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Raised bed garden boxes

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Project by Loren posted 05-03-2013 03:08 PM 1487 views 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Raised bed garden boxes
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I joined the corners with sliding dovetails to ensure the boxes stay square and stay together even as termites and contact with dirt consumes the wood. The wood won’t be chemically treated because they will be used for growing food.

You might think you could just nail or screw the corners together, but as the wood decays screws will lose their grip, especially in soft woods. Screws and nails driven into the ends of a board have little holding power over time. The mechanical lock of the dovetailed corners prevents the corners from spreading in either direction. It is laborious to do it this way and requires considerable skill, but the strength and squareness of the joint makes it worth the trouble here.

In doing the sliding dovetails I do not think I would do it that way again. A through mortise and tenon joint would be easier to put together, though more time to cut. The problem with the sliding dovetails is that it’s hard to fit them well in wood so soft. The short “tusk” on these boards meant I had some short grain breaking off when I glued and hammered/clamped the dovetails closed. The glue swelled the joints a little and started to set too fast as well.

The broken off “tusk” parts were reattached with glue and I put brad nails through them for good measure.

-- http://lawoodworking.com





9 comments so far

View ScottKaye's profile

ScottKaye

286 posts in 605 days


#1 posted 05-03-2013 03:17 PM

very nicely done. I am in the planning stages for something similar. I think I may borrow some from your idea. Im thinking of using eastern red cedar for my boxes. It sells for about $2.50 a bf 4/4 in my area.

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View Loren's profile

Loren

7545 posts in 2300 days


#2 posted 05-03-2013 03:21 PM

I hope you can see that the sides are ship lapped common paneling boards. They are stapled to the frames on the inside. Done this way they can be replaced individually as they rot out.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2950 posts in 938 days


#3 posted 05-03-2013 03:47 PM

I was going to do something like this with old skids. I built mine from 4×4 treated lumber and lined them on the inside. Third year and only one top board is warping, which is easy to replace. I have thought about making a decorative front but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t even cleaned up the dirt I had dumped in front of them yet. lol. Plans plans plans.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2950 posts in 938 days


#4 posted 05-03-2013 03:52 PM

I see you can stack yours to make a larger box. When things get hot in the summer, you might need that depth else the whole thing will dry out. Raised boxes loose moisture at a really high rate. I made mine 2.5 ft tall and they do pretty well holding the moisture. You can also install a soaker hose connection about 8” under the surface, that seems to work best.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View redryder's profile

redryder

2158 posts in 1754 days


#5 posted 05-04-2013 09:11 AM

These planter boxes look sharp.
Always love reading your insight.
Nice photo backdrop…..................

-- mike...............

View Loren's profile

Loren

7545 posts in 2300 days


#6 posted 05-04-2013 04:16 PM

Ha. That’s not the worst of it.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View moshel's profile

moshel

864 posts in 2336 days


#7 posted 06-30-2013 12:23 AM

you could use pegged half lapped joint in the corners. easy to cut and assuming this is not treated timber will probably outlive the box

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1558 posts in 1079 days


#8 posted 01-15-2014 06:48 PM

I have first hand experience of rotted out raised beds. And yes screws are not the real answer they rust, break, and loose their grip. I will be posting an up date to my blog soon.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View moshel's profile

moshel

864 posts in 2336 days


#9 posted 01-15-2014 07:39 PM

I used roof self drilling hex head screws with great success (like http://anujsteelroofing.com/roofix.htm). they are very durable, have amazing grip and reasonably priced. If you dont want to counterbore for the heads, they also have buglehead, but i like the hex head more

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

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