Beam me up, Scotty!

2 Apr

A few days ago, I ran a post that showed you a “truck fulla goodness”.

Glu-Lam Beams for ISBUs-3

When we preach “reusing, repurposing and recycling” around here, we ain’t kidding.

It’s just amazing what you can find if you just keep your eyes open. Sometimes “very conventional” materials can be used in really “unconventional” ways.

In our case, that means using “repurposed” utility poles as part of the timberframing between ISBU wings, to form a massive “clearspan” area between them.

Top that with SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) and then SSMR (Standing Seam Metal Roofing) and you  have  a system that will last for decades, maybe even a century.

(I say “maybe” only because – obviously – I’m not going to be around to document it and I don’t want any “smarty-pants”: “Hey Ronin, can you PROVE that?” email.)

Glu-Lam beams are just about the coolest thing I can think of, when I start thinking about “strength”.

Glued laminated timber, or glulam (also known as “Glu-Lam”) , is an  innovative and extremely versatile construction material that is engineered for a host of residential and commercial construction applications. Intelligent design values and massively improved product performance makes Glu-lams a cost competitive material that can be the natural choice for every project from simple beams and headers in residential construction to soaring glulam arches for domed stadium roofs spanning more than 500 feet.

500 feet. Wow.

But, you ask… what Is Glu-lam?

(First, stop calling me “but”. I get enough of that at home.) 🙂

A Glu-lam  beam is composed of many individual wood laminations, or “lams”, specifically selected and positioned in the timber, based on their performance characteristics. They are then bonded together with a whole bunch of durable, moisture-resistant adhesive. Glulam is available in depths from 6 to 72 inches or greater and in lengths up to 100 feet and longer. We’re talking MASSIVE. It’s just incredible how large these beams can get, from such “small” pieces of wood.

Glu-lams have almost unlimited design flexibility!

LeMay Car Museum constructionGlu-lam has greater strength and stiffness than comparable dimensional lumber and, pound for pound, is stronger than steel. Common uses include purlins, ridge beams, floor beams, headers, complex arches, commercial roof systems, bridges and utility poles. Glu-lam is available in a range of appearance characteristics to meet end-use requirements.

The strength and durability of glu-lam beams make them an ideal choice for large, open designs where long spans are required. Glu-lam beams can also be manufactured in virtually any size or shape. In fact, Glu-lam is the only engineered wood product that can be produced in curved shapes. The arched curve profile of the roof of the LeMay Car Museum (pictured) is just one example of the virtually unlimited design flexibility offered by glu-lam integration into construction projects.

And, you’ll be surprised where they turn up. Keep your eyes open. Seriously.

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