The first engineer we were working with was too busy with roof inspections to provide calculation for our 17 ft span. OK we got the wrong stuff - three 2X12 made of Southern Pine, that needs to be returned. We are on our 2nd engineer. We ordered an LVL from the new engineer. He calculated: Dead load 15 Live load 20 Deflection L/240 live, L/180 total Paperwork states it's a 3 1/2 wide 11 7/8 height and 17' long 2 ply. The engineer claims that column can be made from three 2x4 - oh wait apparently I heard this wrong - family is telling me that he said 2 kings 2x4 and 3 jacks 2x4 to make the column. This sounds better. What do you think? There are suppose to be instructions when we pick up the beam. The holiday and a rat in the oven brought our project to a hault. Yes I said rat. We brought the oven in from outside and wired up the range outlet to do a little cooking. Rat was not the intended item. The rat was eradicated with a glue trap. We went to the beach. When all else fails, go swimming, fishing, surfing.... We ran into one of the guys who abandon us to go up north to help the hurricane Ike folks. He is back down and asked us how it was coming along. Then he asked if we were at least doing one nail a day. Negative motivation - it worked. I sanded all day yesterday and have a nice sinus infection. We were checking for PhatBoy's progress. He and his wife are one inspiring, motivativing couple.