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Material of the Month: February 2017 – Brettstapel

Why it inspired us…

As a young vampire, I often had to avoid timber yards with all those hardwood dowels lined up. On somedays I even expected a very nasty accident to happen. This changed when German engineer Julius Natterer invented Brettstapel. You could hear the cheers around the land as the vampire population rejoyced this new use of dowels or stakes as they preferred to call them. Ok so there might be some fabrication to this story, but much like Brettstapel it is low carbon! In the early days it was made from nails and turned low grade timber into a viable building material. As technology developed, so did Brettstapel by using angled wooden dowels to strenghten it.

Why we would like it to inspire you…

This relatively simple method of construction does not use glues or nails and can be used to make beautiful, low carbon, healthy buildings that are quick and easy to build. With Brettstapel normally manufactured entirely out of untreated timber, it is important to stress that glue is not necessary. The exclusion of glue and nails (which are seen in other solid timber systems) means a healthier indoor air quality can be achieved, while the timber itself locks in vast amounts of carbon dioxide without emitting harmful toxins found in other materials.


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A solid timber construction system, it has no glues or nails. Fabricated from softwood timber posts connected with hardwood timber dowels which have a moisture content lower than the posts; over time the dowels expand locking the timber together.

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