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Forum topic by Tedstor posted 04-03-2011 11:33 PM 3783 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tedstor

1505 posts in 1378 days


04-03-2011 11:33 PM

Unothodox question for an unorthodox project.
I’m building a walkway from my back door to the gate in my backyard. I live in a townhome, and my backyard is only about 20 ft deep. I’m definitely trying to keeep this project cheap and easy. My neighbor had a shipload of landscape timbers for a project he decided to abort and sold some of them to me for peanuts. I’m going to build a deck-like walkway runing the timbers longwise along the path, with a pressure treated 4×4 placed widthwise every 4 ft to elevate the timbers. Anyway, as you probably know, landscape timber is not a very refined product. WHile most of them have very few spits, the faces of the lumber is rough, wavy, and splinter city.
I could hit the bpards with a portable belt sander, but is there any reason I might stray away from the idea of running them through a thickness planer?? The current set of blades in TP is probably 75% through its servicable life, and I have 5 sets I bought for $5 each waiting in que, if that would sway your decision.
Obviously, board to board, the belt sander might seem the obvious choice, but I’m thinking the TP might make it easier to maintain (or establish) uniform thickness from timber to timber. But I’ve never tried planing anything like that before.
What say you???
Oh, and feel free to rec a good ext coating to keep these from rotting overnight.


13 replies so far

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Loren

7822 posts in 2393 days


#1 posted 04-04-2011 01:42 AM

I’m not sure what you mean by “landscape timber”.

If the lumber is treated, saw and sanding dust from it will be
toxic.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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Tedstor

1505 posts in 1378 days


#2 posted 04-04-2011 02:17 AM

sorry. Might be a regional term. Anyway:

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crank49

3506 posts in 1716 days


#3 posted 04-04-2011 05:34 AM

All of those type timbers I have ever seen were pressure treated. Like Loren said, that stuff is toxic so I wouldn’t want to power plane or sand it. It is also corrosive and the juice that will be slung out when planing it will eat your machine.

If I understood your post you are planning to make a walkway surface out of this stuff. You better use galvanized carridge bolts to attach it as it tends to warp and twist as it dries out.

God luck. Tell us how it works out.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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superstretch

1509 posts in 1438 days


#4 posted 04-04-2011 05:46 AM

I laid a bunch of those down last year and yes, I call them landscape timbers. They are PT usually and I can’t imagine that their moisture content is anywhere less than the “cover all your tools in goo” category. They are a rustic creature and, if forced to mill them, would probably just resaw them (would probably take forever).

Actually, if you rip them down the middle and flip them on the cut edge, they might make a nice edging that way too (so the round edge was facing up)

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

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Tedstor

1505 posts in 1378 days


#5 posted 04-04-2011 05:56 AM

I knew about the toxic dust, but was prepared to mitigate that with a full-face respy. The corrosive properties of the chemicals is news to me though. I’m not really willing to sacrifice any of my current tools. I might have to shop around on CL or Harbor Freight and look for a throw away belt sander. The planer or any other shop machine is defintiely not in the cards now.
Thanks fellas.

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David Grimes

2072 posts in 1385 days


#6 posted 04-04-2011 07:30 AM

A suggestion: If you are only going 20 feet in length and 3 or 4 feet wide ???, then run three rows of the landscape timbers the 20’ length on the ground and butted together (joints staggered). Scratch around in the dirt as needed to level or smooth as you go.

Then, run the top landscape timbers treads side to side one ofter the other. Pre-drill and use 60D galvanized ring shanks. This will last for years and will be comfortable enough to walk on. If any are really gnarly or need some adjustment, either shim as you go and/or do the respy thing and use a belt sander as needed.

No finish required, but in a few years, pressure wash the stew out of it and try out the new Deck Restore product. I can’t wait to use it on my gazebo.

Good luck.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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TopamaxSurvivor

15065 posts in 2421 days


#7 posted 04-04-2011 07:38 AM

If the galvanized bolts or nails are just holding them in place on the ground they might be fine, but the latest treated timbers have copper of something that will react and corrode them. Better check for approved fasteners.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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David Grimes

2072 posts in 1385 days


#8 posted 04-04-2011 09:43 AM

The old ones had copper and arsenic and cyanide and all kind of good stuff and I never saw a 60 D ring shank corrode through. Yeah, if you’re building column centers out of 4/4 or l;arger with corrosive treated, use stainless 12 or 16 ring shanks, but for the love of Pete… go look at a 60 D ring shank ! Be afraid only of falling or stepping on one.

