Techniques
large linear members (heavy timber)
proprietary solutions: well suited to many
standard solid sawn and EWP applications
consult manufacturers literature

custom solutions: one-off designs

for guidance, see: Structural Design in Wood,
Stalnaker & Harris, Kluwer Academic Publishers

Heavy timber connections often require one-off innovative connection

solutions to arrive at the sensitive balance between safety, efficiency,
serviceability and aesthetics. It can be the meeting place of the artistic and
technical design professionals and sometimes can test the skills of both of
them in seeking a solution. One-off designs are typically custom-fabricated
to suit the connection. Designing one-off connections is a respected skill
and can be time-consuming. Guidance for new designers is provided in only
a few publications.
There are a few standard connections that frequently arise...


Custom Hardware
Multiple beam connector with slotted holes

The hardware here is as much art as it is function. Slotted holes allow for
wood movement. Design of the hardware would need to conform to the
latest applicable steel standard.


Custom Hardware
Difficult situations made easy

Skewed connections are typical of one-off designs needed. Getting

sufficient room for constructing the connection, installing and tightening
fasteners can be a struggle - and should not be forgotten!


Custom Hardware
A blend of
art and

Here is an example of a well-thought holistic solution.


Arch Base to Support

Welded Shoe

more rigid
little arch rotation
transfers thrust
weep slot

Arch Base to Support

Weve already seen some arch base connections earlier. Arches transmit
thrust into the supporting structure. The foundation may be designed to
resist this thrust (thrust blocks already seen) or tie rods may be used. The
base detail should be designed to accommodate the amount of rotation
anticipated in the arch base under various loading conditions. Elastomeric
bearing pads can assist somewhat in distributing stresses. As noted earlier,
the connection should be designed to minimize any perpendicular to grain
stresses during the deformation of the structure under load.
This more rigid connection is suitable for spans where arch rotation at the
base is small enough to not require the rotational movement permitted in
detail 25. Note that, although the shoe is boxed a weep slot is provided at
the inside face.


Arch Base to Support

Welded Shoe
transfers thrust
open to prevent moisture

Here, the welded shoe transmits thrust from arch to support. Note that
inside edge of shoe is left open to prevent collection of moisture.


Arch Base to Support

Welded Shoe
steel tie beam
transfers thrust
open to prevent moisture

Arch base is fastened directly to a steel tie beam in a shoe-type connection.


Beam to Column
steel plate in kerf
bolted or pinned

Beam to Column Connections Design Concepts.

All connections in the group must hold a beam in place on top of a column.
This shear transfer is reasonably easy to achieve. Some connections must
also resist some beam uplift. Finally, for cases in which the beam is spliced,
rather than continuous over the column, transfer of forces across the splice
may be required.
Here is a concealed connection in which a steel plate is inserted into a kerf
in both beam and column. Transverse pins or bolts complete the


Beam to Column
Simple steel dowel
shear transfer

Another is a simple steel dowel for shear transfer.


Beam to Column
Custom welded column caps
transfer shear, uplift, and
splice forces
allows different widths and
bearing areas

External options include this custom welded column cap which can be
designed to transfer shear, uplift, and splice forces. Note design variations
to provide sufficient bearing area for each of the beams and differing plate
widths to accommodate differences between the column and the beam


Beam to Column
Beam seat on steel column
very common
transfer shear, uplift, and
lateral loads

Here is a very common connection: beam seat welded to the top of a steel


Beam to Column
Combination steel angle and
bolts and lag screws
transfer shear, uplift, and
splice forces

Combinations of steel angles and straps, bolted and screwed, to transfer



Beam to Column
Continuous column
recess bolt heads, or
slot beam ends

When both beams and columns are continuous and the connection must
remain in-plane, either the beam or the column must be spliced at the
connection. In this detail the column continuity is maintained. Optional
shear plates may be used to transfer higher loads. Note that, unless the bolt
heads are completely recessed into the back of the bracket, the beam end
will likely require slotting. In a building with many bays, it may be difficult to
maintain dimensions in the beam direction when using this connection.


Arch Peak
Steep arch
rod and shear plate

Lets looks at a few solutions at the top of a structure.

Arch Peak Connections
Steep arches connected with a rod and shear plates.


Arch Peak
Steep arch
rod and 2 shear plates

Similar to the previous one, with added shear plate.


Arch Peak
Low-slope arch
shear plate
bolted side plates

Similar to the first one, but for low slope arches. Side plates replace the
threaded rod.


Beam to Beam
Welded Bracket
bucket -style
lower capacity

Beam crossings are often interesting especially crossing beams in plane.

Two example connections of this type were seen earlier. Here is a similar
detail with somewhat lower load capacity.


Beam to Beam
Clip angle
bolts & lag screws
connects cross beam

Layered beam crossings are a little easier to handle. Here clip angles are
used to connect a crossing beam.


Beam to Beam
Clip angle
bolts & lag screws
connect ridge purlin to
sloped member
connect purlin to peak of
arch members

Here is a special detail to connect the ridge purlin to sloped members or to

the beak of arch members.


