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How to Connect Wood Beams to Wood Posts

When considering how to attach a wood beam to a wood post, there are several options. However, the option you choose will be contingent upon how much weight the connection will support. For example, a deck post and joist may need to support as much as 1,000 pounds, while a fence post and panel may only need to support around 50. Once the relative amount of weight has been determined, choosing the right method to connect the beam to the post is easy.

Things You'll Need

  • Chalk
  • Screws or nails
  • Hammer or screwdriver
  • Angle bracket
  • Ruler or carpenter's square
  • Circular saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Borer
  • Through-bolt
  • Washer and nut
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  1. Fence Posts: Direct Connection

    • 1

      Mark the height or position on the post where the beam or panel is to be connected with chalk.

    • 2

      Start two to three nails or screws in the beam spaced equidistantly. This is to ease the process of nailing or screwing the beam to the post.

    • 3

      Align the beam with the mark made on the post. Use a level to ensure the beam is even, then nail or screw the board to the post. If this is a fence post, make sure the beam uses only half the width of the post, because the second half will be used for the next section.

    Fence Posts: Brackets

    • 4

      Mark the height on the post where the beam is going to be connected with chalk.

    • 5

      Align the angle bracket with the mark, then mark the screw holes.

    • 6

      Screw the bracket into the beam.

    • 7

      Align the holes in the bracket with the holes marked on the post. Screw the bracket into the post.

    Deck Post: Notched Connection

    • 8

      Ensure the post is at least 2 inches wider than the beam.

    • 9

      Hold the beam up to the post horizontally, aligning the top of the beam with the top of the post. Mark the position of the bottom of the beam onto the post. Repeat on the two adjacent sides.

    • 10

      Place the beam on top of the post as it is going to be connected to the post, and mark the beam's width. Connect this mark to the one below it on each side using a ruler or carpenter's square.

    • 11

      Use a circular saw to cut down the post, beginning at the mark on the top of the post and continuing to the marks made on the sides. Then cut from the first mark until reaching the first cut. Remove the section of cutout wood.

    • 12

      Sand smooth, then rest the beam in the notch. Bore a hole slightly larger than the through-bolt through the beam and post. Insert the bolt into the hole and secure firmly with a washer and nut.