1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Faux Wood Beams

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Stax, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Stax

    Stax Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Messages:
    944
    Loc:
    Southeastern PA
    In the future, I would like to make and install some faux wood beams. I've done some simple research on the design and install but wanted to see if you guys had any advice. Do any of you folks out there have them? Installed them? Have any pics?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,329
    Loc:
    Bend, OR
    You mean you want to make basically a 3 or 4-sided box of unspecified length and install it someplace so that it looks like it's a solid wood timber? What would be the dimensions we're talking about? What species of wood? What have you got for woodworking tools? Table saw? Biscuit joiner? A zillion clamps? Palm sander?
  3. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley, MA
    If you are talking about box beams, like in coffered ceilings, I have done them in my house. They were put up before the digital age, so the pictures are regular photos in a storage device called a "photo album." I can get a few pics this weekend. I put them up on a total gut job of the living room, which made it easier. Lots of measuring to get them up right level and square.
  4. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,906
    Loc:
    Chelsea Maine
    I have two of them in my suspended ceiling of the down stairs family room. I ran stained pine for the sides and bottom. The bottom board is inserted up about a half inch so it does not look like a single beam. I only put them in because I converted the house from electric and wood heat to forced hot air. The ceiling beams replaced what would have been ugly duct work. (Now heat with pellets). They look good. Are functional too.
  5. Stax

    Stax Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Messages:
    944
    Loc:
    Southeastern PA
    Fossil...8 questions really? I think my table and entryway organizer answer the woodworking tools question. Was simply lurking to see if any hearth members have DIY wood beams in their house and had any feedback.
  6. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley, MA
    Here are a few pics Stax. The large beam between the sconces is the original carrying beam in my living room, which is a rough-sawn beam covered in pine. I worked off the main beam in a perpindicular fashion with long box beams and then ran the shorties in between. The shorties are hung from the long runs, as there is not much weight to them. The new box beams are slightly smaller than the main beam, as it would have been imposing having larger beams everywhere. When we moved in the house, the ceiling on the left side of the living room was about 2 inches higher than the right side of the ceiling. The right ceiling side was lower due to plumbing drains from upstairs. The bathroom was relocated and many sections were cut in the living room ceiling to access pipes. That ceiling eventually turned it into a gut job.

    The new beams are pine, stained and coated with poly. I added moldings inside to cover the edges of the sheetrock. The bottom pieces of the box are raised about 3/16" to give it a detail shadow to match the original. These ceilings are common in my area as many of the houses are similar in age. Colonial Revival was the building style at the time when many of the houses were built, and I think the look carpenters were going for was a post and beam look to the ceilings.

    Tool-wise, a finish nail gun is nice for building the boxes and nailing them up, and working the molding up. A few quick clamps were used to hold each box together until nailed. No glue used.



    DSC01731.JPG

    Detail of intersecting beams.

    DSC01730.JPG
  7. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Messages:
    2,070
    Loc:
    Eaton Township, Ohio
    Looks good fishingpol!
  8. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,906
    Loc:
    Chelsea Maine
    Fishingpol, that is it! Same idea I used except didn't use crown molding in a suspended ceiling. Those look really good.
  9. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley, MA
    Thank you. I suppose these could be installed onto a sheetrock or plaster ceiling if the joists or strapping can be located.
  10. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,329
    Loc:
    Bend, OR
    Sorry, Stax, I certainly didn't mean to "badger" you. I look at so many posts from so many members every day that it's impossible for me to remember everything that everyone has posted about. I looked back, and now I do remember the very nice table you built. The entryway organizer I entirely missed the first time around (very nice, BTW). Again, I apologize if I came off sounding like a jerk. I'm quite sure that if you decide to build yourself some faux beams, you'll do a fine job. I'll look forward to your in-progress and installed pics. Rick
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,860
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Last week I visited a friend's neighbor that is an extraordinary faux artist. He has a large carrying beam that looks like a chestnut 10 x 8 going across the center of the stove room. You have to marvel at it and wonder where it came from. We guessed an old warehouse. Uh uh, it's all fake. He boxed in the a steel beam with plywood, then built up plaster, added grain and detailed it so that you have to touch it to realize it isn't wood. I'll take a picture next time I am up there. It's impressive.
    save$ likes this.
  12. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,906
    Loc:
    Chelsea Maine
    I want to see that one!
    There is a lot of talent in this forum group.
  13. Stax

    Stax Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Messages:
    944
    Loc:
    Southeastern PA
    It's all good Fossil, no worries. Fishingpol, those do look good. Nice work. I think I'll use 1 x's, miter the joints and hand scrap or plane and then stain them to give them that old rustic look. I'll use blocks as nailers.
  14. John Alves