Beam to Beam
Welded Brackets
through bolts
connect ridge purlin to
sloped member
purlins flush with other

and an in-plane variant of the crossing, with through-bolts.


Beam to Beam
Welded Brackets
nails or rivets
connect ridge purlin to
sloped member
purlins flush with other

and without; using nails or rivets instead (depending on scale).


Beam to Beam
cantilever hinge connector

Gerber-style systems are often efficiently used in commercial timber building

construction. Connecting beams near zero moment points facilitate the use
of simple shear connections using simple hardware.
This slide shows is what we refer to as a panelized roof system. The hinges
are not necessarily at points of zero moment but just at the end of the
cantilevered beams which are designed to balance positive and negative
moments. This is a Simpson hinge connector.


Beam to Beam
cantilever hinge connector with tension tie

Hinge connectors transfer load without the need to slope-cut member ends.
Beams are often dapped top and bottom for a flush fit.


Moment Splice
Steel plates
top / bottom transfer axial
pressure plates transfer
shear plates transfer shear

Moment Splice Design Concepts

Moment splices must transmit axial tension, axial compression, and shear.
They must serve these functions in an area of the structure where structural
movement may be significant thus, they must not introduce cross-grain
forces if they are to function properly.
In the connection shown here, separate pieces of steel each provide a
specific function. Top and bottom plate transfer axial force, pressure plates
transfer direct thrust, and shear plates transmit shear.
This is a situation where the designer should try to place the moment
connection at a point of low moment.


Moment Splice
Steel plates
side plates transfer axial
easier installation
pressure plates transfer
shear plates transfer shear

This version is similar to the previous detail. Connectors on side faces may
be easier to install, but forces are higher because moment arm between
steel straps is less than in the previous details.


Connection Techniques
multi-ply linear members and inter-ply
shear/load transfer

Multi-ply sections usually need some type of connection if the plies are to act
in composite. This is particularly important for beams. Side loaded beams
should typically be specified with a solid wood section, which will overcome
the typical issue of overloading the outer ply of a multi-ply edge loaded


Connection Techniques
multi-ply beams
prescriptive provisions found in AF&PA WCD 1

AF&PAs Wood Construction Data 1 Details for Wood Frame Construction

has some prescriptive provisions for multi-ply beams. The provisions apply
to beams and girders of solid timber or built-up construction in which multiple
pieces of nominal 2-inch thick lumber are nailed together with the wide faces
vertical. Such pieces are nailed with two rows of 20d nails-one row near the
top edge and the other near the bottom edge. Nails in each row are spaced
32 inches apart. End joints of the nailed lumber should occur over the
supporting column or pier. End joints in adjacent pieces should be at least 16
inches apart, Figure 15. Glued-laminated members are also used. Beams
and girders that are not continuous are tied together across supports.
Bearing of at least 4 inches is required at supports.


Connection Techniques
multi-ply columns
guidance provided in NDS for:
spaced columns
nailed or bolted laminated columns

Provisions for built-up columns are found in AF&PAs National Design

Specification Chapter 15.

NDS section 15.3 contains provisions for designing nailed or bolted built-up
columns with 2 to 5 laminations. These provisions allow the column to be
treated as a solid section, with column stability coefficients, Kf, which reduce
the capacity 25% and 40% for bolted and nailed columns, respectively.


Connection Techniques

Nailing provisions are given in NDS 15.3.3:

The provisions in 15.3.1 and 15.3.2 apply to nailed built-up columns (see Figure 15C) in
(a) adjacent nails are driven from opposite sides of the column
(b) all nails penetrate at least 3/4 of the thickness of the last lamination
(c) 15D end distance 18D
(d) 20D spacing between adjacent nails in a row 6tmin
(e) 10D spacing between rows of nails 20D
(f) 5D edge distance 20D
(g) 2 or more longitudinal rows of nails are provided when d > 3tmin
D = nail diameter
d = depth (face width) of individual lamination
t min = thickness of thinnest lamination
When only one longitudinal row of nails is required, adjacent nails shall be staggered (see
Figure 15C). When 3 or more longitudinal rows of nails are used, nails in adjacent rows shall
be staggered.


Connection Techniques
bolted solutions

spaced solutions

Figure 15D Typical

Bolting Schedules
for Built-up
Columns The provisions in 15.3.1 and 15.3.2 apply to bolted built-up columns in which:
(a) a metal plate or washer is provided between the wood and the bolt head, and between
the wood and the nut
(b) nuts are tightened to ensure that faces of adjacent laminations are in contact
(c) for softwoods: 7D end distance 8.4D for hardwoods: 5D end distance 6D
(d) 4D spacing between adjacent bolts in a row 6tmin
(e) 1.5D spacing between rows of bolts 10D
(f) 1.5D edge distance 10D
(g) 2 or more longitudinal rows of bolts are provided when d > 3tmin
D = bolt diameter
d = depth (face width) of individual lamination
t min = thickness of thinnest lamination Figure 15D provides an example of a bolting schedule which meets the preceding
connection requirements.


Connection Techniques
panel to linear members
gap panel edges 1/8
to allow for expansion

Connecting EWPs can be done directly with fastening systems, or in

combination with stock or custom-made hardware. Connections typically
test the designers skill to arrive at safe aesthetic solution.


