Artificial wood makes it affordable and practical to add authentic-looking wooden beams to your home – but they go further than that. With products like our Tuscany Arched Beams and Woodland Beams, you can add an architectural flair to your interior that would be difficult – and prohibitively expensive – to achieve with real wood.
Making the Impossible Easy with Arched Beams
The church at Honfleur, on the north coast of France, features a roof boasting dozens of intricately curved wood beams.
One of the toughest jobs in carpentry has always been bending wood. Hundreds of years ago, the immense beams used to construct sailing ships, cathedrals and houses often had to be bent into shape and that took many hours of laborious, often dangerous, work to accomplish.
Today, machines and technology have helped make the process quicker and more efficient; but still use the same principles shipbuilders have been practicing for over a thousand years.
The problem, of course, is that beams tend to be straight – at least as straight as the trees they were cut from. Theoretically, you can cut curved shapes out of that wood, but given the width of most marketed trees, that limits the amount of curve you could achieve by cutting alone.
More commonly, carpenters use the same methods they’ve been using for centuries – saturating a wooden beam in water or steam and painstakingly bending it by machine press millimeter by tortuous millimeter.
As a result, curved beams combine not just the impracticability of real timber beams – weight and mounting issues – but add a prohibitive extra layer of cost to account for the hundreds of man-hours it took to bend the beam into shape.
That means arched beams tend only to be seen in the most upscale of properties; carefully designed interior and exterior spaces in which no expense was spared, and nothing less than the best was acceptable.
For the home improvement enthusiast, however, faux wood offers an affordable way to bring that same layer of sophistication into their own home transformation project, but at a fraction of the cost.
Products like the Tuscany Arched Beam were molded directly from real, painstakingly curved timber – then recreated in lightweight, tough polyurethane. This combines the beautiful appearance of real wood with a lightweight casting that can easily be added to a ceiling with little more than screws.
What really sets these beams apart in this instance, however, are the range of things you can do with one that you’d never be able to achieve with the solid wood variety - like creating ornate wood truss designs that wouldn't look out of place inside a church or castle.
As another example, the Tuscany Arched Beam could easily be modified and fitted with recessed lighting – casting beautiful spotlights on the floor below. The wiring can be hidden seamlessly inside the beam's hollow U-shape – and cutting the holes for the recessed bulbs takes nothing more than a power drill with a hole cutter attachment.
Given that many of our customers claim that our beams are impossible to tell from the real thing once installed, the additional range of possibilities they offer seem to make them a logical – and practical, cost-effective and stylish – alternative to real curved wood beams.