Many of our beautiful Brady-Built sunrooms feature elegant curved wooden beams, but did you know how those pieces were made? It’s quite a process, but we need to make sure each piece passes all of our quality tests to give our customers the best possible sunroom. This month we want to share more about how our curved laminated wood beams come to be.
Before beams are manufactured, the beam depth must be calculated. Each sunroom is custom designed and the beams sized according to building code requirements. The overall depth of the beam is calculated based upon expected snow load, wind load, span, bay width and other factors.
Once the beam is sized, Brady-Built starts the manufacture of curved laminated wood beams with kiln dried southern yellow pine lumber. The lumber is sawn into 5/16’ thick slices using a multiple blade rip saw. These 3 1/2” wide strips are passed through a glue machine that applies an adhesive to one face that is specifically designed for use on structural wood members. The strips (or laminations) are stacked together until enough pieces are in place to make the specified beam thickness. The stack of laminations is moved to a steel form that is set to the desired roof pitch. Starting at one end of the stack, a steel clamp is applied to the stack using a pneumatic tool. The clamp is tightened until the glue line is almost invisible. One of these clamps is applied to the stack every foot or so. Using the clamping technique, the laminate stack is forced around the curve in the gluing form. The adhesive sets overnight. Once the adhesive has set, the clamps are removed and the beam retains its curved shape.
At this point in the process the beam is quite ugly, with hardened glue on the exterior and clamp marks at intervals. The beam is run through a surface planer, a shaper, detail routing, belt sander and then hand sanding before it is recognizable as a Brady-Built Sunroom beam and is ready for finishing.
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