Connection Techniques
panel to linear members
nailing schedules in codes

The codes contain fastener tables which are similar to what you see here,
which is a reproduction of the first few lines of the CABO fastener table.
Note that the table talks about the connection to be made -- that is, what
pieces are being joined together and how (face nail, toe nail, etc). It then
talks about what type of fastener is to be use -- nail or staple. And then it
stipulates how the fastener is to be applied.


Connection Techniques
wall panel systems
make sure assemblies are properly connected to
each other

You might ask, what's so important about the CABO table? Everyone
fastens the pieces together or else nothing would stand up.
Hurricane Andrew showed us some very good examples of what happens
when the wrong number of fasteners are used or when they're not applied
We found no situations in which individual members of the framing failed.
Failure was always caused when fasteners weren't correct.
Here you see two examples of common damage in buildings that
experienced Andrew. Notice how individual members such as wall studs
and elements of truss are still intact, but how assemblies such as walls and
trusses have been damaged.
As you see here it wasn't uncommon for large portions of the building to
separate from other portions. And trusses collapsed when the roof
sheathing that held them in place was blown away.


Connection Techniques
roof panel systems

Courtesy: Hurricane Andrew


If you're not located in a high-wind area you may wonder why this discussion
should be of importance to you. Generally speaking, it's important to keep in
mind that the purpose fasteners serve is to transfer loads from one member
of an assembly to another. If those loads exceed the capacity of the
connection because the connection isn't correct, failure can occur,
regardless of what the load may be.
And staying with the wind discussion a moment longer, remember that many
areas of the country that aren't in high-wind areas are subjected to strong
straight-line winds in thunderstorms. Those winds often destroy
outbuildings, patio covers, fences,and similar structures. They also strip roof
coverings from buildings and can even remove panels of roof sheathing.
Even though the roof framing stays in place because of the presence of the
remaining sheathing, missing panels leave an opening into the attic during
high winds and driving rains which can result in tremendous damage to the
interior of the building. The example shown here is from Hurricane Andrew
again, and while it may be more extreme than what you might see in
thunderstorms, the damage that may result could be similar to what you see


Uplift Recommendations
New construction WFCM 2001

Here are new tables that will appear in the 2001 edition of AF&PAs Wood
Frame Construction Manual that provide the roof suction loads for various 3sec gust wind speeds at a variety of locations on a structure. APA has as
similar publication that was developed in response to Hurricane Andrew.


Uplift Recommendations
WFCM 2001

Using the appropriate wind speed and panel location on the structure
(structure zone), the correct nailing can be obtained.


Uplift Recommendations
WFCM 2001

Nailing detail for overhangs and rakes are also tabulated based on 3-sec
gust wind speed.


Uplift Recommendations
WFCM 2001

Nailing tables for wall sheathing and cladding attachment as a function of 3sec gust wind speed are also provided.


Connection Techniques
floor systems

Floor systems usually incorporate connection hardware into their

assemblies. Much of the hardware is of the pre-engineered variety that is
chosen from manufacturers catalogs based on application and loading


Connection Techniques
glued floor

Elastomeric adhesives are often used in addition to fasteners to bond wood

subfloor to joist assemblies. Glue helps eliminate floor squeaks while adding
a measure of increased stiffness to the floor system. The glue bond is so
strong that floor and joists behave like integral T-beam units. Consult APAs
Design/Construction Guide - Residential and Commercial for details and
description on The APA Glued Floor System.
Only adhesives conforming with Performance Specification AFG-01
developed by APA are recommended for use with the Glued Floor System.
A number of brands meeting this specification are available from building
supply dealers. For a list of qualified adhesives, write to APA. If OSB
panels with sealed surfaces and edges are to be used, use only solventbased glues; check with panel supplier. Always follow the specific
application recommendations of the glue manufacturer.


Connection Techniques
lateral force resisting systems

Nails with let-in

corner bracing

This is one of the simplest ways of providing lateral resistance to a wall

assembly. However, let-in braces require a perfect and well connected fit in
order to work properly, which is often difficult to achieve. And, they cannot
provide the same capacity as a properly constructed wood panel shear wall
as shown in the next slide.


Lateral Force Resisting Systems

shearwall systems

A more convenient method is the use of shearwall systems: panels, or

walls. Shearwalls feature special nailing and hold-down connections
designed to resist applied lateral loads in shear and overturning. Minimum
wall aspect ratios apply in order to develop shearwall action as opposed to
cantilever beam action when the wall panel aspect ratios become very slim.
Typically, the closer to the minimum aspect ratio for a shearwall, the more
dense the nail perimeter nail spacing. In shearwalls, it is the perimeter
nailing that is the most effective in resolving the transferred applied forces.
Be sure to catch the seminar on designing for lateral loads for much more
information on shearwalls and diaphragms.


Lateral Force Resisting Systems

hold-down hardware

Hold-downs are required to prevent the wall panel from overturning. Holddowns may also be used elsewhere to prevent uplift, and to tie the structure
load path together to the foundation. Typical calculations are provided for
hold-down connections in AF&PAs LRFD Manual, Example 7.7-1.2.


