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Anyone know where I can find beams like these in the picture?

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Forum topic by SlimPickins posted 06-11-2013 01:25 AM 1100 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SlimPickins

50 posts in 552 days


06-11-2013 01:25 AM

Hi, what’s up to the jocks!

Years ago, I built a fence using wood such as you see in my attached picture. However, since I built the fence with ugly pressure-treated posts, I want to redo the whole thing with non-PT posts (some better beams from somewhere – 3 1/2×3 1/2). Most of the time in the last few years, when I’ve ordered beams, the lumber yards have failed to deliver on them believe it or not. So what I want to know is, can anyone tell me where

1) The beams in the pic (which are my horizontal fence beams) can be found?

and

2) (This I’m not as worried about) Where can I get 3 new posts – 3 1/2×3 1/2 but made of a nice wood, not
pressure-treated.

It’s a real problem – I am in the process of getting rid of arsenic-riddled wood from our property where we do a lot of gardening. Hopefully, you get the idea from the pics that I just want to replace the whole thing. I do NOT want to use veneers or some substance or thicker pieces over the PT. I want a NEW fence that’s really organic.

Anyway, I really need help. I will be going to my home state of PA soon and there is one or two lumber yards there where I might find the posts. But those beams I show you – they are used on flatbed trucks – they are always made of really nice wood, probably hardwood. By the way, they cannot be used as posts, as they are not quite straight, even though they look like posts.

Thanks.


19 replies so far

View wooddaddy's profile

wooddaddy

13 posts in 1070 days


#1 posted 06-11-2013 02:50 AM

slim, In my area, central pa, there is a guy who removes old buildings such as barns, sheds and houses. Perhaps there is someone near you. Depending on how long you want the posts to last, you choice of wood may be limited. There is a possibility someone who has a portable mill would be interested in custom cutting posts for you and he may have access to various wood species. good luck

-- Floyd, PA

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3107 posts in 1313 days


#2 posted 06-11-2013 03:20 AM

we order cedar posts. They are special ordered and there is a small shipping charge but when you ask for something special you usually have to pay for it. Cedar is rot resistant and nice looking too. We get them through our local lumber yard….a real lumber yard not the big box places.

View bold1's profile

bold1

101 posts in 484 days


#3 posted 06-11-2013 09:48 PM

For the truck cargo bolsters, check with local flatbed truckers or freight companies. A lot of them get more with each new cargo. Depends what they haul and who for. Best wood for posts, IF you can find them are Osage Orange. They outlast even cedar. Call sawmills direct as some lay back odd woods till they have demand for them.

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SlimPickins

50 posts in 552 days


#4 posted 06-12-2013 11:51 AM

Cedar and Osage Orange are both great choices – Osage is hard, cedar is rot-resistant. I just need to get to some sawmills and try another order – I’ll get success sooner or later. And for the flatbed beams, keep trying there too.

Thanks.

View LakeLover's profile

LakeLover

275 posts in 577 days


#5 posted 06-12-2013 12:42 PM

If you can get some Tamarack posts it will outlive you. Rot resistant, have to predrill to nail it.

It is considered a weed tree up here in the frozen north. Ranchers love it as it will keep a big bull contained.

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SlimPickins

50 posts in 552 days


#6 posted 06-12-2013 08:30 PM

There is a guy who supplies tamarack on Craig’s list in Rhode Island – I might try him if I go that route. I DO want hardwood posts. I’m not as worried about the rot resistance. I use tung oil a lot – it might help. Red oak might be not as good a choice but it would last 10 years or so. But the PT – I don’t want it. The horizontal beams are currently protected with teak oil – the wood is so dense that I have to thin it with citrus solvent.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1246 posts in 710 days


#7 posted 06-12-2013 09:02 PM

Just an idea here.... you can broaden the range of wood you are using by using these. By keeping the post out of the ground, combinedwith the ability you mention to finish, and re-finishing should let you use some different woods. BTW… if you do a lot of gardening, and are worried enough about the leaching from simple pressure treated wood, you may want to look at what is leaching off of those asphalt shingles. Read this to help you decide

-- Who is John Galt?

