Glue Laminated Timber, simply known as Glulam has been around since the mid 1800's. This product was revolutionary in allowing large beams to be produced by glueing smaller dimensions of wood, known as lamstock together. Glulam can be produced in a variety of dimensions and shapes, including sweeping curves as well as double curves. For multi-story buildings straight lam-stocks in standard beam sizes are used. Glulam performs exceptionally well in corrosive environments where untreated metals will fail, it also supplies similar load bearing capacity as steel. As a bonus it outperforms steel in fire, has exceptional seismic qualities, is a renewable resource and is much more carbon friendly than concrete or steel.
Glulam can be produced in a relatively automated processes or by hand. Each batch of beams has different dimensions that must be adjusted for. A variety of glues can be used depending on local manufactures. Most glues are moisture resistant structural adhesives. These can be produced in both clear and traditional (darker) configurations. Many glulam manufactures use machine stress grading to choose the proper lamstock and positioning of each piece within the beam layup.
Glulam can be produced in a variety of species, however SPF and Douglas Fir are the most typical. Production lengths are only limited by transportation limits, and production shapes can be generated in a variety of forms.
Glulam beams are used in many structures around the world typically as beams and columns. However they can also be re-laminated into large panels or placed as smaller dimensions studs, commonly seen in Europe.