Lateral Force Resisting Systems

diaphragm systems


Diaphragms are usually horizontal surfaces that resist in-plane shear forces.
Nailing is more dense where the shears are highest.


Lateral Force Resisting Systems

tension tie drag strut in panelized roof

Here is a connection made to tie diaphragm framing members together to

that the load transfer is maintained. This connection is in tension parallel to
the member axis.


Lateral Force Resisting Systems

Additional diaphragm
perimeter nailing

8d toenails at 6" o.c. max.

Additional diaphragm
perimeter nailing
8d toenails at 6" o.c. max.


Wall or foundation below


Shear transfer plate

(Plate capacity
selected to transfer
diaphragm shear)
8d toenails 6" o.c. max.

Shear transfer
around floors

Wall or foundation below


Floor diaphragm members must also be properly secured at the diaphragm

periphery to properly transfer shear forces. These figures show details at
the foundation...


Lateral Force Resisting Systems

Nail into

Nail into





sheet metal

Shear transfer
around floors

Nail into

Panel joint


limitations with
prior to use
with LVL

while these apply to intermediate stories.


Lateral Load Connection Details

for Low-Slope Roof Diaphragms
Truss to wall
Diaphragm perimeter angles/lumber chord not shown
for clarity
wood structural
Angle corbel with
panel sheathing
Inserts to
provide approx.

Weld to develop tension capacity

purlin @
8' o.c.

On bigger buildings and tilt-up structures, the same detailing attention for
shear force transfer applies - for trusses....


Lateral Load Connection Details

for Low-Slope Roof Diaphragms
Beam to wall
6" wide tension tie
embossed to go over

wood structural
panel sheathing

to provide



Full length steel


and for beams.


Lateral Load Connection Details

for Low-Slope Roof Diaphragms
Purlin straps

Strap installed over

sheathing (not shown)



Ties are often applied over top of framing members for load path continuity.


Lateral Load Connection Details

for Low-Slope Roof Diaphragms
Beam to beam continuity

wood structural panel sheathing

Purlin (Typ.)

Wood structural panel sheathing not shown for clarity

.and when the forces get large, the connecting hardware gets more


Lateral Load Connection Details

for Low-Slope Roof Diaphragms
Beam to beam continuity
Wood structural panel sheathing not shown for clarity

Girder (glulam beam shown)

Tension ties on both sides of girder

50,000 lbs. Use (10) 3/4" diameter bolts

75,000 lbs. Use (12) 1" diameter bolts

Here is a glulam beam tension connection good for up to 75 kips.


Connection Techniques
connecting other frame materials : Steel

Wood can easily frame into other materials using standard fasteners.


Connection Techniques
connecting other frame materials : Concrete

Connection hardware is often used with concrete/masonry to transfer load

and separate the wood away from cementitious materials.


Connection Techniques
connecting other frame materials : Masonry

Bolted wood ledgers to masonry are often used on lighter structures to

facilitate connection of trusses.


Connection Techniques
connecting other frame materials : Dead Trees

Wood can connect to anything - even itself.



wood connection design philosophy

connection behavior
serviceability issues
connection hardware and fastening systems
glues and adhesive-based connections
connection techniques
design software
where to get more information

Designing wood connections day-to-day can be very tedious and timeconsuming. Thankfully automated tools have come along to alleviate the
designer of this task. Here is a brief introduction to one such product
dedicated to the wood connection designer.


Software solutions exist

WoodWorks Design Office is a suite of products for the wood designer from
structural members, shearwalls, to connections. See www.awc.org for more


Software solutions exist


Connections Design Software

For designing new connections:

Analyze a series of design alternatives. Leave all of the parameters set to 'unknown' and
Connections will fill in the blanks producing a fully dimensioned diagram that shows the
finished connection in addition to a complete report with full materials list.
Permits full graphic input in entering geometry through an intuitive and easy-to-use
Windows interface
The current version does not accept imported CAD drawings (only Shearwalls does in
the current version).

For checking the capacity of existing connections:

Specify every design parameter and have Connections check the joint capacity.
Connections leads you step-by-step through the design process for the following types
of connections:
Beams may be horizontal, sloped or have an oblique angle
Decide on the best post-and-beam fastener with a quick 'what-if' analysis. Connections
uses the following types of fasteners:
shear plates
top-mount hangers



wood connection design philosophy

connection behavior
serviceability issues
connection hardware and fastening systems
glues and adhesive-based connections
connection techniques
design software
where to get more information

If you need to get information sources mentioned in this presentation, or you

just want to browse, ...


Web sites...
Go online to any of these web sites for connection information.


Details Downloadable On-line


scroll down on home page to:

download free
or get downloadable details from WTCA,...


Details Downloadable On-line


or get downloadable details from APA The Engineered Wood People...


Info Resources

Or obtain any of these publications from AITC, APA or AF&PA ...


Heavy Timber Construction

WCD #5

framing members
floor decks
roof decks

AF&PAs WCD #5 has been a popular resource for traditional heavy timber
designers and builders for many years.


