This project was carried out to derive the characteristic bending strength of beech glulam. 47 full size glulam beams with combined symmetrical lay-up were produced. For this purpose mechanical grading was used to classify the lamellae according to the dynamic MOE. The beams were tested according to EN 408. The bending strength exceeds 44.5 N/mm2. The structural properties of beech boards were determined as input for a finite-element-based computer model. It was specifically developed to predict the bending strength of beech glulam. Comparisons between the experimental data and the analytical results from the computer model show a good agreement. Depending on the bending strength of finger joints and the tensile strength of boards design proposals were numerically derived taking into account visual and/or mechanical grading.