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SlimPickins

50 posts in 552 days


#8 posted 06-12-2013 09:10 PM

Hi Joey, basically I pickle the bottoms of my posts in tar and concrete. I’m happy with that. Thanks.

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SlimPickins

50 posts in 552 days


#9 posted 06-12-2013 09:11 PM

Hi Joey, basically I pickle the bottoms of my posts in tar and concrete. I’m happy with that. Thanks.

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SlimPickins

50 posts in 552 days


#10 posted 06-12-2013 09:12 PM

The concrete makes the fence heavier by the way – more stable for climbing on, harder to push over or steal.

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joeyinsouthaustin

1246 posts in 710 days


#11 posted 06-12-2013 09:19 PM

Interesting… In my experience, in our region, it has been best to allow max drainage. I often set posts in just pounded gravel… When I do crete, I set in a bed of pounded gravel and make sure crete is only on the side to allow drainage and drying between wets. I have only used the oz post in areas around me that have a thick dense clay. They work spectacular for that. (of course we don’t have a frost line so I don’t know ‘bout that) Have you experienced problems with moisture being wicked in and trapped in the tar?? Also I am a little curious about how you may be concerned about the PT lumber, but not what may be in the tar??

-- Who is John Galt?

View redSLED's profile

redSLED

687 posts in 530 days


#12 posted 06-13-2013 02:30 AM

Same issue here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I can’t find in stock EVER any 3.5”x3.5” posts in any big box store/lumberyard that are NOT pressure-treated or cedar. Always a special order. Otherwise I’d have to call around and drive into the country. My rant for the day.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

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SlimPickins

50 posts in 552 days


#13 posted 06-13-2013 11:00 AM

Hi joeyinsouthaustin,

It’s funny, the concrete, even after curing will still be somewhat hydrophillic (absorbing of water). But since the tar is dry already and since it’s not too much water, I guess the posts stay ok. So far, I have not had any fail, but it’s only been about 20 years to test. Not 50. If I pour the concrete down in there and not outside, then I can’t seal the concrete and even if I did, the sealer would wash out eventually. So you have a somewhat valid point. But I have to do what I have to do. Your method’s only real problem is that water can freeze in there. My freeze’s in SE Mass aren’t that buckling, but then again, I use a LOT of concrete at the bases.

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SlimPickins

50 posts in 552 days


#14 posted 06-13-2013 11:12 AM

To redSLED, you hit the nail right on the head what my problem is. I’ve been trying for like 8 years to get a choice other than PT or cedar, and I can’t find them. And when I order them, the order never gets filled. I’ve even had sawmills/lumberyards, refuse to do business with me (for asking I guess?). It’s been a nightmare. When I go to PA, I’ll probably get the problem solved by walking in and making a special order. It will be filled eventually with some species of wood. Most hardwoods are heavy and they can have a tendency to warp during the cutting/kiln drying process. But I’ll work on the species – soft maple would do it. By the way, I DO have Douglas Fir at Lowe’s – they might do the job ok. I just wanted something a little nicer than the fir, and a little less nice than white oak. Kind of like the woods they use for hardwood pallets. But the Canadian pallet companies don’t ever sell to an individual. Only to home depot and it’s their maple in lumber, not in posts. The trees grown up in Canada are perfect lighter hardwoods – if only we could get them. Maybe a private lumber yard could do it – a small one.

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SlimPickins

50 posts in 552 days


#15 posted 06-13-2013 12:19 PM

By the way, one last thing. Woods such as kiln-dried spruce and other pine-like species are acceptable exterior woods. I have lots of southern yellow pine and other pines in my backyard that I simply put some oil like tung, teak, or linseed (turns brown in the sun). If someone wants to give me pine posts, I’ll take them. I just don’t want the chemicals treated into the wood. Stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s make their money by making you think that your fence is gonna fall on a child and crush him.

Whether wood has a Janka hardness of 300 (soft pine), 600 (better pine), or 1200+ (oaks, heart-pine), is not all that important. Some heart pines are even above 1200. Some spruces and southern yellows would make perfectly good post wood and perfectly good fence lumber.

So I’m not against pine to be used outdoors – it breathes well – as long as you don’t put it in the shade and have it always wet.

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