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What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

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What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  jymarino on 3/26/2011, 11:06 am

I am hoping to make some boxes this weekend, even before I have the book in my hands. I was thinking that getting 2" x 36" x 8' boards would work to make the boxes, but I didn't take into account the that when they cut them at the lumber place they just do a straight cut not a diagonal cut. I don't have an electric saw so it might be hard to make a diagonal cut so I was going to just screw them together edge to edge. If I do this it will either be a bit to big or a bit too small. Any suggestions on how to do this easily and have the right size? My other alternative is to buy four of the cedar 4 ' x 4' beds that Big Lots is selling this week for $25 each. Any advice is appreciated!

Jennie

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  quiltbea on 3/26/2011, 11:10 am

Don't worry about the couple of inches that might be lost with lumber cut in 4' lengths.
It just has to be approximately 4 by 4, it doesn't have to be exact.
The plants won't mind being short-changed a little.

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/26/2011, 11:16 am

For a video how to Patti Moreno aka GardenGirl is great.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPrMvItUIuQ

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  boffer on 3/26/2011, 11:39 am

@jymarino wrote: I was thinking that getting 2" x 36" x 8' boards would work to make the boxes

I'm not quite sure what you mean there. Usually, two 2x6x8' are cut in half and used to make a 4x4 box. As QB said, they will be a little shy on the inside, but that's not a problem.

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  laurieann on 3/26/2011, 12:01 pm

If you want true 4X4, why not use 2" X 2" stakes as your corner pieces, screwing those into the ends of your boards? I'd probably reinforce with L-brackets for strength.

What I want to know is where do you fing 2" X 36" boards? Haven't seen those at our local Home Depot.

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  quiltbea on 3/26/2011, 4:09 pm

The 2" is the thickness of the board.
As in 2" X 12" x 12'. A 12" wide board, 2" thick and 12 feet long.

You can buy a 12' board and have Home Depot cut it anyway you like.
Cutting one of them in equal 3 ft lengths will make one square raised bed, 3' x 3'.

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Raised Bed Corners

Post  barmstr on 3/26/2011, 4:27 pm

If your worried about the corners, go to Gardners Supply. They have corners that are easy to use. A little expensive but they work.

Good luck
Bruce

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  Megan on 3/26/2011, 7:35 pm

@quiltbea wrote:The 2" is the thickness of the board.
As in 2" X 12" x 12'. A 12" wide board, 2" thick and 12 feet long.

You can buy a 12' board and have Home Depot cut it anyway you like.
Cutting one of them in equal 3 ft lengths will make one square raised bed, 3' x 3'.

Umm... actually a 2 x 12 x 12 is 1.5 x 11.25 x 12. But the length is "actual". (Reference: http://mistupid.com/homeimpr/lumber.htm)

Also, if you want to keep the box truly "square", don't forget to rotate your corners.

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  jymarino on 3/26/2011, 10:50 pm

Thanks everyone for the feedback, it is very helpful. I was very tired and in a hurry this morning so it didn't make total sense what I was trying to say. I am planning to get 5 8" x 2" x 12' boards, cut them each in three pcs to make the 4' x 4' boxes. Alternatively I'll just make 3' x 3' boxes. Like I said before, I don't have the book yet so I don't have all the specifics on how to construct the boxes and how exact the sizing has to be. I am a little confused on what it means to "rotate my corners" to make it truly square.

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  Megan on 3/26/2011, 10:59 pm

Hi jymarino. Rotate the corners means... let's see if I can explain this without a diagram. (Mel has a great one in his book!)

Looking down from the top (bird's eye view):

If you lay two boards down vertical (north to south)...and then lay two more east to west, above and below the two "vertical" ones, you are not going to be square. North to south, you will be a little longer than side to side. It won't be square.

Hold out your left hand straight in front of you, and touch your right-hand fingers into the palm of your left hand.

If you butt together all your joints like you just did your hands, and your boards are all the same length and thickness, your box will be square. You can poke your left hand into your right, or your right hand into your left, it doesn't matter, just do all four corners the same.

Does that help??? I hope so! If not, please let me know and I'll try to make you a diagram.


Last edited by Megan on 3/26/2011, 11:04 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : assorted minor clarifications)

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  jymarino on 3/26/2011, 11:15 pm

Megan,

Thanks! It didn't make sense until I just did an example with my 5 yo's legos. My next question is how much lumber do I actually need to get a 4' x 4' bed? For example, if I used 4 legos with 4 dots on the top and squared it like you described then I get a 2 x 2 square. Will 4' x 8" x 2" thick boards work or do I need longer ones? I realize the legos aren't really to scale for what I am doing, but it sure helped to be able to figure out that squaring issue. I am a very visual and kinesthetic (sp?) learner so diagrams and examples help a lot.

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  Megan on 3/26/2011, 11:36 pm

You're very welcome!

