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Post  treefrog62 2/2/2013, 3:28 pm

Hello, I am hoping to get suggestions from some of you, about what you think works better on how to build my boxes.
I am going to do 2'x2' boxes (8" deep, with 3/8"-1/2" marine plywood bottoms), because they will be on my smallish deck. I want them to be small enough to be arranged, moved (and possibly stored) in the space that I have. I plan on building 6 of these 2 ft. square boxes. So, after reading the All New SFG book, I was going to get all the sides cut the same length - 2', and have rotated corners. My boyfriend, however, is insisting that he thinks it would be better to cut sides of unequal lengths and have 'sides' and 'ends' (hard to describe, but I hope you all know what I mean - 2 shorter sides and 2 longer ends). He thinks it will be stronger this way. My thought is that 2' squares, with bottoms are already going to be fairly strong. And I thought rotated corners would be easier to build.
My other thought was to not only use deck screws, but also corner braces (either inside or outside) to put them together. Then I also saw some boxes that had "reinforced" corners, with what looked like 2"x4"s taller than the box, at each of the corners. And I thought that would be a good place to attach my conduit trellis's.

I know that I am probably overthinking this, and either option is just fine. But, I'd like to know if any of you has had experience with both, that leads you to one style over the other?
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 2/2/2013, 3:44 pm

I am so not an engineer, but my husband builds things to last past the end of the world and this is how he built mine. They are 4x4 with varying heights of the side walls, 6" of Mel's mix in them.

Building boxes, corners - suggestions wanted Photo_19

We happened to have the large timber sized wood available as scrap at no cost. He used "L" brackets to hold the plywood bottoms in and used large posts to raise them up. They are secured by "L" brackets. He reinforced the corners with the same.

Hope this helps. I think you could easily do the overlapping edges and use the brackets to secure them. You're only making 2x2s.
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Post  Turan 2/2/2013, 4:04 pm

I do not like to put a deck screw or nail into end grain and expect it to hold. I use a 2x2 scrap to screw the sides onto, but that does take up inside space which your boxes do not have a lot of. So in your instance I would use a L, or plumber tape pieces (see Hoggar's pics of his boxes) Over lapping etc, that is just esthetics, do what looks best to you.

Have you thought about those cement mixing tubs you can get at big box stores? 20X26X6 @ 5.50 at Lowes....... Some people here have used them especially for table toppers I think. Do a search on the site.

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Post  Gilly21 2/2/2013, 4:14 pm

Adding plywood bottoms negates any other reinforcing your boyfriend suggests. You can predrill and rotate corners with 3" deck screws and your boxes will last as long as the wood will. Adding 90 deg brackets at the top of the corners would be no more than extra measure to prevent the tops from shifting. But do not over think this. It is only a 2x2 box not a watch.
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Post  Lindacol 2/2/2013, 4:28 pm

I saw one of these at my local Lowes last week. It looks interesting and is about the size you are talking about. Plus it includes a watering system.

Building boxes, corners - suggestions wanted 072358123458lg

http://www.lowes.com/pd_48620-1606-2345D_4294778659%2B4294837257__?productId=3341626&Ns=p_product_avg_rating|1&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_avg_rating%7C1&facetInfo=Outdoor
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Post  yolos 2/2/2013, 5:03 pm

I rotate my corners and use corner braces. I am using pine which doesn't last as long as I would like. The ends of the boards are the first thing to rot so I alternate to make it stonger and go overboard with corner braces also. But as a poster above said, maybe only being 2 x 2 you do not have to go to so much trouble.
Building boxes, corners - suggestions wanted Dscn0010
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Post  yolos 2/2/2013, 5:05 pm

Lindacol - I love that planter. I want one.
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Post  bnoles 2/2/2013, 7:10 pm

@yolos wrote:Lindacol - I love that planter. I want one.

yolos... look up Patio Picker. Both Lowes and HD carry them. You will have to adapt the "EARTH BOX" method of growing which is not organic friendly and Mel's mix is out of the question. I have 3 of them in use and the jury is still out.



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Post  Lindacol 2/2/2013, 9:45 pm

@bnoles wrote:
@yolos wrote:Lindacol - I love that planter. I want one.

yolos... look up Patio Picker. Both Lowes and HD carry them. You will have to adapt the "EARTH BOX" method of growing which is not organic friendly and Mel's mix is out of the question. I have 3 of them in use and the jury is still out.




There have been several on this forum who have used self watering set ups with Mel's mix successfully.
https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t8199-anyone-using-mm-in-self-watering-containers
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Post  treefrog62 3/2/2013, 12:12 pm

Well, I decided to change my plans a little, and decided on three 2'x4' boxes instead. And I also just went with my boyfriends suggestion of not rotating the corners. I found a local lumber company that sells untreated/unfinished cedar for gardens. I bought six 24" long 2x8 boards and six 44" long. So the insides aren't going to be 24"x48", just the outside dimensions. I also bought 3/4" marine plywood for the bottoms.
I went with three 4" deck screws on each corner, and used 3" exterior wood screws for the bottom. In between the three deck screws, I did two corner brackets, on the interior of the corners (like yolos picture).

