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Glulam beams

Glue laminated (Glulam) timber is often used in large-scale projects. It is extremely stable, without surface imperfections. This allows it to be used in place of steel as an engineering solution, as well as an impressive feature in its own right.

Incorporating a range of woods (including oak, Douglas fir chestnut and ash), glulam provides straight and uniform timbers to bespoke lengths. Unlike an oak frame, glulam will not move. If natural cracks and splits are not your style, glulam is an option for a more managed finish. Its stability is due in large part to a lower moisture content (8 – 12%) than alternatives we work with.

Glulam’s stability allows special shapes and structures to be made to measure, making it one of the more specialist timbers within timber framing.

Glue Laminated Beams

Glue-laminated (glulam) beams are available in a variety of different timbers as they use dry smaller section source material – Ash, Chestnut, Oak, Douglas Fir and spruce are all available. Planed, straight and clean-lined, they have very few surface anomalies, are incredibly stable.  Glulam won’t shrink, crack or shake, and is easily treated with decorative finishes.

Carpenter Oak have completed several projects using this material and are excited by the alternatives it offers.

Glulam beams are available in huge lengths and sections. Engineers tend to love them as they are very uniform, stable and predictable which suits their structural analysis techniques. For this reason, you often find them in large scale building projects such as public buildings.

They suit modern, contemporary buildings and are often referred to as the timber equivalent of steel beams.

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Glulams are excellent materials dependent on your project, design and styling ideas.

Here are some of the Pros and Cons to consider before choosing to use Glulam:

They are not suitable for exterior use.

It is very stable. Glulam has a moisture content of typically 8%-12% (compared to 60%-80% within Green Oak). The moisture is an indicator of how much you can expect the timber to move (shrinkage, twisting and splitting (shakes)) through the drying out process.

They can be several times more expensive and require additional workshop space.

The timber doesn’t need any cleaning (in theory) as it arrives at our framing yard with the finished surface.  As a consequence the timber requires special care while handling to avoid marking the timber.

Large clear spans are easily achievable with glulam beams.

You can order exact shapes, curves, radii and specific sections.

You can produce a very crisp and sharp look timber frame using glulam. See the Greywings Case study.

The manufacturing process for bespoke beams is longer than other materials, meaning significant lead-in times.

The glulam can be jointed using mortice and tenon, hidden steel brackets or feature stainless steel connections.

Are you thinking of using Glulam in your plans? Contact us to discuss your ideas.

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