Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Adding a Beam to the Ceiling

Our basement needed new paint and flooring and a few minor renovations.  In our large "living room" or "rec room" I wanted to put up a beam with lights in it.  Here is what I was dealing with:

Ceiling right side

Ceiling left side

 My original plan was to put a wood beam up against the bulkhead (lower) portion that contains some ducting.  Because of the two vents in the ceiling, I realized that would be impossible without a lot of tearing out, so I decided to put the beam below the bulkhead instead.

The total length, just under 16', was far too long to put one piece of wood, so there had to be joints in the beam.  Instead of just straight joints I realized I could highlight the joint and make it look like a dovetail, so I made two joints along the length of the beam like this.

The beam would be hollow and allow four pot lights to be put inside.  I decided to make it like this, with plywood sides and bottom, and 2x2's to screw the box sides to.

I used basic plywood which I cut into strips.  I drew out a dovetail on the end of my side pieces and cut with a jigsaw.

I then laid the cut piece over another to cut the piece that the dovetail would fit into.

This is how they would look joined together:

I measured out to find where the holes needed to be for the pot lights and cut those out of my bottom pieces:

I screwed the 2x2 pieces to the ceiling after finding wood studs behind.  My husband set up the electrical wiring so that it came out where the end of the beam would be. You can see those wires hanging down at the bottom of this photo. This runs from two switch boxes, one at the bottom of the stairs and one at the opposite far end of the beam.

I'll post the finished results next time, stay tuned! Here's the link

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My Repurposed Life


  1. Yaay, so glad to see you're finally tackling this project! Love the dovetail joints, can't wait to see more :)

  2. That dovetail joint is going to look terrific. Can't wait to see the finished project.
    (BTW, if you're sick of snow you could come visit me in Southern California....70s today.....and, you know, if, maybe while you're here you got inspired to do a bunch of home renovations.......)

  3. looks great so far. It will look beautful when finished!

  4. Oh Julie - I SO need you here - I'm in desperate need of assistance with replacing beams in this place !!!
    You're so amazing it's ridiculous!

  5. Yeah, I could use your help too! lol I need to do a beam/header for my niece so we can install a barn door. :) clueless!

    can't wait to see the finished beam!

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  7. Nice! That's great coordination between you and your husband with regard to the housework. Electrical wiring should work hand in hand with the infrastructural materials, with which you build your house. Great job on that! Kudos!

    Eleanor Roy @ Douthit Electrical


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