Peeled Logs And Glulams Frame Outdoor Store

Edited by Paul Fournier | September 28, 2010

Cabela's Incorporated, said to be the largest direct marketer, and one of the largest retailers, of hunting, fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities has just completed its first store in New England and is rapidly finishing a second one in the region.

Norwood Company recently put the finishing touches on Cabela's East Hartford, Conn., store, a two-story, 185,000-square-foot structure — one of its largest — featuring the rustic trademark look of timber framing that marks the 26 Cabela stores already open across America. An additional seven are under construction.

In this region, a second, smaller, store is under construction in Scarborough, Maine, by FELDCO Development Corp. at the Gateway, a mixed-use retail, commercial and office space development. This Cabela's is expected to be completed in spring 2008.

Unlike many of the smaller, earlier outlets, the East Hartford store has two floors, but resembles other Cabela stores with its exposed long-span, glued laminated timber (glulam) roof trusses and glulam roof decking. Laminated wood decking serves as both a structural roof and finish interior ceiling, while the decking is covered with insulation board and a metal roof.

The glulam roof trusses, supplied by Unadilla Laminated Products of Unadilla, N.Y., span 60 feet with 8-1/2-inch top and bottom chords. Parallel, 44-foot trusses with 8-1/2-inch chords support glulam trusses and a portion of the building's steel framing. Glulams, described as stress-rated engineered wood product made from wood laminations bonded with waterproof adhesive, are said to eliminate the use of large, old-growth trees to fabricate structural elements.

A framework of peeled logs, provided by Montana Idaho Log Corporation, enhances the main entrance and alerts customers to the outdoor ambiance of the store's interior. Natural light enters the structure through an 18-foot by 174-foot central skylight running the length of the roof.

Designers note that furring, sheathing and finishing can be eliminated with glulam construction, reducing costs. Timber also avoids the cost of fireproofing and minimizes the number of required interior columns.

Inside the store are numerous wildlife displays including aquariums, taxidermic animals and natural habitat dioramas. A large mountain replica inside can be climbed, and the parking lot holds more than 1,000 cars. There is also a restaurant, art gallery and firearm training system in the new store.

In Scarborough, contractors are headed for a spring finish for New England's second Cabela's store. This 130,000-square-foot store will serve as anchor for the Gateway, which will include about 68,600 square feet of complementary retail space, three 6,000-square-foot restaurants, a 4,000-square-foot bank, a 200-room hotel, and approximately 80,000 square feet of professional office space. When completed, the entire project will consist of more than 10 separate buildings and a network of roads and pedestrian walkways, plus such landscape features as ponds and fountains.