Meet Our Genuine Connector Campaign Grand Prize Winners

As part of our Genuine Connector Campaign, we had the pleasure of meeting with customers who won our Genuine Simpson Strong-Tie® Connectors contest. The grand prize was an all-expense paid trip to the San Francisco Bay area, and the opportunity to tour our state-of-the-art lab facilities as well as meet our senior managers. There were six winners; four visited us last October and we’re looking forward to meeting two more next month.

Genuine Connector Contest Winners Tour
The Genuine Connector Contest winners getting a tour at our Stockton, CA facility.

We launched a contest last year inviting customers to tell us their Genuine story. I shared mine in this blog post last January. As I mentioned in my previous post, our founder Barclay Simpson, made his very first connector for a customer in 1956. Barc believed in doing whatever it took to help the customer succeed. Today, helping the customer remains our number one priority. Whether that’s being on a jobsite to help with a product installation, making office calls to conduct product training or spending endless hours on R&D and product testing. This is what we promise to do everyday, and we do it genuinely.

But we wanted to know what it means to you. So we asked the question, “Why do you choose Genuine Simpson Strong-Tie® Connectors?”

We received many thoughtful, amazing responses. Honestly, it was hard to choose just six to receive our grand prize! Here are our the winning entries:

“It would be very easy for me to say that Simpson Strong-Tie Connectors are the only brand available in my area, which is true, but given a choice I would always select Simpson Strong-Tie. There are several reasons why I will always purchase Simpson Strong-Tie. First, I am quite impressed by Simpson Strong-Tie research and development to improve existing products and produce new ones. I have been fascinated by the extensive research facilities depicted in online videos. Especially, a video of the four- or five-story structure on the shake table for earthquakes. Your level of R&D tells me Simpson Strong-Tie backs everything they sell. Secondly, the quality of the products is impressive. The products are clean, without sharp edges or burrs from manufacturing processes, consistent in size and fit. Third, I appreciate the Simpson Strong-Tie commitment to meeting and exceeding building codes and keeping me up-to-date with specific applications. Lastly, I am impressed with Simpson Strong-Tie as a company: its people, leadership in its field and commitment to the building industry. Simpson Strong-Tie does not just talk about it. Simpson Strong-Tie does it.”  P. Austin, North Adams, MA

“Think about what the world would be like without Genuine Simpson Strong-Tie® Connectors. In the Midwest, where recent storms have ravaged many communities, the losses would have been exponentially worse. The design and construction industries rely on this product line to make design and construction simpler using Simpson Strong-Tie. We take it for granted, I’m glad Simpson Strong-Tie doesn’t.” P. Lum, Florissant, MO

“Whether it is coated, stainless or composite, Simpson Strong-Tie is my connection. None of our projects are simple. Our strength, ingenuity and commitment require us to use the best of everything. Using Simpson Strong-Tie products means “never having to say you’re sorry.” The range of your products offer solutions to the many challenges we face. Many thanks to Barclay and his people for creating a company I can count on. It’s just that simple. I look forward to meeting your team someday. Many thanks, and keep up the good work!” T. Gould, Ashaway, RI

“My customers are looking for quality and innovation that they can count on. For years we have experienced that quality with Simpson Strong-Tie and continue to reap the benefits of products that save time and money and perform above expectations. The ability for Simpson Strong-Tie to build and ship custom products is second to none and often just what is needed to solve unexpected issues during the framing stage of our customers’ projects. Simpson Strong-Tie seems to always be ahead of code changes and working to help our customers with compliance. There is no equal!” L. Holmes, Torrington, WY

“The reason I use Simpson Strong-Tie is that they have the BEST customer service of any vendor that I have ever used. ANYONE that you get on the phone has the answer NOW on pricing, availability and any technical questions. The shipments are ALWAYS on time and in my 15 years, I have never seen a mistake. I deal with a lot of vendors and no one holds a candle to the service that Simpson Strong-Tie provides.” M. Stroupe, West Hartford, CT

“I have four reasons why I choose Genuine Simpson Strong-Tie Connectors. You can see them here in this picture. From left to right, they are Lilah, Callie, Hollie (being held), and Seth. Their safety is worth specifying connectors I can trust.” P. Giessel, Eagle River, AK

The contest may be over, but we’re still interested in your answer to the question: “Why do you choose Genuine Simpson Strong-Tie® Connectors?”

