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OT: gardener/woodworkers

specfab

New member
I'm planning to build some planter boxes for my wife. I have done so in the past, using 1x8 pine, and treating them with an innocuous wood sealer from Home Depot (Thopmpson's, maybe). These were about 2' x 6', and ended up falling apart after some years, as you might expect. I didn't paint them. Way too much work...

I am curious about whether expensive wood like teak might hold up "forever", or if I should look for some kind of plastic tub liner.
 

mister honey

Active member
I built several rough sawn cedar window boxes assembled with screws and epoxy.

They lasted +/- 20 years through Ohio summer and winter.

Mike
 

stephen thomas

Active member
Built my wife some out of 2 x 12 PT a couple decades ago. They've been rotting the last 5 yrs but probably have another 5 left, at least. I used 1-1/2" pitch box joints ("finger joints) on the corners, so they are holding fine. Per ergonomics: Originally built as a set of 6, 4' x 8' area when she told me she was tired of a regular garden, but wanted a pretty good area of raised beds. After a few years of that, she told me she wanted them relocated nearer the house and drive, and stacked up. So now there are only 3 beds, but each bed is a stack of 2 boxes, total about 22" deep.

Did you price and source teak recently?
My last teak job was repairs at Dumbarton Oaks. IIRC the teak was close to $40 bd ft. 2 years ago. Looking now, 2 x 12 x 12' teak is almost $50/bd ft. (IOW over $1,000 for that single (2 x 12 - 12')

Local woods that last quite long with full ground contact include Osage orange, and black locust. But they are hard to source in wide planks. White oak with no sapwood included is quite durable. So is black walnut. All are cheaper than Teak, but all are probably past $5/ft, at least. Unless you can harvest on your own woodlot?

Mike - did you use WRC, or local Juniper?

smt
 

AndyF

New member
... or if I should look for some kind of plastic tub liner.

As a former organic farmer who also worked with a lot of home gardeners, I would recommend liners for windowbox planters. If you're building bottomless planters out in your garden, see if you can find some locally milled locust, cedar or even tamarack.
 

henrya

Active member
You could build them out of plastic decking and not worry about it, but they are plastic. Comes in colors, no painting.

Western cedar will last pretty well and its nice to work with, somewhat pricey. But for you being in Arizona, I’d suggest black locust or cypress. Also osage orange as Stephen suggested.

You could also build them with epoxy coated wood, but it gets into a lot of work compared to just screwing some boards together and calling it done.

Or build them from the cheapest locally available material and knock out some fresh ones every couple of years.

The liner idea is a good one too.
 

scsmith42

New member
Domestic species such as black and yellow locust, osage orange (aka Bois d'arc), cypress and the cedars are fairly rot resistant. Slightly less so are white oak and black walnut.

You can also treat lumber yourself by acquiring some copper napthenate (CuNap) and self treating it.
 

Rocketdc

Member
I'm in the liner camp. That way you're free to exert the absolute bare minimum effort, lowest cash outlay and feel good knowing you won't have to revisit this beloved task for years to come since the invisible plastic liner will be the diaper for the wet soil and bugs.
 

specfab

New member
Thanks for all the input, and what seems to be general consensus on the durable woods that could be used. I had considered pressure-treated wood (I assume that is what Stephen Thomas is referring to as "PT"), but I was concerned about the possibility of having edible plants/vegetables growing in that environment, and whether there would be consequences of some sort. I would also assume that the self-treatment could carry some risk, but feel free to disabuse me of that notion. I used some of that stuff before on a few fence posts I put in the ground with concrete footings, and I seem to recall some warnings on the can about some level of toxicity.

I had not priced teak at all, and figured it would be expensive, just not "Holy Crap!" expensive. Ah, well, maybe I've saved the life of a saw blade for now. Building something like this from "permanent" material would fit into part of the current less-consumption philosophy, as in "buy quality, and less often", but of course it does nothing for the supply end of the equation where the teak gets harvested...

I will check out the synthetic deck materials. That looks like it might be a fine application, although I seem to recall that when I priced that stuff some years ago it was good deal more than I had hoped, for whatever the heck I was thinking about at the time.

Regarding the joinery, on the previous editions, I used 2x4 corner reinforcements on the outsides of the corners, with Titebond exterior glue and standard drywall screws, with a center rib support underneath and at each end, and still got a lot of bottom plank distortion over time, so I'll chalk that up to water vs. wood, the age-old battle. I'll need to consider better engineering for that aspect. I would love to make finger joints at the corners, but I'm 68 already, and I don't think I'd get through the project before I croak, and certainly not by this Xmas.;-)
 

Joe Rogers

New member
Stephen, the price for Teak has the conservators for the Iowa class museum ships a bit sideways. The Teak decks are deteriorating and the cost to restore/conserve the ships is eating up budget. They are resorting to a fortified ply with thin Teak boards to simulate the look.
Joe
 

stephen thomas

Active member
Joe -
For narrow boards like decking, they could probably use black locust, if QS, and no one would ever guess.
except for being a lot heavier than teak & far more brash, it has some remarkably similar properties:
starts out green colored, mellows to dark leather. Even, (to me) sometimes catch a whiff that smells very similar. (or maybe that's just when either one pinches the sawblade and they both smell the same burnt....)

:)

There is a lot of waste in getting grade lumber out of a typical locust log, though.

IIRC, the early aircraft carriers had teak decks. That must have been a few forests worth.

smt
 

jtaylor

New member
You could look into a type of treated wood branded "Accoya". There was a big push to introduce it into the USA about 5-6 yrs ago - I believe it is an Australian product made from Radiata Pine that has been treated with acetic acid in some method rendering it highly rot resistant:
What is Accoya? - Accoya Acetylated Wood | High performance, long life modified wood

Large stocks were brought into the US, but I don;t think they really sold well and they may be clearing out these stocks a discounted prices as initially it was pretty expensive - Maybe worth looking into. The wood is completely inert - no poisons etc.
 

kb0thn

Member
I've been using cedar from Menards. Screwed together with 1/4" shank SPAX screws. Oldest raised beds are going on 10 years old and there is rot from the inside, but still pretty solid. I would imagine another 5 to 10 years of service before replacement.
 








 
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