From Daizen News, May 2013
Glulam, or glue-laminate, is engineered wood that is twice the strength of #1 grade timber and is sometimes used as a beam. It is composed of several layers of dimensioned timber bonded together with durable, moisture-resistant structural adhesives.
Glulam is frequently used in large scale projects like airports and manufacturing facilities in order to achieve a large open span. As an industrial component, it looks good, but for a residential application, we use Glulam in a different way.
First, to soften the laminated look, it’s best if the glue in the lamination is clear. Then, we wire-brush the surface in order to blend the glue lines in. Finally, we use a dark stain color.
Glulam can be an affordable alternative to big timbers. At any size bigger than 8 in. x 14 ft., or longer than 24 ft., the cost of kiln dried timber rises to exceed that of engineered wood . . . and then the point is reached where natural timber at that size does not exist. For this project, an industrial feel is part of the design concept, so Glulam is the material of choice.