Why build a hybrid?

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5 reasons to think outside the box

from Daizen News, 15 Sep 2011

First, what is a hybrid?  In my world, it’s a building with a mixed structure: some heavy structural timber (say, 20-ft.-long posts and beams that are 6 x 8 in. thick) in it, but it’s not all heavy timber. The rest of the structure is built conventionally—called stud framing, stick framing, or light construction—with 2 x 4-in. lumber.

A hybrid is a challenge for the designer. To build a balanced, cost-effective hybrid, the integration of the two systems is very critical. Technically, a hybrid contains structural timber (perhaps starting with some first-floor ceiling beams that hold up the second floor and expanding ideas for heavy timber from this point); timber accents (like beams that don’t support any weight) are not structural and usually don’t constitute a hybrid.

Now, why build one?  Here are 5 reasons:

5.  A great use of our precious big-timber resource is to include some big timber in common rooms such as the kitchen or living room, and then use light framing in the rest of the house.

4. Since big timber is, well, big, buildings of all heavy timber, especially residences, may be short on space in small areas like bathrooms or closets. Space may also be tight in small houses.  In this case, heavy timber just in common areas makes the best use of space.

3.  In renovations (where we are adapting, adding on, and adding ornament to an existing house), a bit of heavy timber—for outside, porch, or entryway accents, or for a big addition wing—can add the wood lover’s touch to a house without rebuilding the whole thing.

2. In hybrid commercial buildings, a good strategy is to use timber in both structure and accents to draw people in—entryway, roof, knee braces, railings, atrium.


1. And the biggest reason: hybrid houses cost less.  If budget is a concern for you, consider a hybrid house.

To see more about these hybrids, download our color portfolio. And visit the Daizen website for  more information.



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Dai talks about heavy timber

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Global Buyers Mission is a 3-day, invitation-only event in Whistler to connect qualified international buyers with Canadian wood product manufacturers.

Dai Ona will speak at it September 8, on the use of heavy timber in public buildings. With structures such as the Joyce Dunn Theatre, Monashee and Sun Peaks ski lodges, Sanbiki Japanese Kitchen, Notch Hill pavilion, Outlook Clubhouse, Playtime Abbotsford, and Best Western Revelstoke, he is something of an expert.

Dai will explore possibilities from the architecture and engineering perspectives. He’ll share sample timber specs, why specifying the proper timber grade is vital, and how best to approach a timber frame design for maximum efficiency.

From the Daizen Newsletter, 1 Sep 2011

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Curved wood, walking men, kitchens

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Daizen’s new portfolio

After much focused inspiration, Daizen announces the birth of its new portfolio, both online and in print.  Seventy-six pages (full of enticing illustrations and stories) cover most of Daizen’s projects. Here’s a glimpse.

A unique innovation: custom designed iron fasteners. We fitted structural iron plates onto the timbers with exquisite care and precision.

This detail shows three-piece fasteners secured with metal wedges, as for a wedged wooden mortise and tenon. These iron fasteners represent the client’s two ranch brands. This one is the walking man.





Here you see inlays of the dry fit for the walking man plate. For the finish, the final plates were heated and powder coated.




A series of knee braces are bound in the ranch’s second brand—a cat’s eye—worked in iron.

Download the color portfolio. And visit the Daizen website for  more information.

From the Daizen Newsletter, 1 Sep 2011

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Timber cubic pod

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12×12 cubic pod I started about one year ago is now completed and my kids are moved in.

Ideas in behind this is that I can complete all interior feature include electric wiring and move and attach to the new house I will be building. Three pod in raw now but I am not sure how I can pass the building inspection. Not enough thinking.

Build high ceiling and place kind of loft will gain good amount of floor space. For kids, this would be bed. I also placed large storage compartment which is connected from both bed space that is using as play space. Lego’s and puzzles are all spread out but out of my sight so they can do whatever they want to do without me telling them to clean up.

Large sized windows were bay out and use the space as nook, electric floor heating in place with cork floor on top. Folding sliding door really opens up space so tightly 12×12 pod does not feel so closed up.

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Drift wood deck

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Willms family and me were at Valdes island last long weekend. This time, Kyle and I build intermediate deck between water edge to cabin. Idea is using available material which is drift wood.

Main member of this structure is post and double tie beam and floor joist beam on top. First, we went out and hunt some materials. Find that the size and shape are desirable. Drift wood is heavy because it wet and rocks are sloped and slippery so it is a bid hard work to gather all materials to the spot.

Drilling to rock was very easy. We cut up re-bar and epoxied into rock and wood. Structure are in rotation mode from the bottom of the post, post is in compression and fitting it in perpendicularity is the key so no shear strength applied to the pin. Beam connection to the rock is where the most force is getting and it is tension force. So made the pin location as far as it could from the end of the beam.

No tape measure or scribe, all cut by feeling and leveled by eye. Front face floor joist beam were placed with curved beam which makes three post angle in round shape as well. Find the most flat face and place up, other beams were straight but place the but and top of the logs to make the face of three logs to be as even as possible.  Front beam had a few high spot, middle beam were slightly higher than front and back so used straight board to guide all the way to shave the middle beam to achieve the flat. It worked out well.

We did not had enough decking materials so it is just placed on top so we could sit down and had beer!


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Play structure

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We build play structure with WRC(Western Red Cedar) Structure were connected with monkey bar that is leaned to be stabilized. One long beam on top is notched in main structure and fastened with through bolt. This beam hangs tire swing one side and regular swing on other side. With adult hanging and play hard, structure can shake but with kids, this structure is stable as self standing, no anchor. Monkey bar were custom made, powered coated yellow, lots of accessory from Home Depot, all corner of timber were chamfered round, every hardware give consideration not to heart kids. After structure assembled, got kids decided where to place every single piece of accessory as I installed.


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Modern Horse Barn

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When some one build barn, there are few reason why they like to build with timber frame. Basically, building does not require for insulation but open space, it has to build with post and beam style not stick frame. Usually it is high pitch roof with gable vent to release the moisture. In this design by Karl Willms, it has raised portion of frame that has window vent to release the moisture, keeping roof shape flat to match the main house which is under the construction at same time.


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