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How to Make Plywood Gusset Trusses

Bob White

Trusses are pre-built roof framing sections that are raised into place onto the top floor walls with a crane. They are typically built in a factory and shipped to the building site on a flatbed truck. The individual sections of wood are held together with two metal gusset plates hammered into either side of the wood. Plywood gussets can substitute for for metal plates if a structural engineer designs trusses and gussets to be built in this way.

Properly build trusses provide a sturdy roof

Step 1

Consult with a structural engineer to design a truss system that is sized correctly for the building and is built using plywood gusset plates.

Step 2

Measure the lumber and mark each section according to the designer's plans. Cut each section to the correct length and angle with a miter saw.

Step 3

Measure and outline the size and shape of each gusset plate on the plywood sheets. Cut along these lines with a skill saw.

Step 4

Lay the lumber out on a large flat concrete floor in the position specified by the engineer. Measure the individual section of the truss and double check that they meet the design specifications.

Step 5

Spread construction adhesive at each joint where the gusset plates will be fastened.

Step 6

Position the gusset plates on the joints as specified in the design. Fasten the gusset plates to the wood with nails spaced according to the design specifications.

Step 7

Draw the outline of the entire truss on the floor with chalk using the first truss as a template. Mark the joint locations and proper measurements on the floor. This assists in building the other trusses so they match the first truss exactly.

Step 8

Turn the truss over and spread construction adhesive on each joint. Position the gusset plates on the other side of the truss's joints, aligning them with the first gusset plates. Fasten these plates using the same number and spacing of nails that were on the first side.

Step 9

Measure the truss sections one more time to assure they meet the engineer's specifications. Repeat the entire process to build each truss for the roof.