“Children, Do NOT run with a 60 D ring shank in your hands.”

Just trying to help, Tedstor. Have done this exact thing for myself and others before. And will again. But it is advice, so take it or leave it.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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TopamaxSurvivor

15065 posts in 2421 days


#9 posted 04-04-2011 10:28 AM

We had some baffles rebuilt with treated lumber a few years ago after there was a change in the treatment process. Galvanized hangers could not be in contact with the wood. Special screws had to be used. I have been told that the process has been changed again. Real outdoor remodeler’s nightmare to know which screws and hangers to use ;-(( Guess ya’ll will have to carry a chem test kit ;-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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superstretch

1509 posts in 1438 days


#10 posted 04-04-2011 04:00 PM

When I bought mine last year, 8’-ers cost like $2.50. I got some 12” galvanized steel spikes, drilled holes through each end of the timbers. I’m not so concerned about them rotting out.. I have a few left over and $2.50 isn’t hard to swing.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

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Gregn

1642 posts in 1728 days


#11 posted 04-04-2011 05:26 PM

If the timbers are still wet I wouldn’t do any planning or sanding until after they had dried out, and I would use the fasteners made for pressure treated materials. As stated they will twist and warp as they dry, which is why they say to install and allow to dry out before finishing. I would build the walk way first and counter sink the fasteners so that after it had dried out you could hand plane for smoothness, then finish with a deck stain for easy maintenance later on as the finish wears you can just apply a new coat of deck stain.

One other thing I would do if it were me is, I would make a bed of pea gravel for the walk way to set on to aid in draining water away from the wood walk way when it rains.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Gofor's profile

Gofor

470 posts in 2532 days


#12 posted 04-05-2011 03:10 AM

Guess I’m in the minority here:

I have run treated lumber through my thickness planer, used a powered hand planer, hand planed it, used a router on it, and have never had corrosion problems with tools other than the cast iron top on my table saw (don’t let treated wood sit on it over night), nor have had health side effects. I do clean the tools after using them, especially if the wood is moist.

It is frequently cut with miter saws and circular saws by thousands of people (me included) without serious health problems. That said, use common sense precautions like a dust mask if sanding, wash hands before eating, dust the chips off clothes before going in to hug the wife and kids, etc.

Some suggestions though:

1. Check the timbers closely for metal (staples, screws, etc).
2. Clean off the surfaces with a stiff brush to remove grit, etc.

Both the above will quickly dull/ruin the blades of any tool.

The wood will machine much better if you stack it with spacers under shelter and let it dry thoroughly for a couple weeks. If its wet it will tear readily, and will most likely crack after it dries.

For fasteners, cold-dipped galvanized (the dull, thick-costed looking ones, not the bright ones) lag, carriage, or machine bolts/nuts will last the longest. For thinner items, galvanized ring shanked nails or coated deck screws will last well. Stainless is great, but expensive.

As for the chemicals, the treated lumber now is either ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quarternary compound) or MCQ (Micro Copper Quarternary compound), both which do contain high amounts of copper, usually with an ammonia based solvent. When wet the copper and ammonia can cause corrosion if left on the tools for a while, but are no more corrosive than the tannic acid in oak. Neither contain the hexavalent chrome or arsenic which made the older treated lumber so toxic.

Caveat: If the lumber is stamped CCA treated (Chromated Copper Arsenic), which has been banned in most if not all states since the mid 1990’s, then it will pose a more serious health threat although it will last years longer in the ground.

JMTCW

Go

-- Go http://ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=730

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David Grimes

2072 posts in 1385 days


#13 posted 04-05-2011 07:14 AM

Excellent post, Gofor. One thing to add: As you go through the stack of timbers you will feel the varying weight of the timbers due mostly to moisture content… the heavy ones are full of water and the light ones are dryer. Of course, the same goes for treated lumber as well. Get the dryer ones.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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