I am very visual myself; I have to rotate images in my head even before I head to CAD for my daily work, to make sure that I've (literally) covered all the angles.

First thing you need to know is that modern lumber is not the dimension it says it is. It is typically cut full-size but then shrinks down. A nominal 4"x2"x8" is actually 3-1/2"x1-1/2"x8". I.e. The lengths are actual; the height and thickness are not. (Antique lumber may actually be full size, but it's much more expensive.)

SFG boxes are generally constructed with modern lumber, so you are working with those dimensions I stated previously. Keep the lengths at 4 foot, and you should be good. (We could get into an discussion here about whether the 4 foot dimension should be the outside of the box, the inside of the box, or the midline of the timbers of the box... but honestly, that is a bit too OCD for me. SFG is supposed to be EASY, so just cut them at 4 foot as he suggests and you will be good.. Plants will not throw a hissy at 1/2" off.)

Your question about lumber is actually really germane and funny for me because I just got my lumber today. I paid for 12 pcs of 2x6x14 which were mostly 16-ft plus (reclaimed lumber) and a 2x6x8 that was also a bit off. I got it at a steal because it was reclaimed, but generally "long" lumber is more expensive. Long boards produce more waste overall when you try to chisel that shape out of a small tree. So, you are probably better off (less $$) trying to get a 4x4 box out of a couple of 8 ft pieces of lumber than out of a single 16 footer, but by all means price it first to see.

If you are getting reclaimed lumber, here is what I learned today:
* make sure you are not buying ANTIQUE lumber, as it is MUCH more expensive.
* look out for rafter notches and open knots and other defects (crowning, cupping, bowing); some may be acceptable but you may want to cut it in shorter lengths
* length is rarely spot-on; measure from the factory end if you can ID one, or cut off a fresh end and measure from there and cut off the scrap end.
* Make sure you eat at Five Guys when you are done! Very Happy


Last edited by Megan on 3/26/2011, 11:40 pm; edited 3 times in total

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box sizes

Post  westie42 on 3/26/2011, 11:37 pm

I opted to leave my 12' cedar 2X10 planks uncut so have my beds at 4'X12'. That saved me actually 16 feet in combined end piece lengths since 3 boxes at 4'x4' would have a 48' circumference and now my 1 box at 12'x4' has 32' circumference. That is ok if you want one longer box over 3 at 4x4. That is how I am starting out in part it saves me over $50 for 2"x10" cedar and gives me back 6 inches for planting space from the left out cross pieces. Several do it this way but I may add some 4x4 or 4x8 boxes later on. The only drawback I can see is less ends for plant overhang and possibly a little tighter access to middle rows in the middle of the box but it still seemed better for my case. I will only have 4 cells with a little bit missing rather than 12 of them cut down due to end pieces. Actually I was very fortunate that a lumber yard had some weathered cedar 2"x10" boards that they sold me at 60% off, well cedar barely is affected by weather so that was a no brainer. They also gave me 10' pieces for my ends so mine will be 4'6" wide by 12' length. I get to add rather than subtract from my cubes or have a forbidden ROW on the north side for something else. It is not recommended to go wider than 4' but I don't feel I can pass up the altered size. Finally mine are 10" tall but I will just pay the price for more MM now and see how they work out. I am building 2 of these for my first go round at SFG. My next ones will possibly be different if that seems better for any need or reason. Hope this rambling helps. And i would appreciate any comments on my sizes.



'

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  Glendale-gardener on 3/26/2011, 11:53 pm

When you go go to buy your lumber, sometimes, they'll trick you by being "almost" flat(not too noticeably warped). So take each one out one at a time and lay it on the floor in front of the rack. Usually the floor is nice and level, so if you look at it, and flip it over and look again, you should see anything significant that would make your build job more difficult. Look for a bow in the middle or one of the ends not touching the floor.

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  Megan on 3/26/2011, 11:57 pm

You can also hold it up along its short edge (the 2" edge, in this case) and sight down it to look for any bowing. And/or lay another board down alongside. Etc.....

We took the worst boards today and chopped them up into 2 foot pieces. They will work GREAT on my potato box! Very Happy

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  jymarino on 3/26/2011, 11:59 pm

I do remember doing that trick when I was building an A frame trellis last year. So many of the boards were warped it was amazing. Thanks for the reminder!

If I go to somewhere like Home Depot, where will I ask about unclaimed lumber?

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

Post  Megan on 3/27/2011, 12:03 am

Reclaimed lumber is a recycling kind of thing that is not generally sold at big box stores. My suggestion is you Google something along the lines of the name of your hometown (or county, etc) and "recycled building materials".

What I got today was probably 1/4 the cost of new. It is a bit beat up but still good...and it's beautiful wood, too. I still want to price out to see exactly how much I saved. We pulled the lumber out ourselves, carried it to the loading dock (got some help there) and loaded it in the truck ourselves.

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Re: What dimensions of wood are needed for a 4'x4' box?

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