I'll try to get a picture up - I have to transfer them from my phone.
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Post  bnoles 3/2/2013, 1:04 pm

It certainly sounds like you have all the bases covered for a very sturdy box. They should last you a long time.

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Post  growing green 3/2/2013, 1:14 pm

Hi Everyone,

I have a question about corner splitting. I have read Mel's ANSFG and for box construction he says to use 3 deck screws to connect the corners. I live in an area where the winters are cold and the soil is prone to freezing and thawing. I have seen that other people use metal brackets and small posts out of 2x2s, 2x4s, or even 4x4s to better connect the corners. Is any of this necessary? Do I need to brace the corners better so they don't come apart (and if so what should I use) or is 3 deck screws in each corner enough.

Thanks in advance Smile
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Post  llama momma 3/2/2013, 1:21 pm

My first and oldest untreated pine bed is close to 3 years old. It's 4 x 8 by 12 inches tall. The corners were rotated and the inside corners each have 4-1/2" long brackets. I would say the quality of the bed is the same as the day it was made, even with all the weight from a foot tall of mel's mix.The corners show no sign of separation.
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Post  RoOsTeR 3/2/2013, 1:37 pm

Just for fun, here's a couple of images of different types of brackets that could be used. There's also a bunch that don't really pertain at all, but just seeing some examples of some brackets that are available may be helpful Very Happy
https://www.google.com/search?q=metal+brackets+for+wood+corners&hl=en&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS511US511&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=I0YyUfeYC6muyQHYnIG4AQ&ved=0CFcQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=909

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Post  yolos 3/2/2013, 1:48 pm

I am using untreated pine 2 x 10". The first thing to start to rot are the very ends. If you rotate the sides as Mel says, there will be screws sticking into the end pieces. The end pieces are the weak link where the screws will pull out first. I built a 4 x 4 compost bin out of 3/4" pine and within one year the screws were pulling out of the ends. This is what I use now.

Building boxes, corners - suggestions wanted Dscn0010

This particular bed is for my strawberries which I am calling a permanent bed so I made it extra strong. 2 x 12" pine treated with raw linseed oil. I rotated the sides and used deck screws to connect the corners then, as overkill, I put in the braces.
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Post  llama momma 3/2/2013, 2:09 pm

Rooster
Didn't see the brackets on the link you shared. Maybe this kind is overkill, I don't know..they are 4-1/2 inches long.
Building boxes, corners - suggestions wanted New_sf10
This is my better half making more boxes today, you can see the box in the foreground has the brackets installed. I've been grinning since he started.. What a Face
Building boxes, corners - suggestions wanted New_sf11
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Post  donnainzone5 3/2/2013, 2:28 pm

llama momma,

Is that 12" lumber? I asked a handyman to make me some 2' x 4' x 12" boxes for my potatoes, carrots, and leeks, and he reported that he couldn't find any 12" cedar lumber.
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Post  bnoles 3/2/2013, 2:48 pm

One of the least expensive, yet most effective methods I have found to secure the outside corners is to use hanger strapping.

Hanger Strapping
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Post  llama momma 3/2/2013, 2:56 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:llama momma,

Is that 12" lumber? I asked a handyman to make me some 2' x 4' x 12" boxes for my potatoes, carrots, and leeks, and he reported that he couldn't find any 12" cedar lumber.

Yes D10, it is 12" but untreated pine, not cedar.
And BobN, I have seen that stuff but it looks so soft so I passed it up, but now I suppose it is very sturdy stuff!
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Post  Turan 3/2/2013, 3:25 pm

I use 2x4 cedar boards to make my beds. I stack them 3 high. That is then 10.5 inches tall. A 2x12 is 11.25 " high. I have seen 2x12 redwood but it was very expensive.

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Post  treefrog62 3/3/2013, 5:45 pm

Let's see if I can post a picture of the first box we built.
Building boxes, corners - suggestions wanted Img_0110
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Post  treefrog62 3/3/2013, 5:56 pm

Yay, that worked.
Okay - so here is one of the end corners.

Building boxes, corners - suggestions wanted Img_0111

And here is the inside corner.

Building boxes, corners - suggestions wanted Img_0112

And my boyfriend made the other two boxes for me last night (while I was sleeping) - wasn't that wonderful of him? So today I made up some Mel's Mix, it should be enough to fill one box. I made it in a 50 gallon trash can, using three 5 gallon buckets. One to mix the compost and then one each for vermiculite and peat moss. I am so excited!
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Post  bnoles 3/3/2013, 6:23 pm

You have every reason to be excited and looks like you are off to a wonderful start.
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Post  Kelejan 3/3/2013, 9:18 pm

treefrog62. Hang on to that guy. He's useful to have around. Laughing
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Post  TN_GARDENER 3/4/2013, 5:56 pm

@treefrog62 wrote:Let's see if I can post a picture of the first box we built.
Building boxes, corners - suggestions wanted Img_0110

Nice box.

That thing is built to withstand the apocalypse with 8 inside corner brackets, 3 lag bolts & a plywood bottom. Heck, one of those 3 things would probably be sufficient.
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