Reinforce a Beam to Use it for Hoisting

Learn how to reinforce a beam and use it for hoisting. Build a truss on top of the overhead beam so it can support the weight of car engines and the like. This simple technique is applicable to virtually any overhead framing members.

What is a Truss Beam?

A truss beam consist of bottom chord which is under tension and a top chord which is under compression.  The top of the truss is being forced together while the bottom of the beam is being pulled apart. This type of beam will support nearly as much as solid beam of as wide as the truss at its highest. It will weigh far less and be much less expensive.

How to Reinforce a Beam with a Truss

Most applications in barns begin with a beam of some sort already in place. To make the beam strong enough to support the weight of heavy hoisting, start by making sure the beam is firmly attached or resting on a solid surface on each end. If it is not, then it must be made so. It will not do any good to beef up a beam to hold more weight if it is just going to fail at its most basic point load.

Start with two rafters. They should span the beam from end to the other. They should be as tall as practical. They must be securely fastened to the beam below.  This is most easily accomplished by bolting the rafters to the side of the beam.

There must be a post from the apex of the rafters down to the center of the beam.  This is where load is directly transferred from the hoisted weight to the truss.  The connections must be secure.  Carriage bolts through both framing members work best.

It is not a necessity for the framing members to fit like the rafters on a house.  In fact, it will not affect the load carrying performance if the boars are not cut at all.  What matters the most is the strength and quality of the connections.

Crude Truss Beam

This crude truss beam will be effective none the less.