Canadian Wood Beam Design Calculator

Wood or timber is a popular material used by engineers for beams, columns, and other structural engineering members due to its lightweight nature, cost-effective and eco-friendly, renewable resource advantages. The SkyCiv Canadian Wood Beam Design Calculator is a tool designed to aid structural engineers in their wood or timber design calculations. This tool is based on the CSA-O86-14: Engineering Design in Wood standard.

The Canadian timber beam design calculator includes the following structural engineering checks:

  • Strong-axis beam flexural resistance.
  • Weak-axis beam flexural resistance.
  • Beam shear resistance.
  • Strong-axis column compressive resistance.
  • Weak-axis column compressive resistance.
  • Compressive and flexural interaction resistance.
  • Beam tensile resistance.
  • Tensile and flexural interaction resistance.
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About this CSA Wood Design Calculator

Canadian Wood Categories

The CSA-O86-14 standard divides all structural wood sections into categories according to dimensions and usage. The following table shows the categories and which table should be referred to for material properties.

Grade Category Reference
Structural Light Framing Table 6.3.1A
Structural Joists and Planks Table 6.3.1A
Stud Table 6.3.1A
Light Framing Table 6.3.1B
Beam and Stringer Table 6.3.1C
Post and Timber Table 6.3.1D
Machine Stress Rated (MSR) Table 6.3.2
Machine Evaluated Lumber (MEL) Table 6.3.3

Canadian Wood Species Groups

All four Canadian wood species from the CSA-O86-14 standard are included. Note that the NLGA Standard Grading Rules for Canadian Lumber contains many species designations that are not shown in this list. If the species can be identified, however, it can be possible to group it in one of the species combinations for the purpose of assigning specific strengths. Please consult a local engineer if you are not unfamiliar with a specific species and how to group it.

  • Douglas Fir and Western Larch (D-Fir-L)
  • Pacific Coast Hemlock and Amabilis Fir (H-Fir)
  • Spruce, Jack Pine, Lodgepole Pine, Balsam Fir, Alpine Fir (S-P-F)
  • Any other Canadian species graded in accordance with the NLGA rules (North Species)

Canadian Timber Material Properties

In CSA-O86-14, multiple grades are included that are given either by visually inspecting according to NLGA rules (see NLGA - Standard Grading Rules for Canadian Lumber for more information) or by machine rating. These grades include:

  1. Structural Select (SSelect)
  2. Number 1 (No. 1)
  3. Number 2 (No. 2)
  4. Number 3 (Stud / No. 3)
  1. 1200F_b-1.2E
  2. 1350F_b-1.3E
  3. 1450F_b-1.3E
  4. 1500F_b-1.4E
  5. 1650F_b-1.5E
  6. 1800F_b-1.6E
  7. 1950F_b-1.7E
  8. 2100F_b-1.8E
  9. 2250F_b-1.9E
  10. 2400F_b-2.0E
  11. 2550F_b-2.1E
  12. 2700F_b-2.2E
  13. 2850F_b-2.3E
  14. 3000F_b-2.4E
  15. 1400F_b-1.2E
  16. 1600F_b-1.4E
  17. 1650F_b-1.3E
  18. 1800F_b-1.5E
  19. 2000F_b-1.6E
  20. 2250F_b-1.7E
  21. 2250F_b-1.8E
  22. 2400F_b-1.8E
  1. M-10
  2. M-11
  3. M-12
  4. M-13
  5. M-14
  6. M-15
  7. M-18
  8. M-19
  9. M-21
  10. M-22
  11. M-23
  12. M-25
  13. M-26

Canadian Wood Species Groups

Material properties are taken from CSA-O86-14 tables (Table 6.3.1A, Table 6.3.1B, Table 6.3.1C, Table 6.3.2, Table 6.3.3) and include:

  1. Bending at extreme fiber strength (f_b)
  2. Longitudinal shear strength (f_v)
  3. Parallel to grain compressive strength (f_c)
  4. Tension parallel to grain (f_t)
  5. Modulus of Elasticity (E)
  6. Reduced modulus of elasticity (E_05)

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Canadian CSA Timber Beam Calculator FAQs

Excluded from the wood calculator are the following products.

  1. Glulam Beams (NordicLam)
  2. Proprietary structural engineered wood products (Weyerhaeuser, LP, Boise)
    1. Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL)
    2. Parallel Strand Lumber (PSL)
    3. Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL)

All of the data used in the Canadian Timber Beam Calculator have been sourced from:

  1. CSA-O86-14: Engineering Design in Wood
  2. Canadian Wood Council (CWC): Wood Design Manual 2017

Limit state design (LSD) calculations according to CSA O86-14 for beams:

  • Single ply, grain oriented in the longitudinal direction (X-axis)
  • Higher than they are wide (d >= b)
  • Visually graded and machine rated sawn members
  • Laterally restrained at the top and bottom at supports
  • Rotation restrained at supports
  • Rectilinear beams (beam curvature not considered)
  • Serviceability checks not included
  • Bearing and connections not included
  • Notches or any other reduction in section not included (A_n = A)

Enter beam category, species, grade and section information, followed by beam properties and factored design loads. For custom dimensions of visually graded members (that is "Structural Framing", "Bream and Stringer" and "Post and Timber" categories), select the "Custom visually graded" category and enter width (b) and heigh (d) of the section. The category will be selected automatically according to dimensions.

The SkyCiv Member Design Module supports multiple materials, including common timber, cold-formed, and hot-rolled steel member design from around the world.

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