Heavy Timber Construction

WCD #5
graphic details

It contains many time-tested graphic details meant to be used as drawing

details for buildings using heavy timber design.


LRFD Manual
Chapter 7
40+ details
applicable beyond LRFD

The LRFD Manual is an all-inclusive document containing the ASCE

Standard as well as other useful background, example, and technical
information. Chapter 7 contains information and recommendations for use
on over 40 standard connection details.


Take home messages...

transfer loads in compression / bearing whenever possible
allow for dimensional changes in the wood due to potential
in-service moisture cycling
avoid the use of details which induce tension perp stresses
in the wood
avoid moisture entrapment in connections
separate wood from direct contact with masonry or
avoid eccentricity in joint details
minimize exposure of end grain

These are the key points to take home from this presentation. They will
guide you to achieving the right connection solution for wood structures.


Murphys Law
No matter how well
it is designed...

And if you design connections really wellthe weakest link may be

somewhere else!


American Wood Council

Engineered and Traditional Wood Products

LRFD and ASD Connection Design

A F & P A

Copyright 2001 American Forest & Paper Association, Inc. All rights reserved.

This section contains ASD and LRFD worked problem examples of

connections. At least one example is all inclusive: member and connection


LRFD Problem / Solutions Manual

40 examples
prepared by:
Dr. Steve Cramer, P.E.
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Dr. Dan Wheat, P.E.

University of Texas at Austin

To aid the designer, a Worked Problems Manual for LRFD has been
produced by AF&PA to guide the designer through 40 typical design
problems. The manual is formatted for ease of use, filled with graphics,
explanatory notes, and arranged in an easy-to-follow approach to process.


LRFD Problem / Solutions Manual

targeted to Universities
industry sponsored:

Sponsored by these associations of industry, the Manual can be easily

incorporated as a teaching aid into any wood/timber design curriculum
offered by universities or colleges around the country.


LRFD Connections Design

a varied series of short examples on LRFD
and ASD design of bolted and nailed

The examples presented are varied, and most contain both ASD and LRFD
worked solutions.


American Wood Council

Engineered and Traditional Wood Products

Example 1: Bolted Joint Design

A F & P A

Copyright 2001 American Forest & Paper Association, Inc. All rights reserved.


Example 1: Bolt Connection

double shear tension splice
1/8 steel side plates (A36 steel)
3-1/8x 12 Douglas fir-larch glued laminated
timber main member (parallel to grain)
3/4 diameter A307 bolts
10,000 lb. lateral load (wind)

how many bolts?

Consider this double shear tension splice made with exposed steel plates
and A307 bolts that needs to resist 10 kips from wind.


Mode Im Equations (Bolt)


Dt m Fem
4 K


0.83Dt m Fem

Before we get into this example, lets review some of the Yield Mode
equations for ASD and LRFD. These are the forms for Mode Im (wood
crushing in main member) for bolts.


Mode IIIs Equations (Bolt)



k3 Dt s Fem
. ( 2 + Re ) K



. k3 Dt s Fem
( 2 + Re ) K

and for Mode IIIs (bolt yield at one hinge)...


Mode IV Equations (Bolt)


2Fem Fyb
. K 3(1 + Re )

. D 2 2Fem Fyb
3(1 + Re )

and for Mode IV (full bolt yield).


Bolt Connection Parameters



Dowel bearing strength to wood main member


5600 psi

5.6 ksi

Dowel bearing strength of wood side member


58,000 psi

58 ksi

45,000 psi

45 ksi

Fastener bending yield strength


The connection material parameters are given here.


Bolt Connection Parameters

D = 0.75 in.
tm = 3.125 in.
ts = 0.125 in.
CD = 1.6

= 1.0
= 0.65

From the problem specifications, we assemble the basic data, including the
load duration and LRFD factors applicable.


Bolt Connection Results (Z)



Mode Im

3281 lbs.

10.89 k

Mode IIIs

3078 lbs.

10.24 k

Mode IV

4352 lbs.

14.48 k

Running this through the three Yield Mode equations provides the following
results. The lowest unit capacity governs, which is Mode IIIs (in white).


Bolt Connection (NDS)

W < n Z CD
10,000 < (n) (3078) (1.6)
n = 2.03
Must use 3 bolts (3/4 diameter)
or try 2 larger diameter bolts

Inputting the NDS unit capacity requires 3 bolts (3/4) to satisfy the
connection (marginally over 2).


Bolt Connection (LRFD)

1.3 W < n Z
(1.3) (10.0) < (n) (1.0) (0.65) (10.24)
n =1.95
Must use 2 bolts (3/4 diameter)

LRFD requires only 2 bolts (maxd out).


American Wood Council

Engineered and Traditional Wood Products

Example 2: Bolted Splice Joint Check

A F & P A

Copyright 2001 American Forest & Paper Association, Inc. All rights reserved.


Bolted Splice Joint Check

What can this hold in tension?

1 bolts




Main and side members are No. 2 Southern Pine

In this example, we check the capacity of this specified connection using

both NDS and LRFD processes.


