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Gordo Burgess 10-11-2011 08:58 PM

OK To Bend A StrongTie Sheet Metal Hanger Connector?
This question is about the advisability of modifying (or "hacking") a StrongTie sheet metal hanger connector for a unique application.

SITUATION -- I'm using a StrongTie LUS24Z, which is used to hang 2X4's from a main beam, and I'd like to attached these 2X4 hanger connectors on vertical 4X4 posts. This is for a temporary small structure with fabric walls and a very light roof, single story.

PROBLEM -- Here's my problem: Attaching the connector to the 4X4 post results in nails being driven in very close to the edge of the 4X4. So it is unsatisfactory as the nails may split the wood and/or not have much holding power.

SOLUTION -- It would be nice to move the connector from the center of the post to the side. This is possible as follows: Bend one of the side flanges 90 degrees so it is now flat! Now we have a "new connector", which can site nicely on one edge of the 4X4. And one flange has screws going straight in to the 4X4, no longer near the edge. With the other "hacked" flat flange, the screws are also more to the middle of the 4X4 -- although these screws are of course 90 degrees from the other screws.

QUESTION ON STRENGTH -- The load requirements of this temporary structure are very low -- much, much lower than the rating of the connector. The load is basically a 10 foot Spruce 2X4 between two posts, a light fabric wall and some diagonal strapping for stability (likely the strapping creates some load on the connector). From my shop class in school where we bent lots of sheet metal, it seems to me that flattening out one flange so the connector will fit the application, should not be a problem. Especially given the very low loading. I am not askng for a definitive answer, just what you think of bending as described and how much this might decrease the load capacity of the connector.

THE EXPERIMENT -- Hammering the flange flat is easy enough, and the result seems quite strong. But perhaps there are micro cracks I can't see that could only be detected with X-Rays. The bend action was only a single time in one direction, so metal fatigue would not apply?

SUMMARY QUESTION -- Is it OK to bend a sheet metal wood construction connector to fit the application? This question is not about engineering -- please assume the resulting new connector is fine from an engineering perspective for loads and stress and strains etc. The question is about the ductility of the sheet metal and whether a one-time bend is acceptable in low load situations.

Thanks for any advice or insights!

Bud Cline 10-11-2011 10:34 PM

Someone with some engineering expertise will come along and tell us both why we are idiots but in the meantime I would say: "YES YOU CAN!" The load is basically one of "shear-forces" on the fasteners not necessarily on the hanger and under the circumstances I don't see a problem.

Okay "shields up" !!!

Gordo Burgess 10-12-2011 05:06 AM


Thanks! I appreciate your reply. I take it you don't think that bending the connector is going to substantially weaken it -- at least for the load, which is quite low. I didn't think so either.


Tizzer 10-12-2011 01:34 PM

Bending hangers always passed framing inspection here.

Wildie 10-12-2011 07:31 PM

I built a shed roof over my patio and the rafters were supported by a beam. I used Simpson hurricane clips to fasten the rafters to the beam.
The clips on the outside rafters would have projected out beyond the ene of the beam, so I CUT the clip in half.
The inspector had no concern about this mod. and the job was passed on the first inspection.

Daniel Holzman 10-12-2011 07:55 PM

You can get away with virtually anything on Simpsons because they are generally way beyond the required strength under normal loading conditions. This is because they can take a lot of nails, almost always in shear, and this makes for strong connections. In your case, you say the loads are low, so I would not worry at all. However, just to be clear, bending a Simpson certainly voids the warranty, and definitely weakens the metal, so should not be done in cases where you are planning to load the bracket close to its design strength, either from dead load, or from potentially unexpected live load (high wind, impact, flood water etc.).

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