Daizen did it again! Cladding Glulam with WRC – grain matched with end grain!

  |   Design, Details, Joinery, Materials, Techniques

So we did it again! Another job where the team of highly skilled hand crafters have shown their expertise. What do you do when you’ll need large size clear WRC but can’t source enough material? The answer is simple: Get some treated glulam and add WRC as a veneer around it. It even works well with the end grain!

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Curve from two timber laminated

  |   Design, Details, Materials, Techniques

Curve shape cut out from solid timber always challenge since it require large section of timber. It is not only hard to locate the fiber, timber will have significant check on surface since it contains so much difference in fiber tension depends on part of section in timber.

This can be solved by having two smaller timber laminated, much easier to find good fiber and also grain match. Seems like this approach can be develop further more by specifying timber grain in detail and how we re-saw to match grain!

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Stair by Daizen

  |   Design, Details, Joinery, Techniques, Uncategorized

Stairs are simply steps that allow us to move to different heights, but they also become a main design feature of the home. Stair design sometimes takes as much time as designing the house structure. Building stairs is not difficult, but to build with safety, furniture grade, it is not like a house structure – it requires a higher skill set and much drier materials. There are different types of stair design – cut out stairs, housed stairs, suspended stairs, spiral stairs, mono stringer stairs etc. Daizen has built over 100 stairs. Here are some examples of how Daizen approaches building one-of-a-kind stairs.

We have extended our services to build stair-focused projects and welcome your inquiries.

Suspended stair


This is a one-of-a-kind stair that is completely custom designed. The centre post is a solid 30″x30″ post, but there is no stair stringer to support the treads. Stair treads (steps) are supported at the centre post where they interconnect? Otherwise, the stair hangs from a railing made out of steel. Our process involved fitting all treads and the landing on a temporary support, then we built the steel railing and hung the treads to complete the project.



To keep the landing at the same thickness as the stair tread, we built a steel frame in a fish bone pattern and laminated the solid wood pieces from the top and bottom.

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Housed stair



Housed stairs are very clean and strong. This type of stair can be assembled prior to installation, which allows for a faster installation process and makes the stair connection to the wall and floor easier to work with. The view from under the landing is also highly visible and we always pay attention to how the stair looks from all sides.


The landing is suspended from specially shaped member from above.

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Steel stringer housed type stair: Wood is easy to shave and adjust but steel isn’t, so all measurement need to be accurate. This is a nice stair design that fits well within a modern style house.


Double stringer housed stair built in Japan.


Cut out stair

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A typical cut out stair looks like this. The length of the spindles can be attached directly to treads. The stringer size must be a focus with this style because there is a big chunk of wood to be cut out.

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Cut out stair during construction: Note that the landing is suspended. A lot of thinking and experimentation went into building this stair.

Spiral stair


Inside spiral stair is not always useable, but fits well when using a round log as a centre post.


Suspended spline shape stair: A uniform radius spiral stair is difficult to build, but when the radius is not uniform, it requires an actual scale template be built first. Railings were “three-dimensionaly” bent. The core was replaced with structural plywood with a through-bolt attached that is holding the end of the treads.



Stair on a regular type of frame: Once the walls are up, we build the stringer to the wall on site and make a template for all tread/steps. We pre-manufacture these in our shop so they may be installed, simply, on site.

Mono stringer stair


Mono stringer stairs with steel seem to be a favorite style of many people. Key to building this stair is consideration for adjustment because the steel receiver will not be in a perfect position.


Stuck up stair


This stair system is designed and engineered to have a 1,000 lbs point load in the middle of the stair. The core of each step is made out of glulam (GLB) and cladded with walnut. We allocated a gap between the GLB and walnut to allow for some movement and filled it with an expanded form. The walnut did not come any wider than 10″ so we grain-matched the board to look like solid wood. This project is ongoing and a completed photo will be posted later.

Stair 3

Onsite built stair. This project required more work on the curved railing. The grip profile is carved from solid wood.

It seems like most of our stair design specifications fit a 10″ run and 7.5″ rise and we make fine adjustments in this range. To make an open staircase, the maximum opening around the stair and railing by building code is 4”. This leads us to use 3.5″ thick stair treads, with the spindle space in the railing at 5″ apart. Our stair stock materials are in 4×12 select grade, dried to 12% minimum.

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Jack rafter housing Kazu special

  |   Design, Details, Joinery, Techniques

Our lead builder Kazu came up with this jack rafter housing that ensure the tight fit that contains step housing to hip/valley rafter. With this details, as hip/valley shrink, fit gets tighter, and we make the housing width a hair smaller but it will bite into the corner to fit it tight. Extra depth on house ensure the bottom of stepped rafter to fit tight, wedge to control space is important, then washer head timber screw will close the gap on bottom to make the best fit!

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Screw laminated beam

  |   Design, Details, Joinery, Techniques, Uncategorized

When the beam require extra strength running long span, stacking the two beam together would not simply increase the strength. In this project, we are putting keys in between the timber so it looks like the key is taking the shear on two beams but it is just decorative, real structural function is in fully threaded screw that is in a timber not visual.



