I want to attach a 2x to the side of a vertical 4x4 post.

I can think of several options:

  • nails
  • through bolts
  • lag screws
  • a cleat under the beam
  • Sampson Deck-Joist Tie

I know that notching the post makes it stronger, but I don't want to notch.

What are the guidelines for selecting proper fastening, e.g. the number & size of fasteners for a given load?


  • it depends on what you are building. Check your local code. If it's a deck beam, for instance, you'll likely need to notch.
    – DA01
    Apr 14 '12 at 14:42

If the 2X stock is part of the supporting structure such as a wrap or beam attached to a post, it must be secured by a threaded device, not nails unless it is held by a metal support. Local codes vary a lot on this type of connection, but IRC simply calls for a threaded device in applications like this. A through bolt is always a good choice, but sometimes lags work well because of limited access to the back of the post. Usually two per union is good, 5/16" to 3/8" is usually fine, but 3 pieces and a bit larger may be better if the 2X stock is larger like 2X12. You can use a 10d nail or two to hold your stock in place while you drill or pilot for your threaded device. When you drill for your bolts, be sure to use the exact size bit or under size the hole by 1/32" so your bolts will fit extra snug. Drive them in with a hammer. Never oversize the hole just to make insertion easier. Get a bigger hammer!

  • 3
    +1 for "get a bigger hammer!" That's always good advice. :)
    – BMitch
    Apr 14 '12 at 12:31
  • I'm using a pair of 1/2" bolts where there's no live load (just a 500 lb dead load) and a Simpson DJT14Z bracket where there is a live load.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Apr 18 '12 at 19:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.