Dressing up a beam

Hello, everyone.
We've been doing some construction on our house, and I have a question for you. We've knocked down a bearing wall, placed a really thick beam, and now I'm trying to dress up the beam so SWMBO doesn't mind looking at it. The surrounding trim is just stained pine, but I was hoping to go a different route with this. I was hoping to laminate some sort of wood onto it, but wasn't sure what would look best.
The beam's dimensions are 12ft 4in long, 5 1/2 in deep, and hangs 8 1/4 in from the ceiling, which is textured plaster.
Keep in mind I don't have a bandsaw, so I won't be able to resaw. I was thinking of using 3/4 inch material cut to size. Also, I know that I'll need some pretty big pieces as I want the laminated beam to look like a single piece, rather than like a beam with a bunch of different pieces of wood glued to it.
So, anybody have some good species of wood in mind??
Thanks a bunch.
-Barry
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<snippage>

The world is your oyster. You can pretty much use any kind of wood known to man. Me personally? I like to keep the wood flow going with what is already being used so I would get some knotty pine to dress it up. No need to glue it really. Just shoot or nail some trim nails, finish it, putty with colored putty. If you want, you can even mitre the corners. Let us know what you decided on so we can decide to heckle you or not. ;-) SH
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BKeane71 wrote:

Don't cover it at all. Rather make a totem by carving (bas-relief) death masks of your ancestors into it. Do SWMBO a favor and include a couple of her relatives. If you have a problem with your MIL dropping by, include her. Classy stuff. Finally, SWMBO can keep busy carving your face into it once she figures out what you're doing. Sweet irony.     yours ghoully,     jo4hn :-)
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Depending on the makeup of your house, this may or may not fit in with the decor...but here's what I did in a similar situation. I got some old weathered barnwood siding and used that, mitered. It was very grey, and I'm not sure what kind of wood it was. Cedar or some kind of fir, I think, and about 11" wide. I couldn't get the lengths as long as I needed either, so I had a blacksmithing friend make some straps that look like the ones here to cover the seams. He basicall cut them out of some sheet steel, hammered on them a bit, blackened them with some oxide process he uses, and I bolted them on.
http://www.hennisenterprises.com/beams.htm

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On 08 Jan 2005 18:32:02 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (BKeane71) wrote:

It might depend on any budget concerns if you want to make it look like one piece. Some type of pine would probably be cheapest if you don't want to see seams along the 12' 4" length. You should be able to get about any grade of pine, oak or maple in lengths long enough and wide enough. This will require you to miter along the corners if you don't want to see a butt joint. You could cut the sides square and make the bottom hang over on both sides (if you don't mind that look) to eliminate the need for two 12 '4" long mitered edges. You also might have some concerns about how the material matches at the ceiling. It might be easier to use a molding at the ceiling (cove or shoe or something you make) rather than trying to scribe along the entire length Some kind of finished plywood might be cheaper yet but you would have one seam at 8' on each face. This would also require the lengthwise miter unless you used a solid piece for the bottom and let it hang over the sides If the beam is wood, you should be able to nail directly to the beam.
Mike O.
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BKeane71 wrote:

Walnut. I always have walnut in mind for everything. Always.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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So you want to glue something on to the beam and make it look 'authentic' ?
Go out and buy yourself a set of goalie shin pads.....and a broadaxe....and hand hew the beam into an authentic hand hewn beam that you can look up at and be proud of. If the broadaxe is intimidating go for a adze. Remove the beam, stand on the beam and place one foot, toe up (heel on timber) and use the toe of your shoe as a 'stop' for your adze handle (6 " or so up from the adze head). Safer than straddling the timber when using the adze. If you want to straddle the timber ....don't forget the hockey goalie shin pads .
......Ken
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Really fast and cheap. Woodgrain contact paper.
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (BKeane71) wrote on 08 Jan 2005

Greetings,
I'm in the process of addressing the same situation. I'm going to use stained and varnished pine boards and revealed edges as in a so-called 'craftsman' style. However, I did consider using poplar. It is available in 3/4 and 1/2 inch of 12 and 14 ft lengths. Thought was to replicate a maple beam replete with false peg holes. fwiw.
Be well,
Tim
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