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Design of Wood Connections

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Instructor Information: Alexander Newman, P.E., F.ASCE

Course Length: 1.5 Hours

This webinar was co-sponsored by ASCE's Structural Engineering Institute and ASCE Continuing Education.

Purpose and Background

One of the most difficult issues in designing wood structures involves their connections. The capacities of wood fasteners are rather limited, and using too many risks splitting the wood. And there are other difficulties, particularly the existence of two totally different approaches to selecting connections – prescriptive and rational. The number of fasteners listed in a prescriptive code table for a particular connection might be totally different from the number obtained by rational analysis.

This seminar provides a concise and practical overview of various wood fasteners and methods of their design. The discussion covers bolts, lag screws, wood screws, nails, and proprietary wood connectors. The participants learn about the relevant code provisions, including those of the National Design Specification® for Wood Construction (NDS®) by American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). The NDS® forms the basis for the wood design requirements in the International Building Code and other authoritative publications.

Drawing on three decades of professional experience, the instructor offers practical suggestions for designing and detailing wood connections. He explains some difficult issues such as the nailing nomenclature and the existence of different types of nails with the same “pennyweight” but different diameters. Another important topic is the effects of shrinkage on wood connections and the steps that can help avoid wood splits at multiple fasteners. The design examples illustrate connection designs in reallife applications.

Seminar Benefits

- Learn about the available wood fasteners, their advantages and disadvantages
- Become familiar with practical methods of designing wood connections and work through a number of design examples
- Understand the difference between the two main approaches for wood design
- Study the effects of shrinkage on timber connections and how to minimize these effects
- Learn how to specify nails to avoid job-site confusion and misunderstanding  

Intended Audience 

Structural and civil engineers and technically inclined architects, contractors and building officials seeking to broaden their knowledge of designing wood connections will benefit from this seminar. 

Seminar Outline 

- Design standards
- Dowel-type fasteners
  – Bolts
  – Lag screws
  – Wood screws
  – Nails
- Effects of shrinkage on wood connection design
- Split rings and shear plates
- Connection in lateral force-resisting systems