Next time you tackle a construction job around the house, consider using carpentry connectors. They're specially shaped metal plates you nail in place at joints in framing. They speed your work and make it stronger, too. Made in a variety of shapes, they'll solve construction problems no matter what you're building -- fence, deck, doghouse, porch, patio or a whole house.
Illustrated are some of the most common connectors and their typical uses:
FENCE BRACKETS -- These are made in sizes to grip one-and two-inch lumber. Use them to fasten horizontal rails to posts, or to make vertical or horizontal louvered designs. Most carpentry connectors are nailed in place, but with fence brackets you use screws. This gives greater strength, and lets you remove fence members.
JOIST HANGERS -- Here are the most commonly used connectors. Use them to fasten floor joists in a porch, deck or patio. They eliminate tricky toe-nailing and let you work alone; just nail the hangers to beams or headers, then slip your joists into the hangers and nail in place.
POST ANCHORS AND TIES --These are sized to fit four-by-four stock. The anchors are used to fasten posts to concrete footings, the ties to fasten beams to the top of the posts. These connectors also let you make heavy fences, backyard play structures or sturdy trestle-type legs for a workbench.
FRAMING ANGLES -- This type of connector can be used just about anywhere you fasten two pieces of wood together at right angles. When building partitions or walls, use these connectors to fasten the vertical members (studs) to the top and bottom plates. They are easiest to use if you nail them to the studs first, then to the plates.
TIE PLATES -- These are simply flat plates with several rows of holes for nails punched through them. You can use them flat, to reinforce a variety of wood-to-wood joints, or bend them to fit special situations.
These plates have so many holes punched in them you may be tempted to use too many nails. Avoid the temptation. Overnailing can weaken your work. This is especially true if you drive two or more nails in a row aligned with the grain of the wood. This almost surely will split the wood.
There are many other types of connectors. If you have need for more specialized ones, try a lumberyard where professional builders buy their materials. There you can find anchors for fastening framing to foundation, special clips that connect the edges of plywood roof sheathing and metal bridging -- those crossed braces, usually made of wood, that are visible between the floor joists over an unfinished basement.
Or write to TECO, 5530 Wisconsin Avenue, Washington 20015.