    John Alves New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    You could also use the ceiling beams made out of foam if you wanted to save some labor. I helped my cousin install faux beams in their california home and it was really easy, they look good too. Here is a gallery if you are interested, Good luck!
  15. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Stax, I installed LOTS of faux beams in my house. Well, they aren't exactly faux beams, the cross beams are steel I-beams and the vertical posts are laminated 2x6's. I used antique barn siding to case the beams and posts to give the look of wood beams. The big one in my kitchen is almost 30' long, 10"x12". I used a handheld electric planer on the insides of the boards, and had to join a board end to end with a miter here and there (that was tricky, had to match the rustic grain as best as I could ) but it looks fantastic. Before the final install I cleaned the siding with a stiff bristle poly brush and compressed air. Looks like real wood beams! Sorry for the poor pictures, hard to get good pics of the ceiling with the sun out.....

    2012-07-23_17-41-29_682.jpg 2012-07-23_17-41-59_129.jpg 2012-07-23_17-42-13_885.jpg 2012-07-23_17-42-20_538.jpg 2012-07-23_17-42-38_710.jpg 2012-07-23_17-42-48_507.jpg 2012-07-23_17-43-02_869.jpg
    tfdchief and fishingpol like this.
  16. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Messages:
    2,070
    Loc:
    Eaton Township, Ohio
    Scotty...Looks awesome!
  17. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    X 2........ Er, wait... I mean X 2,000,000 !! Your home is gorgeous Scotty.....

    Beautiful place you have. Beautiful. :)
  18. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Thanks fellas. I've sank about every penny I have (and the last 6 years of my life) in this house. Its been in my family for 100 years!
    Eatonpcat likes this.
  19. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,906
    Loc:
    Chelsea Maine
    your ancestors would be proud of you. Ever think there may be a few still "hanging around" keeping watch over the place! Very nice work.
  20. Stax

    Stax Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Messages:
    944
    Loc:
    Southeastern PA
    Looks great Scotty. Robust beams sir, robust.
    Eatonpcat likes this.
  21. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,330
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    +1 on the mitered corner idea. Biggest giveaway for fake beams is the line where 2 boards but joint together at the corners.

    If you want them to look realistic like an old colonial structure don't go nuts on the hand planing. In houses that were built centuries ago that had intentionally exposed beams (and not simple rough houses on the frontier) the craftsmen actually went to great effort to make them as smooth and decorative as possible, planing them almost completely flat and carving in decorative beading and molding profiles. Having seen the real thing quite a bit I tend to think most fake "old" beams look overdone. Just my not so humble opinion.
  22. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,101
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    This is a funny thread for me....because when I was doing a lot of carpentry in the mid-1970's, these were all in vogue! I used to make a lot of them on request - it was quite fun. We'd get some #2 pine and make the box up...then beat on it with all kinds of implements! We'd then minwax the result and install them. Rustique!

    We'd die laughing about names for our services and construction company! We considered putting a shark on top of the truck and calling it Jaws Construction. The word "Rustique" (from rustic) became a verb for us.....as in "Would you like me to rustique those beams for ya". We'd be yelling "rustique" as we beat on the wood in every way possible! From throwing boulders on them to laying screws on them and beating them in sideways, we had all kinds of tricks.

    Imagine...we got paid for that!
    ScotO and DexterDay like this.
  23. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,101
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Scotty, your beams are gourmet! We used to tear down barns and salvage the barn wood, which was also very popular at the time! But we never used that for beams...too valuable. We once got hired to put up barn wood inside a photography studio as a backdrop....

    Ah, the 70's.

    That's when we got paid to put up crap paneling and drop ceilings (or those crap 1 foot square things you'd staple to furring strips) in virtually every room in our clients homes.....my claim to fame as a "craftsman" was being able to install paneling without inside or outside corner molding (tight fit)....
    ScotO likes this.
  24. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,101
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Off subject again.... but our NJ house had a large box beam going across the living room. It encased an actual bearing beam, so it needed to be there. We hung a swing on there for our little girls when they were babies....

    So, my first GF - who is by then just a friend - comes over one day and stares at the heavy hooks on the beam. "I know what you guys use those for" she says to Martha and I (note: she was a bit of a sex addict).

    Ah, the 70's. ;)
    I'll bet scotty didn't even consider such a use for beams.....hmm, I notice they sell them these days, but don't want to link to the site from here.......you can find them yourself.
    ScotO likes this.
  25. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Ahhhh, Webbie. The thought had crossed my mind while building the second floor addition, but my wife questioned what the heavy bracing and crossbeam was for that I was installing between two of the trusses in the middle of the master bedroom. I told her it was to support the larger ceiling fan, but she wasn't buying it......

Share This Page