Genuine Connector Collection Art

In this earlier post, I shared the story of my brother-in-law indicating that he thought some of the connectors specified on a swim club project were “ugly.” The contractor and I were able to come up with some other options, but I guess I’m still upset with my brother-in-law for calling Simpson Strong-Tie® connectors ugly. I’ll have to walk into his office sometime and comment on the attractiveness of his financial audits. How pretty are those nonrecurring charges, unrealized capital gains and special purpose entities?

The shade structure at the cabana club looks awesome, by the way. While engineers may identify the powder-coated hardware as Simpson Strong-Tie, everyone else just thinks it looks safe and strong.

SST David
Michelangelo’s “David” if Simpson Strong-Tie existed in the 1500s. The piece was envisioned by artist Bob Klammer, and Barc Simpson liked it so much he had it commissioned. Photo credit: Joe Way, Simpson Strong-Tie

Not every use of connectors is going to be Michelangelo’s David, but Barclay Simpson loves artwork incorporating our products. So Simpson Strong-Tie was happy to work with Portland-based photographer Jim Golden to create a photograph of our connector products. We’re calling it our Genuine Connector Collection.

In addition to doing amazing portraits and still life photos, Jim likes to work with everyday objects to create something beautiful. He creates portraits of unique collections. The items from each of his collections may come from a different time or place. They tell a story about the evolution of a product: how the design has changed over the years and all of the different iterations of a product.

I am so excited because it is a special way for us to tell the Simpson Strong-Tie story. Barclay Simpson started off with one joist hanger in 1956. It is clear from the photograph that our portfolio of engineered connectors has grown significantly from that one joist hanger. There are nearly 100 connectors featured in the photo and that is still just a small sample.

 

Genuine Connector Collection
Jim Golden’s take on Simpson Strong-Tie Connectors.

Jim Golden not only knew about Simpson Strong-Tie and our products, he has actively used them for building decks, home renovation projects and creating things like skate board ramps. His passion about Simpson Strong-Tie is apparent by the meticulous care he took to arrange the products and create the final photograph.

Click here to watch a short video of Jim Golden in action with Simpson Strong-Tie connectors and subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified of new video posts. You can also download digital wallpaper of the photograph so that you can have some industry art of your own to admire!

(And if you’re really a fan like me, ask your local sales rep for a poster.) We’d like to hear from you – tell us what you think of the new image and if you’ve ever used our products as art.

How to Safely Select Nail Substitutions for Connectors

A few days ago, I was speaking to a customer about an application using nail substitutions for a joist hanger installation. Her questions come up often, so I thought I would dedicate a blog post to some of the resources available that cover the use of different nails in connectors.

Designers and builders often wish to use different fasteners than the catalog specifies. The application could require short nails that don’t penetrate through the back of a ledger or they want to use screws or sinker nails for easier installation. The Wood Connectors Catalog provides multiple options for alternate nailing for face mount hangers and straight straps on page 27.

Fastener Reduction Factors
Fastener Reduction Factors

The load adjustments for alternate fasteners cover substitutions from a common diameter of 16d to a 10d, or a 10d to an 8d. Multiple different replacement lengths are also covered, with reduction factors ranging from 0.64 to 1.0.

It is important to remember that double shear hangers require 3” minimum joist nails. Short nails installed at an angle in double shear hangers will not have adequate penetration into the header.

Fastener - Double Shear
Fastener – Double Shear

Pneumatic nail guns used for connector installation are commonly referred to as positive placement nail guns. These tools either have a nose piece that locates connector hole, or the nail itself protrudes from the tool so that the installer can line the nail up with the hole. Most positive placement tools do not accept nails longer than 2½”, so framers using these tools will want to use 1½” or 2½” nails. To accommodate installers using pneumatic nails, we have a technical bulletin T-PNUEMATIC. This bulletin provides adjustment factors for many of our most common embedded holdowns, post caps and bases, hangers and twist straps.

The question of nail size also comes up when attaching hangers to rim board, which can range from 1” to 1¾”. The adjustment factors in C-2013 don’t necessarily apply with rim board, since the material may be thinner the length of the nails used. We also have a technical bulletin for that application – T-RIMBDHGR.

Rim Board Reduction Factors
Rim Board Reduction Factors

Several of the reduction factors are the same as those in the catalog. Testing of hangers with 10dx1½ nails on 1” OSB or 1¼” LVL did not do as well, however. We observed that once the nails withdrew a little bit under load, they quickly lost capacity. For that reason, we recommend full length 10d or 16d nails on those materials.

Rim board failure
Rim board failure

Understanding that alternate fasteners are available for many connectors can help you pick the right fastener for you application. When you specify a connector, it is important to also specify the fasteners you require to achieve your design load.