*ridge beam OR ridge board. Thanks for explaining the difference (and that there is one).
Yes, clearly i find this fascinating too since I'm spending hours and hours of my increasingly rare free time learning about it, when I'm not building any structures anytime soon and my day job is basically in IT!
I had been using board & beam interchangeably until I saw a video that said what the difference was. A beam is more likely to be used in a larger structure that needs a stronger spine of sorts for the top. At least, I think that was the explanation. I guess that is one of the reasons for metal I-beams as well. It would be harder to make a gusset plate for an I-beam, but I imagine there would be more steel being used in that application & possibly some welding going on.
As an aside, I have a friend who used to be a foreman for jobsites. He was on a job site & he heard one of the workers cross-threading a beam. He told the guy he could tell form the sound that it wasn't going in right and told him to pull all the bolts out and re-do them-- showed him how to avoid cross-threading, then went on with his day. He didn't find out until afterward that the guy ignored him & didn't do it. He was walking across one of the beams the guy installed later when it gave way & he fell 10ft and landed with his back on top of the beam. Had spinal damage (but no paralysis). Worker who did it ran off the job site & never returned. Didn't even try to check on him. Just goes to show why it's important to make sure things are secured.