Behind the Scenes, Design, Products

Truss System Basics

Like the inner working of quantum physics or high-level strategy in basketball, I think I was aware of trusses without ever really actively thinking about them; I built a set of trusses as my second job at The Olde Mill, thinking that they would just be ceiling beams.


Our first set of trusses, after installation

Like all of our beams, our truss system is actually hollow, which is great for installation (you save a ton of labor costs, and don’t have to rent forklifts, like you would with a solid beam), but our trusses and beams are not for structural support.

While building these trusses, Richard would use words (ridge beam, king post, corbel, etc.) that I was unfamiliar with, so it seemed like some research was in order.

Trusses, in ceilings, bridges, and radio towers, are used due to their ability to bear heavy loads, and for their aesthetic appeal.


A bunch of different truss set-ups. All easily realized with our hollow box beams.

King Truss

The king truss is probably the most basic and simple part of the truss. It is the middle piece of the truss, which supports the top and also serves as the resting point for the struts (the diagonal beams that finish the triangle – a very strong load-bearing shape in design). The tie beam is the long beam going across the bottom, with the principal rafter running parallel with the ceiling.


Our first truss system was a classic King post setup:


Queen post

If you take away the single king post, and replace it with two symmetrical posts, you get aQueen Post truss.


Instead of one central post, we have two, one set to each side.

These are just a couple of the simplest truss styles. If you aren’t relying on the trusses for the actual support for your ceiling, you could make just about any design/configuration with our hollow box beams and trusses. You could get very complicated, or you could make your own design. But like perfect Fibonacci spirals in conch shells or the Golden Ratio in human faces, I think a good truss design will keep some of the honesty of practical geometry, even though it might not be strictly required in a non-supportive truss system.

If you are thinking of installing ceiling beams, think about trusses too. Especially with high, vaulted ceilings, a truss system can bring an architectural element to your space, and bring a warm, natural feel to a modern space. Our hollow lightweight box beams made of 150 year old antique pine make designing and implementing your trusses super easy. Check us out at The Olde Mill.