Bolted Splice Joint Check

Adjustment Factors
CMT = 1.0 lumber Ft
CME = 0.90 lumber E
CMZ = 0.70
Cg = 0.85 tabulated
Cg = 0.84 calculated

Here are the wood adjustment factors for this situation, which are the same
for both ASD and LRFD.


Bolted Splice Joint Check


Edge distance = 3 5/8 OK
Pitch = 4
Gage = 1.5
End dist. = 4 << 7 min NG
need end distance reduction
1 bolts
C = 0.57


Using the proximity rules, the placement checks out except for end distance.
An end distance reduction will be required to deal with the lower amount
below minimum which calculates out to 0.57.


Bolted Splice Joint Check

Yield Modes
Im controls

Running the bolt through the yield mode equations shows that Mode Im
controls the unit capacity of the fastener.


Bolted Splice Joint Check

Bolt Capacity
Z = n Z Cg C CM
= 30.9 kips
Factored Capacity = Z
= 0.8
= 0.65
Z = 16.1 kips
Using LRFD process, the factored capacity comes out to 16.1 kips on the
basis of 12 fasteners on each side of the splice.


Bolted Splice Joint Check

Lumber Capacity
net section check
t Ft Anet = 12.6 kips
net section controls

Reduce to 10 bolts
t Ft Anet = 13.4 kips
net section still controls

Main and side members are No. 2 Southern Pine

Since the connection is in tension, we must check the net section limit state
for the wood. Working this produces a capacity of 12.6 kips; lower than the
12 fastener capacity, so the wood controls. Reducing the number of bolts
will economize the connection. If we reduce to 10 bolts (down from 12), then
the fasteners capacity drops to 13.4 kips, just above the wood capacity at
12.6 kips.
So, the connection can be rated for 12.6 kips.


American Wood Council

Engineered and Traditional Wood Products

Example 3: Glulam Frame and Joints

A F & P A

Copyright 2001 American Forest & Paper Association, Inc. All rights reserved.

Here is a complete worked example using LRFD only which includes

member and connection designs.


Example 3: Glulam Frame Joints



Column A
Size and specify all Glulam beams, column and connection.

Consider this frame situation not unlike one you could find in a residential
basement (discontinuous 2-span beam supported by foundation walls and
an interior column). The loading is prescribed as shown. Size the beams,
column, and all connections.


Glulam Beam A

8 ft P

8 ft P

8 ft P

8 ft P
P = 7.60 kips

19.0 kips

19.0 kips

11.4 kips
3.80 kips

-3.80 kips
1,459 in-kips

-11.4 kips

1,094 in-kips

Lets size the members first beginning with Beam A. Here is the shear and
moment diagram based on the prescribed loading for this portion.


Glulam Beam A
P = 1.2 D + 1.6 S
= 7.6 kips


Try 5 1/8 x 20 5/8

24F-V1 Southern Pine
Mu Mx NG

Using LRFD process, we arrive at the factored moment demand. Trying the
first section shown doesnt work on the basis of bending strength.


Glulam Beam A
Try 5 x 22 ; adjustment factors:
CV = 0.95 CL = 0.976
Mu b Mx OK
Vu v V
Pu c Pperp OK

Going deeper satisfies bending, shear, and bearing capacities needed.


Glulam Beam B

Moving on now to Beam B: demand moment and shear, on the basis of

prescribed loading.


Glulam Beam B
Use 20F-E2 Western
Demand: 1.2D + 1.6 L
Sreqd = 47.19 in3
Areqd = 14.04 in2

Factoring the moment and shear up allows us to pick a section that meets
the factored demands.


Glulam Beam B
Try 5 x 9 ; adjustment factors:
CV = 1.0 CL = 0.995
Mu b Mx OK
Vu v V
Pu c Pperp OK

Here we try a 5x9 GLB that appears to work.


Glulam Column


Column A

We now have sections chosen for both beam portions. We go now for the


Glulam Column
Beam A (factored) = 19 kips

Use E-rated Southern Pine #54

Beam B (factored) = 2.496 kips

Load Combinations:
1.4 D
1.2 D + 1.6 L + 0.5 S
1.2 D + 1.6 S + 0.5 L controls
= 21.5 kips
Eccentric Loads

At the same time, were thinking about how to join all these member together
at one point that is consistent with our pinned-end reaction design
assumptions. We choose this connector with bolts - more later.
We need to worry about unequal moment at the top of the column since the
reactions from Beam A and Beam B may not be the same. These beam
reactions would applied to the bolt locations in the connector where the
beams connect. The reactions (column top factored moments) must be
calculated that correspond to the load combinations listed here. If the
eccentric distances between the column centerline and the beam reaction
bolts are small, then the eccentric moments will be small, and their
difference even smaller. Axial capacity will likely drive this design.
Back to the column: we figure the factored load combinations to determine
the controlling case.


Glulam Column
Try 5 x 6 7/8

and so we try a 5 x 6 7/8 GL section.


Glulam Column
Try 5 x 6 7/8
Adjustment Factors:
CV = 1.0
CP = 0.27
CL = 0.994

and the applicable adjustment values are these.


Glulam Column
Combine Bending-Axial:
0.928 < 1.0 OK


bM x'

b M y'

< 1.0

Inputting to the beam-column capacity interaction equation suggests that

only 92.8% of the section capacity is used.
What about the column base?...


