One of the great products available for construction these days are the metal hangers and connectors. Almost every house built today uses some type of hanger to connect joists, beams and posts. We use a multitude of these hangers everyday. We use them for joists, trusses, beams, headers, posts, columns and walls.
A great resource for helping you select the proper connector is Simpson Strong-Tie. The site has tons of hangers for every type of connection you can think of. They even have a cool free software selector that you can download.
The nice thing about using these types of hangers and connection plates is you can create much stronger mechanical connections. Instead of relying on “toe-nailing” or end nailing you can make connections that rely on the fasteners in shear. The shear strength of nails is much higher than a nail in tension pulling out of wood.
Keep your eyes open for these great devices and ask about them at your local lumber yard. Most lumber yards have staff that are qualified to help you select the correct product for your needs.