Bowstring Timber Trusses

If you can spare the attention while driving through older urban industrial areas, you will notice a lot of bowed roofs. Most of them, should you get inside and look up, will be supported by bowstring trusses. The curved top chord may be glue laminated, but might just be bent, nailed and bolted planks. The web members can be discrete single timbers or overlaid planks in a lattice configuration. These trusses were economical in spans from forty to one hundred and fifty feet. They are the most efficient form in spans greater than eighty feet. I remember looking up, as I took to the roller rink on a “Honky Night” at the Roxy in Brooklyn, and noting: “Wow, Town Lattice bowstring trusses!” The non-honky taking my admission had not heard this reaction before. I have used glulam timbers in the top chords of a set of these holding the roof in a lovely new sculpture studio in New Hampshire and would welcome any chance to build some more of these lovely roofs.

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