Glulam Column
End Grain Bearing:
PU 0.75 ( C Pg) OK

Looking goodand hopefully someone remembers to separate the wood

from the concrete.
Members are sizedon to the connection.


Bolt Connection Design

Client design change - new configuration and loads!

How many bolts needed in this connection?
The client was not overly enthused about our previous connection solution,
even our frame design for that matter, and wants something a little more
discrete. A bunch of other changes he has in mind also changes the applied
loading to lighter values.
The frame geometry is the same, but the lighter loading allows the use of a
continuous 6x10 hem-fir beam, and 2x6 column pairs with a bolted joint.
This design dispenses with eccentric moments and the 2x6s were found to
be satisfactory in axial compression and bearing.
Above are the new lighter specified loads at the connection.


Bolt Connection Design

1.2D + 1.6 S = 11.2 kips
Try: 1 bolts
Mode Im controls

Need: 3.3 bolts

Factoring up the load gives us 11.2 kips. Trying 1 diameter bolts (the
largest available) we find that Mode Im controls in the requirement for 4 bolts.


Bolt Connection Design

Try: Four 7/8 bolts
Mode Im controls

Z = 12.6 kips
> 11.2 kips demand OK
Use: Two rows of 2 bolts

Here is the LRFD calculation for four 7/8 diameter bolts that satisfies the
factored demand.


Bolt Connection Design

Net section check:
t Ft Anet = 16.9 kips
> 11.2 kips demand OK

Checking net section in the column pairs proves satisfactory.


Bolt Connection Design

2x6 Side member detailing:
Edge distance = 1.3
Spacing = 3
3 + 2(1.3) = 5.6 > 5.5 NG

How about the column pairs and clearances? Applying the clearance
detailing rules for the column section width reveals to us that we have run
out of wood for this bolt size.
So.change bolt size to...


Bolt Connection Design

Try: 5/8 bolts
nf = ZU / Z Cg
= 5.38 use: 6 bolts

5/8 which requires us to use 6 bolts and meets the width clearance rules.
How about end distance?


Bolt Connection Design

2x6 Side member detailing:
End distance = 7D minimum
= 4.37
Use 4.5, so C = 1.0
Recheck capacity:
nf Z Cg = 11.5 kips
> 11.2 kips OK

The end distance clearance rules are OK, so the adjusted factored capacity
is 11.2 kips with six 5/8 diameter bolts OK!


American Wood Council

Engineered and Traditional Wood Products

Example 4: Nailed Joint Design

A F & P A

Copyright 2001 American Forest & Paper Association, Inc. All rights reserved.

A single shear nailed connection in ASD and LRFD process.


Example 4: Nail Connection

single shear connection
2 x 6 S-P-F side member
6 x 6 Southern pine main member
16d common wire nails
400 lb. (dead) + 1200 lb. (snow)
How many nails are required?
We need to connect a 6x6 and a 2x6 together is a simple single shear
connection to withstand the given loads.


Mode Is Equations (Nail)



Dt s Fes

3.3Dt s Fes

Recall the ASD and LRFD yield capacity equations for nails in Mode Is.


Mode IIIm Equations (Nail)



(1+ 2Re ) KD



(1+ 2Re ) KD

those for IIIm...


Mode IIIs Equations (Nail)



k2 Dt s Fem
( 2 + Re ) KD



3.3k2 Dt s Fem
( 2 + Re ) KD

...those for Mode IIIs.


Mode IV Equations (Nail)



D 2 2Fem Fyb
KD 3(1 + Re )
3.3D 2 2Fem Fyb
KD 3(1 + Re )

and those for Mode IV. One these is going to govern. Find out right after
this next commercial...


Nail Connection Parameters



Dowel bearing strength to wood main member


5550 psi

5.55 ksi

Dowel bearing strength of wood side member


3350 psi

3.35 ksi

90,000 psi

90 ksi

Fastener bending yield strength


The connection material values are given here.


Nail Connection Parameters

D = 0.162 in.
ts = 1.5 in.
L = 3.5 in. (p = 2.0 in.)
CD = 1.15

= 0.8
= 0.65

Here is the relevant data from the problem statement for the connection
including design process factors for ASD and LRFD, which we enter into the
previous Yield Mode equations to get...


Nail Connection Results (Z)



Mode Is

370 lbs.

1.221 k

Mode IIIm

260 lbs.

0.857 k

Mode IIIs

153 lbs.

0.506 k

Mode IV

134 lbs.

0.441 k

.these results, showing that Mode IV (in white) governs. It is the lowest


Nail Connection (NDS)

D + S < n Z CD
400 + 1200 < (n) (134) (1.15)
n = 10.4
Must use 11 nails (16d)

The ASD version of the capacity equation requires the use of 11 nails...


Nail Connection (LRFD)

1.2 D + 1.6 S < n Z
(1.2)(0.4) + (1.6)(1.2) < (n) (0.8)(0.65)(0.441)
n = 10.5
Must use 11 nails (16d)

.and so does the LRFD capacity equation: 11 (16d) nails installed with
clearances sufficient to prevent splitting of the wood (NDS 12.4.1).


