Video 4 – How To Build Homemade Trusses For The Shed

This is the fourth of 15 videos. In this video we will be building our own trusses on site.

Building your own trusses using plywood gussets is much easier than you may think. In this video, Henry shows you how to layout the truss jig, cut the rafters, the bottom chord and how to make the plywood gussets. It is important to use a good quality construction glue when building these.

Overall, we are sure you will be very confident building your own trusses after you watch this video.

IMPORTANT NOTE: These are not engineered trusses. It is up to you to decide if these will be strong enough for the area and climate you live. Also, if your shed is to be inspected, make sure these are acceptable to your building inspector before proceeding.


    • Henry Reinders on

      Hi Bob

      I personally do not like using these for small trusses I am building myself. When used on large trusses I order them from companies that have engineered them for my area. But that is my own preference. Also, I cannot say if they would be strong enough for the design we have provided with our trusses. We know the plywood gussets are strong as we built them, had 2 men sit and jump on one of them (500 lbs total vertically), hit them with sledge hammers and so on – but no testing with metal mending plates. If you do go this route, build one truss, and test it out – your call and assessment of risk on that one.

  1. Hi Henry. Great instructional videos! Would you mind telling me what considerations you gave when deciding to install a bottom chord. I’m building a shed 9’6″ wide, 13′ long. Was not intending to build with bottom cords, just 2×4 rafters with birds mouth cuts, 24″ centres and a 2×6 ridge board. Would this be a lot weaker? I’m from Northern Ireland so don’t have the weight issues associated with a lot of snow!
    Once again thanks for the informative and really well explained videos. Harry.

    • Hi Harry,

      Glad you like the videos. The bottom chord is a cross tie which almost makes it impossible for the truss to collapse (subject to snow loads). By tying each rafter end together with the bottom chord it holds the peak of the truss intact and does not allow it to pull down with weight or gravity.

      What you want to do is fine, as long as the ridge board is supported fully at both ends. Personally, for a 13′ span, I would consider a 2×8 ridge board (stronger and adds very little cost to the project). But that is me, I like certain parts of a project to be strong without any doubts – peace of mind kind of thing.

      All the best,

  2. Appreciation for such excellent videos! A question – I had always understood that screws have great compressive force and strength against pullout, but were somewhat brittle and weak against lateral forces. Is it superior to screw the gussets in place (which I would certainly prefer for the precision of the job), or are nails actually stronger in this application?

    Thanks in advance for your answer.

    • Henry Reinders on

      Hi Jerald,

      You are right, nails, especially common nails have a greater shear strength. However, for a small shed this is not critical. For a garage or home YES! As far as the gussets go, the combination of screws with glue is very strong (try gluing a piece of plywood to a 2×4 and ripping it off a week later – won’t happen without wrecking the 2×4 or the plywood – very strong!).

      Hope that answers your question,
      All the best,

  3. HI
    Finally! A useful website!! Your videos are excellent. I have a 16ft x 8ft x5 in deep slab. I will be building a 12×8 full brick storage shed (HOA requirements) (rolls eyes). I have 2 questions. Initially when the slab was installed, it was made to have the water runoff, so it’s not even, it slopes. When I’m framing, how would I get it even? Secondly for my brick foundation, how deep and wide would you build your footing? Our frost line is 18 inches.

    Thanks again for everything


    • Henry Reinders on

      Framing on an out of level slab can be a bitch even for professionals… It depends on how far out of level it is. If only an 1/2″ you can build all the walls the same height and shim to level (shims should be under the base plate below each stud). If it is more, then I recommend renting a laser level and checking what sections are level and what are not… and note how much out each section will be about every 4′ around the perimeter. I would then cut the studs at different heights to make sure the tops of all your walls are level. This is time consuming but once done, the overall results will be worth the effort. You see, if you know the tops of all your walls are level, then measuring and fitting is much easier because you can measure down from that point. Your roof and all trim will also be much easier. So, although the leveling process will take an extra day or so, you will make up for this lost time on every other stage of the project and it will look “Much Better”.

      If shimming, I would use pressure treated material to make them. You don’t want to use anything to soft or material that will rot quickly.

  4. Phillip McPherson on

    Just finished the first 4 video’s. Great information and instruction. Question: Can I use the same system to build a truss for a larger shed? Such as 10′ 12′ or even a 16′ wide floor plan?

    • Henry Reinders on

      Hi Phillip,

      I can’t see why you couldn’t… however, I would probably not be comfortable myself going wider than 12′ (I would order trusses). I would also increase the thickness of the plywood gussets and make them larger as the span increases and would also consider going to 2×6 on 12′ span. Please note, I am not an engineer so you will need to use your own judgement in regards to what you feel is strong enough for the area and climate your live (snow loads etc).

      Hope that helps

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