How to Make a Hollow Wood Beam


Hollow wood beams are often preferred over solid beams because they are lighter and more resistant to cracking. Built properly, hollow beams appear to be solid. Many lumber yards do not carry large solid beams, and if they do, they are expensive. Due to the cost and logistical factors, many opt to make hollow beams. It is much easier to work with 3/4 or 1 inch thick wood than to work with a large solid chunk of wood. In addition, many miter saws cannot cut much over 2 inches.

Things You'll Need

  • Table saw
  • Jointer or power hand planer
  • Finish nail gun (some require a compressor also)
  • 2-inch, 18 gauge nails (nail gun)
  • 1 1/2-inch, 18 gauge nails (nail gun)
  • Hammer
  • 4d finish nails
  • 6d finish nails
  • Glue
  • 8 clamps, 4 each
  • 3/4 inch chisel
  • Palm sander with 100 grit sand paper
  • Rip three boards to the desired width.

  • Set the two legs on edge on a flat surface and set the face board on the legs. Check for a good fit. If the boards fit well, apply glue to the edge.

  • Nail the face board to the leg every 8 to 10 inches with 2-inch,18 gauge nails. If you are nailing by hand, drill pilot holes and use 6d finish nails.

  • Apply glue to the edge of the other leg and nail the face to the leg.

  • Clamp the face to each leg with wood clamps. Place the clamps 12 to 16 inches apart. Keep the clamps on for at least a 1/2 hour before removing them.

  • Scrape off the excess glue with a chisel and sand the joint smooth with a palm sander.

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  • Photo Credit wood texture image by .shock from bottle of glue on black marble image by phizics from hammer, nail set and nails image by Allen Stoner from schraubzwinge image by Frank-Peter Funke from Ciseau 3 image by rolero54 from
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