I'm adding X style cross bracing to an elevated playhouse to increase stability. The deck sits 8' up on joists, which are on two beams, which are on posts. Problem is, the posts are sorta in a V shape so the back two are rotated a bit. I'm not sure how to connect the cross bracing to the beams. Beams are 6"x6" and cross braces will be 2"x6".

You can see my 3 ideas below, but this is all new to me. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Option 1. Maybe I'm overcomplicating this. Do I just ignore the angle and bolt through with big washers?

Option 2. Create shims that make the the posts align. Seems like a good plan, but I don't have a miter saw. Also, is it bad to bolt through my posts?

Option 3. Nonconventional, but there are adjustable joist hangers that allow for skew/slope. I could use long structural screws, but concerned they might pull out.

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  • A note on the joist hangers: The rack of them at my local big-box retailer also has boxes of "joist hanger nails" and "joist hanger screws" specifically designed and sized to work with the hangers. I would think that any "structural screw" would work, but I know that the "joist hanger screws" will work in this situation. Note that, while the ones I've seen are generally short (~1-1/2") they're designed for the situation and I'd feel comfortable (unless told otherwise) with them holding up a 10' span. NOTE: I am not an engineer, so take this with a small grain of salt... – FreeMan Jul 14 '20 at 16:28
  • Joist hangers aren't really designed to deal with tension. You could screw them in on the face, but they you're relying on pullout strength. That's still not ideal. – isherwood Jul 14 '20 at 19:24

Option 2 is the best of your suggestions. It's cheap and quick, but will be stable. Use any available tool (or trial and error) to measure the angle, and use lumber of adequate size to avoid crushing it behind the bolts. Also, use longer bolts as needed to get enough penetration into the post.

An option that you didn't mention is to simply extend the braces to lap past the posts a couple inches, then run your bolts in at the actual point of contact. For purposes of a playhouse, and assuming adequate bolt size, this will work just fine. As long as there's little to no gap between the brace and the post, strength won't be compromised. Just be sure to not get too close to the edge of the post where you'll bulge the wood and weaken the joint. If you pilot properly you can be within an inch or so.

  • Would you consider notching the post for the option you mentioned? – JACK Jul 14 '20 at 16:16
  • Sorry, I'm not quite following. If the cross goes past the post, the point of contact would be the post corner. If the cross stops short, the point of contact would be on the end of the cross (basically option 1), right? – bendytree Jul 14 '20 at 16:26
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    @bendytree I believe the suggestion is to run the brace past the post so you're not drilling into the end of the brace board, risking splitting, then drilling at the point of contact which would be the corner of the post. In this case, I would think a lag bolt to hold in the wood without penetrating the other side (as a carriage bolt would have to) would be the best option for fasteners. – FreeMan Jul 14 '20 at 16:31
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    dont shim the bolt end, just cut a level platform for the bolt head with a spade bit or a chisel, – Jasen Jul 15 '20 at 10:11

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