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How thick does the wood need to be for a box?? Toplef10How thick does the wood need to be for a box?? 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

How thick does the wood need to be for a box?? I22gcj10How thick does the wood need to be for a box?? 14dhcg10

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How thick does the wood need to be for a box??

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How thick does the wood need to be for a box?? Empty How thick does the wood need to be for a box??

Post  jymarino 3/27/2011, 3:11 pm

I just got 4 ready to make 4' x 4' x 5.5" beds from my local Big Lots. When I opened the first box I see that the wood is only 3/4" thick. The beds are made out of cedar which I imagine I can put some sort of sealant on to make them last longer as well. I just want to make sure that these will work before I put them all together. Thanks for the help!
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Post  Megan 3/27/2011, 3:47 pm

Mel recommends 1x6 or 2x6 lumber (page 53 of the All-New book). 2x will last longer, 1x is cheaper of course. The 1x and 2x are nominal dimensions only, though. A 1x is only 3/4" thick, and a 2x is 1-1/2" thick. (Reference: http://mistupid.com/homeimpr/lumber.htm). But, he also gives examples of other materials as well. The most important thing is to have something that protects your precious Mel's Mix, prevents it from spilling out, and makes a clear border from walkways so you do NOT step in it. (Never, ever step on MM!)

Sealing your wood is a good idea. Mel recommends sealing the top, bottom and outside of the timber with paint or stain or linseed oil, leaving the part that touches the MM un-treated. (Page 57.)

Hope this helps!
Megan
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Post  jymarino 3/27/2011, 3:54 pm

O.K., that is good to know. The "actual" thickness of the boards on the beds I got today are 3/4" so they are probably considered 1" thick. It looks like it will be sturdy enough once it is put together and it is made with cedar which I think is pretty rot resistant. I may use a Thompson's waterproofing type sealer on the outside but hadn't thought to keep the inside unstained. These boxes were only $25 each and while they aren't the prettiest in the world, putting them together will be a breeze. These days the amount of time something takes is almost as important as the cost. Thanks for your help as always!
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Post  Megan 3/27/2011, 3:57 pm

Welcome! Smile Congrats on your new boxes. You are a couple steps ahead of me. I need to get my lumber out of the truck and painted, lol! Smile
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Post  jymarino 3/27/2011, 4:00 pm

Well they are still sitting in the library inside their original containers though, but putting them together should be easy.
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Post  camprn 3/27/2011, 4:31 pm

I used 2x6" I did not have any bowing of the box boards last summer.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 3/27/2011, 11:54 pm

I don't know that there is a thickness requirement. But, it stands to reason that the thicker the wood, the better it will hold the weight and pressure of the MM trying to ooze out naturally. Longer screws help, too. As does a little rebar or posts/stakes every couple of feet along a length of wood. However, it can all be overkill, too.

You kind of go with what you can afford....and afford to replace in time. I've seen everything being used from scrap wood to cinder blocks to landscaping stones. All you are really trying to accomplish is holding your MM in place.

Hope that makes some sense.....it's starting to get late for me.
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Post  westie42 3/28/2011, 12:30 am

You have been given good info so far. 1" is 3/4" at finish planed thickness. Cedar is a very rot resistant wood. According to USDA a cedar post in the ground should last 16 years and a cedar fence untreated lasts 8-10 years. Pine boards would rot out in 2-3 years. Mel's suggestion of painting all but the inside is real good advice. I am looking for a food safe oil product to coat my 2" x10" cedar planks, I may use food safe linseed oil. But then I am usually a heavy duty skeptic. The rebar idea is excellent and at 4x4 one at midpoint on each side is good. If your corner joints look strong then ok otherwise some metal brackets inside each corner would be best. My boxes are 12' long and will probably will put 18 or 24"rebar every 4' on my 2" thick planks and one midpoint on each end.
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Post  Megan 3/28/2011, 7:16 am

Good points all, westie.

Another thing: If you are using rebar-reinforced conduit trellises, that rebar can do double-duty if it's just outside your box.
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