Curved beams are made by clamping glued lamella around an arrangement of clamp frames which are bolted to the floor. Differing radii are achieved by adjusting the clamp layout and using different thicknesses of timber. The thinner the planks are the easier they are to bend which allows tighter radii to be achieved.
As a rule of thumb, the thickness of plank required is the radius ÷ 200 i.e. a nine-metre radius will require a plank thickness of 45mm, but a two-metre radius will require a plank thickness of 10mm. The tighter the radius, the more expensive the beam is, due to the increased material wastage and labour costs.
We can achieve a minimum radius of around one metre by standard production methods. This would use 5mm thick laminates. Any tighter radii are usually made by cutting the curved shape from jointed straight beams.
One of our highest profile projects was featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs. A private house set in Devon’s glorious Blackdown Hills. This project used British grown Larch to form a glulam rib framework which was overclad in timber and glass curtain walling to form the shell of the property.