DIY Rustic Gable Beam

4:20 PM

 The architecture of our home has a dominant main gable.  It's the center of the home, and has a round window below.  I had always wanted a detail of some kind to add character. You can see below without anything, the round window seems really low and it could use a top to ground it.

But looking for options proved to be an expensive route.

The gable would have to be custom to get what we want and cost  more than our budget allowed, so I figured we'd do it ourselves.  I climbed up there to figure out the overall height I wanted from the peak of the roof.  I also knew our roof was 6/12 pitch (meaning every 12 ft the roof goes up 6 ft).

I mapped out the design on thick pattern paper.  This helped me stand back and see how I wanted the curved arms on the diagonal.   I started out coming 45 degrees from the intersection, but realized the curve needed to go more vertical and end closer to the middle. 

I climbed up and taped up my design on the actual house to make sure I liked the angle.

The center vertical beam is a rough cut 4x6.
The base was a 16' 2x4.
Curved arms cut from rough cut 2x12

The only piece that is flush against the house is the vertical center, the base was notched out to hold the 16' base in front.  The base and arms are flush with the front, making a 2" gap behind them.  

Rough cut is a preliminary cut, and is obviously rough showing saw markings, which is ideal for the rustic or weathered look.  It's actual measurements, so a rough cut 2x 4 is 2" thick and 4" wide, unlike dimensional lumber off the shelf which is 1.5" thick and 3.5" wide.  You can't find rough cut lumber at big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes, you usually need to find an actual lumber mill.
If you're in Utah, my favorite Fishlake Lumber in Beaver, Utah.
They cut to order, and have awesome prices.
Our gable beam was around $60.

I don't have any photos of the install, as we were all involved.
We chose to install the lag screws from inside the house, so the exterior didn't show bolt heads and washers.

All the pieces were cut, and finished while on the ground.
In one step you stain and seal the wood, which will be nice for future coats where I'll be on the roof.

To install, we pre-drilled through the exterior of the house into the attic space.
My husband was on the inside, and then pre-drilled into 4x6 center post while my huge little brother and I held it up from the outside.
My husband then cranked lug screws into the post from inside the house.
After the first one, we didn't need to hold the weight, but just supported it until 4 screws were holding it to the house.
To secure the long ends of the base, we repeated the process, using a 18" long drill bit to pre-drill through the beam, directly through the house.  Then my husband fed the next lag screw out, and cranked it into the wood.  
Lastly, the small curved arms were also attached individually and screwed through the attic and into the back of each piece, one toward the base, and another at the roof line.

Installing was kind of a beast.
Working through the attic wall was a pain, in addition to being on the roof with the incline and height of the gable.
I love the finished look, and think it adds a lot to the overall style we're heading with the exterior.
We plan to later add rustic shutters, and the posts will be trimmed out with rough cut lumber as well.
I guess I'd describe our goal as rustic cottage for the home and future landscaping.

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