Steel Timber Frame Joinery

Steel Gusset Plates

Middlebury college student dining hall steel joinery and steel connectors

How are Steel Plates Used in Timber Construction?

Steel connector plates give a timber frame a look reminiscent of old school factories and mill buildings. They also support a tremendous amount of structural load, allowing heavy timber to span great distances. Often, the steel gussets are painted black and held to the timber with 3/4″ and 1″ bolts. Sometimes the steel plates are galvanized or painted in a variety of colors.  All of our gusset plate connections are custom designed and engineered to fit the individual requirements of our projects.

The gusset plates are normally bolted together. Sometimes we use shear plates behind the steel to increase the structural capacity of the connection. The shear plate transfers a greater load from the wooden beam, through the bolt, and into the steel connection.

Give us a call at 802-886-1917 or e-mail to learn how we can help with your post and beam project. Scroll down to learn more about joinery.

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Bottom Chord with King Post and Webs

This joint uses steel connector plates and 3/4" bolts.

Rafter Peak with Steel Gusset Plates

Timber Rafter Peak with Ridge Beam

Using steel gusset connections and 3/4" bolts.

Truss Seat with Gussets and Clips

Timber Rafter Seat with Steel Gusset Plates and Hangers

Bottom Chord Connection with Rafter

This joint is complex. It is the connection between two different heavy timber trusses. One uses a steel tension tie as the bottom chord, the other uses steel gusset plates. 4" Shear plates are used in both places to increase the capacity of the connection.

Rafter with Web Gusset Plate

Another Rafter with a Web Gusset Plate


In order to gain an interactive 3D view of some of these joints and connections, download the required specialized applications below. Then click on the icons listed to view the interactive PDF.

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Vermont Timber Works