There are pros and cons to using solid sawn beams versus glue laminated timber. Natural timber beams have several limitations. First, they are generally straight. They can have curves cut into them, but care has to be taken to leave enough continuous grain so the timber is now weakened structurally. Second, they “check” or crack as the wood dries out and shrinks. Both of these limitations are considered beautiful and are desired by many interior designers, but for people who do not care for the checking, or who want long graceful curved beams, glulam timbers are an option. Layers of one inch boards are laid up and glued together to form a beam – the result is stable, does not check, and is very strong.