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Think Wood | DLT Sample: StructureCraft
Dowel-laminated timber (DLT) is common in Europe and is gaining traction in the U.S. for its ease of use with computer-controlled (CNC) machinery—such as lathes, routers and mills—and its all-wood composition. DLT is similar to nail-laminated timber (NLT). Instead of nails or screws, however, DLT uses wood dowels to join laminations.
DLT is a next-generation mass timber product that allows for significant architectural flexibility and is well-suited for horizontal spans. Because DLT does not use nails or screws, it is easier and safer to mill and route. The lack of an adhesive is also attractive for projects looking to maximize the use of wood.
To form DLT members, softwood lumber panels are stacked like NLT and are friction-fit together with hardwood dowels. The dowels hold the boards together, and the friction fit, achieved by the differing moisture content of the softwood panels and the hardwood dowels, affords additional dimensional stability.
In application, DLT performs similarly to glulam and NLT. Because its grains run in one direction, DLT is best suited for flooring and roofing applications. The dowels can also be inserted diagonally, offering additional resistance.
DLT panels can readily be CNC routed for pre-integrated electrical and other service conduits. The ability to easily mill and route DLT lets designers add features to improve a project’s acoustics and add visual appeal, such as through the addition of curves and kerfs. Acoustical strips can be integrated into the bottom surface of a DLT panel, helping designers mitigate sound while keeping the wood exposed and allowing for a variety of surface finishes.
Growing interest in DLT means continued innovation is likely—and with that, greater product availability to U.S. architects and designers.
DLT is still nascent in the U.S., but it features prominently in projects in Europe, including the Pulpit Rock Mountain Lodge in Strand, Norway. The 24-room hotel is shaped by prefabricated floor, wall and roof panels made of DLT, and it is designed to let visitors take in views of the breathtaking natural landscape that surrounds the site. Learn more about how DLT was used in this project by visiting the website of its architect, Norway-based Helen & Hard. Read more.
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