Nail Laminated Columns

Pole Barn Guru Blog

Ohio Timberland Products, Inc. Nail-Lam “PLUS” Columns

Eric, the managing partner of Hansen Pole Buildings, asked for me to write specifically about these columns, which we happen to neither supply, nor recommend.

Is It A Glulam?On their website (www.OhioTimberland.com) are extolled the “advantages” (at least in their eyes) of these nailed together columns over true glu-laminated columns:

  • Nail-Lams can be easily notched in field for truss connections.
  • No more need to worry about possible long term delamination of plys.
  • Nail-Lams are generally more economical than glu-laminated columns.

I’ve previously written about a very similar product, manufactured by another company: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2015/04/glulam-plus-columns/

The difference between the two being the connection between lower and upper members of individual plies. The UFP (Universal Forest Products) columns utilize steel connector plates, while the Ohio Timberland columns use a finger jointed splice (become finger joint educated at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/05/finger-joints/).

To get more information of the differences between glu-laminated and nail-lam plus columns, I went to the expert, my friend Dale Schiferl (https://www.timber-technologies.com/). Here is what Dale has to say:

“Not all laminated columns are created equal.  I have seen about a dozen different ways to “laminate” a column in the past 20 years.  Everything from truss plates, to nails, to finger joints, to butt joints, to construction adhesive with nails, to gusset plates, to screws, to wire rivets, to bolts and totally glue laminated.  I have also seen a wide array of lumber utilized, from the highest grade of MSR and Select Structural lumber to the lowest grade and species of #2.  Unlike other structural wood components, column manufacturing is like the wild west, standards are not enforced. Basically everybody does what works best or cheapest for them.  It should be important that specifiers and builders understand there are “standards” to how columns are built up, be it nails or glue, and they ask for some verification that the products they are using follow the standards.  The standards were established thru testing by smart people like Dave Bohnhoff and Harvey Manbeck  and thru efforts of the NFBA.  It does not make it ok to build up a column however one chooses just because the standards are not enforced.

I have seen many nail laminated columns used incorrectly on open sided sheds or free standing axial columns.  Nail lam columns require lateral bracing to work correctly, be it girts or face plates.  When a manufacturer adds construction adhesive to a nail laminated column it does not preclude it from being laterally braced.  This is something that specifiers or builders should be aware of thru discussion with their column manufacturer.”

As to my own humble opinion of the Ohio Timberland “advantages”, I offer them here:

Notching for trusses – glu-laminated columns can be ordered without glue in the upper portion of the column. There is no worry about inadvertently cutting into steel through fastener.

Ply delamination – the waterproof adhesive used in a true glu-lam virtually precludes the possibility of delamination. The construction adhesives used in nail-lam plus columns – not so much.

Economy – more product economy comes from the distance a product must be delivered from, or its availability from stocking dealers, than from the raw price of the manufactured product. Quality true glu-laminated post frame columns are available from manufacturers in South Dakota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – allowing for better availability than from a single source in Ohio.

The biggest proof – Hansen Pole Buildings has a track record of only offering the best available products in the industry at competitive prices. We’ve never offered nail-lam plus columns to our clients!

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