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Re: Plywood Shear Walls

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Eric-
    One of the major weaknesses in the shearwall testing programs to date is
that they all use 4x8 panels exclusively, and then assume that any size panel
performs the same way.
     A few years ago Al Commins at Simpson tested some 2x8, 4x8, and 6x8 walls.
The 2' and 6' walls performed significantly worse than the APA/UBC tables would
indicate.  This is due in part to the reduced lever arm available to the
outermost nails as the 2' panels rotate.  According to Al, the 6' panel's
performance was the sum of a 4' and a 2' panel.
   Until there are more tests (CUREe and UC's FPL) we don't have enough
information for a definitive answer to your question.  If  you are pushing the
wall's capacity, the safest course is to remove/replace 4' panels.  If the loads
are modest, I guess I wouldn't worry about it--a 1' panel plus a 3' panel is
probably about as good as two 2' panels.
Chuck Utzman