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Timber Cladding like a pro!

  |   Design, Details, Joinery, Techniques

Timber Cladding (Structural)

Sometimes there is no room for braces in your timber frame, especially when you want a clear opening without interruptions. One solution can be an engineered, heavy-duty steel frame, which is clad with grain matched timber. Professionally executed by our skilled craftsmen, you won’t be able to see the difference compared to solid wood. At Daizen, we pay particular attention to the fibre orientation to ensure a consistent appearance in wood characteristics and texture. Learn more about how Daizen incorporates innovation into its work.

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A tornado trellis

  |   Design, Newsletter

From Daizen News, July 2013

The hot season has arrived: finally, we need shade from the sun. A square trellis may not work in a round space, so we came up with a new design.

The horizontal plate sits on the receiving member and comes back to the original plate: a self-supporting structure.

In the final product, we end up making a simple square base frame rather than a star structure. The horizontal tornado plate on top stays as solid as we expected. The wood in this frame is Western Red Cedar, finished with natural oil.

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An unusual Mountain-Man house

  |   Design, Newsletter

From Daizen News September 2012

Our designer Kevin Mattson does all our timber frame design as well as production drawings.  He lives at an off-grid site and raised his child, a son, in a 300-sq.-ft house. Living in a trailer on site, he built the house one part at a time, from 1991 to 2001. The house contains a full-size kitchen (the kitchen table is a dining table too), a living room on the opposite side, and a bathroom in the middle. Above the bathroom is the loft space that is Kevin’s bedroom; it had been a hideaway for his son for many years. Now Kevin’s young son, grown up and in Florida, is going to have a baby soon.

This is such a small house, but when I entered it, I was not able to draw the floor plan in my head for a while. Nice design.

On Kevin’s house, the posts are scribe-fit to rocks, exposed beams are protected with copper, natural light features prominently, and the walls are finished with textured drywall and good natural materials. Because it is small, Kevin can look after it very easily.

The entry is flanked by two natural posts scribed on to a rock base. The full-length wood shutters can be closed for both sunlight control and home security.

The front elevaton, with landscaping.

Interior view of the timber framed entry, enhanced with fixed picture windows. Light from the roof skylight is softened through the matchstick screens.

A driftwood ladder leads up into the loft bedroom. The bath is entered through a hidden door in the cedar paneling, to the right.

View from the bathroom looking through its [open] hidden door.

When in the glass shower in the bath, this is the view to the rear fern garden. Kevin can see the day’s temperature (posted on the tree) during his morning shower.


The kitecn, with its cherry cabinetry and black granite counters. Appliances include a propane refrigerator and stovetop, and a cast iron stove.

Kevin’s living room and home office. The triangular picture window includes an exterior awning shutter that can be operated from inside with a cable and marine hardware.

I visited a similar house in Oliver, B.C., designed by Henry Y. Mann ( It’s a 350-sq.ft. house with everything its owner needs, including a full-size kitchen.

These people chose to live in quality. They are not rich but they spend time and money with deep thought down to every detail. They compromised on size, but every moment they spend in their space is suffused with satisfaction.

This is what Daizen wants to support. If your budget is tight, narrow your house down to a smaller area but build with high quality material and craftsmanship so that you and your loved ones can feel the joy of life at home. We can help you!  Let us know.

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Daizen ideas, shared

  |   Design, Fun, Newsletter

From Daizen News  June 2012

A new sharing venue, Pinterest, is a visual online pinboard to organize and share the things you love. Daizen now has two Pinterest boards—one for inspiring visual inspirations (called Nice Work) and the other, Daizen Joinery, for  interesting accomplishments.

Pinterest/Daizen/Nice Work

Pinterest/Daizen/Daizen Joinery

Update–as of June 6, Daizen now has nine pinboards!  The others include Stair, Garden/Exterior, Treehouse, Organic/Earth Building, Japanese Architecture, Places To Go, Fly Fishing, and a fledgling one for Methods.

You can “follow” either of these pinboards by clicking the red Request an Invite button. Or you can start your own Pinterest. It’s a feast for the eyes!

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Design-build tip: the staircase

  |   Design, Newsletter

From Daizen News 1 March 2012

We have built many different styles of stairs in the past. Here’s one we recently installed.

The challenge in building a staircase is not the actual fabrication; rather, it’s getting it to fit well into the house. Over time, the walls, ceilings, and floors of existing houses tend to move out of plumb and square. Even on a new house, those planes usually have a period of settling that occurs even before the residents move in.

Two things to consider:

  • If the stair is “hung” from the wall, the wall surfaces must be square and plumb to very exact tolerances, a task that is not trivial even on a new house. Following the plan closely and measuring carefully, sometimes after the frame has settled a little, is key.
  • Another option is for the designer to be aware of potential settling and design the stair as free-standing. A free-standing staircase can add much interest to the design, as well as saving the client money, since less frequent measuring is needed. The greatest cost savings comes if we can eliminate the staircase-measuring visit entirely!

Other Daizen staircases

For a closer look at these staircases and the houses they fit into, you can download a full-color PDF by clicking the link in the right column on the Daizen website.

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