American Wood Council

Engineered and Traditional Wood Products

Example 5: Nailed Splice Check

A F & P A

Copyright 2001 American Forest & Paper Association, Inc. All rights reserved.

This is a short example worked in LRFD only to demonstrate a capacity

check for a nailed splice connection.


Nailed Splice Joint Check

2 X 6 Southern Pine, No. 1
Pu(1.2D + 1.6S)
18 8d common nails per side

-in Douglas-fir OSB

(24/0 sheathing)
What is the tensile capacity of this connection?
A 2x6 butt connection made with double OSB side plates and 18 - 8d nails
per side.


Nailed Splice Joint Check

Single shear
p > 6D into 2x6s
2.5-15/32 > 6(0.131)
Cd = 1.0
15/32-in Douglas-fir OSB
(24/0 sheathing)


Penetration into the 2x6s is > 6D, so Cd = 1.0.


Nailed Splice Joint Check

Yield Modes
IIIs controls

Running the numbers through the Mode equations reveals that Mode IIIs is
critical (lowest number governs)...


Nailed Splice Joint Check

Factored Capacity = Z
= 0.8
= 0.65
Nail Capacity
Z = n ZIIIs Cd
= (18)(0.253 kips)(1.0)
Factored Capacity = 2.4 kips
which we feed into the factored capacity equation to get 2.4 kips from the


Nailed Splice Joint Check

OSB Capacity = 3.6 kips
2x6 Capacity = 12.8 kips
Nails control at 2.4 kips

Checking the material capacities in tension shows higher values than the
nails (the OSB next critical at 3.6 kips) and this is good. We could optimize
further to raise the entire connection capacity to the level of the OSB by
adding nails until we approach about 3.5 kips; but the rating on this
specified connection is 2.4 kips.


Nailed Splice Joint Check

pitch spacing = 1.5
gage spacing = 2.0
edge distance = 1.75


Checking placement rules reveals no problems.


American Wood Council

Engineered and Traditional Wood Products

Example 6: Shear Wall Chord Ties

with Nails
A F & P A

Copyright 2001 American Forest & Paper Association, Inc. All rights reserved.

A shear wall chord tie using nails, in LRFD.


Nailed Tension Tie

How many nails for this connection?
Design connection ties
between first and second floor
shear wall chords. Floor
framing consists of 9.5 deep
pre-fabricated wood I-joists.
Walls are 2x6, dry Douglas
Fir-Larch studs spaced at 16
OC. The factored wind
overturning force is 2.4 kips.

The first practical consideration faced by a designer in this case is to choose

a fastener type. Many proprietary pre-fabricated metal connectors are
available to make this connection, (see AF&PA Guideline for Pre-Engineered
Metal Connectors). However, a connection can be designed that will use
commonly available, non-proprietary, components.


Nailed Tension Tie

ASTM A446 Grade metal strap
16 gage x 2.5 wide
2 rows staggered 10d common


= 0.06
= 0.148
= 3.0
= 90 ksi
= 4.65 ksi
= 45 ksi

Adjustment Factor: Penetration

actual p = 3.0 > 12D
Cd = 1.0


= Fem / Fes
= 4.65 / 45
= 0.103

Material design parameters are listed here. Since the strap is so thin, the
penetration adjustment factor produces a value of 1.0.


Nailed Tension Tie

Mode IIIs controls; factored lateral strength zZ:
Unfactored unit capacity:
k 2 = 1 +

= 1 +

k 2 = 12.66

2(1 + Re ) 2Fby (2 + Re )D
3Fem t s

2(1.103) 2(90)(2.103)(0.148) 2
3(4.65)(0.06) 2


3.3k 2 Dt s Fem
K D ( 2 + Re )

Z = 0.373 kips

First, calculate the Unfactored unit capacity Z of the nail from Mode IIIs
(AF&PA / ASCE 16-95 equation 7.4-3)...


Nailed Tension Tie

Mode IIIs controls; factored lateral strength zZ:
Factored unit capacity:

z ZCd = 1.0(0.65)(0.373)(1.0) = 0.242 kips

Factored demand:

otWot = 1.5(2.4) = 3.6 kips

Number of nails:


= 14.9 15 nails

Use 15 - 10d nails per side, or 2 rows of 8 each.

then factor it using (AF&PA / ASCE 16-95 equation 7.1-1) to get the
factored resistance of one nail.
Determine the factored demand on the tie from wind overturning using the
appropriate load factor. Divide the demand into the resistance (both
factored) to arrive at the number of nails required: 15 per side of the joint, in
this case. Increase to 16 (2 rows of 8 each) for ease of installation.


More examples?
These examples and more can be found in these
AF&PA publications

More worked problems can be found in these AF&PA publications.


and you thought
connecting wood
was complicated!

of course you can design connections for other materials:

Picture courtesy: SMI-Owen Steel Company
This 12 Ton multi-directional bracing connection node was used in the
Mellon Bank high rise building in Philadelphia and was detailed by hand by
Mr. John Alonzo of Steel Graphics."


Online eCourses

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