Working with pressure-treated cedar - Router Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-22-2012, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Default Working with pressure-treated cedar

Hey guys - I'm a complete newbie at this woodworking stuff, but I'm excited to try. First up, I need to keep my dog out of the garden bed so I'm raising it. Today I bought eight 5/8" cedar fence pickets (5.5"x6 feet) and a 4x4x8' pressure-treated cedar post from Home Depot.

The plan is to cut either a dovetail or straight groove down two sides of the post to accept the ends of the cedar planks (cut to match, if I go with the dovetail). The posts will go into the ground to make the four corners of a simple raised garden bed.

Thing is, the cedar post felt awfully moist. Is there any need to wait for it to dry or something before I cut into it? Also, is pressure-treated cedar still just as decay-resistant after I've cut into it?

Oh, and if anyone wants to comment on my garden bed design, I'm open to suggestions...especially inexpensive ones.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-22-2012, 08:33 PM
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Pressure treating doesn't go right thru. Best to paint any cuts or drilled holes with end cut preservative. It's pretty cheap as a rule.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 06:27 AM
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Just completed 5 raised beds like the ones you described. Only difference, I used 2 x 4 instead of 4 x 4. Routed a grove on them on the router table. The small side is a little thin and several cracked when I put the screws in to hold them together. The last one I didn't route, just attached the face boards to the 2 x 4s and it proves to be a stronger bond. Good luck with your garden.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 08:30 AM
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It was never mentioned what kind of garden it was that you were working with and my first thought was a vegetable garden. If that is the case I wouldn't suggest using any type of pressure treated lumber due to the chemicals being released into the soil around the garden. Even though they say that it's getting safer I'm not using it around garden until they say it's 100% safe.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 08:46 AM
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Default treated wood & veggie garden

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Originally Posted by krablins View Post
It was never mentioned what kind of garden it was that you were working with and my first thought was a vegetable garden. If that is the case I wouldn't suggest using any type of pressure treated lumber due to the chemicals being released into the soil around the garden. Even though they say that it's getting safer I'm not using it around garden until they say it's 100% safe.
YES: the lovely garden that came with my house is totally unsafe for eatibles. The people before burned treated wood and dumped the ashes on the veggie garden. Soil testing said DON'T use for food stuff. This also goes for the old tires/mini-gardens that people plant tomatoes etc in - big no-no.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 09:32 AM
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I made a window box out of 4/4 cedar abiout three years ago. We filled it with soil and planted stuff in it, and it has not shown any sign of rot. It was not pressure=treated.

Cheers,
Roger


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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 09:38 AM
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Instead of grooving the 4x4 to fit the cedar why not sandwich the cedar board between two 3/4" strips run the length of the post.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 10:18 AM
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Hi Danella; you probably already know this but the current ACQ pressure treatment is highly corrosive to fasteners. If you want to use screws you need to buy the ones specifically for use with PT wood...usually referred to as decking screws, or stainless steel.
Hot galvanized nails are approved, although my experience is that they do corrode somewhat.
On 'mgmine's' suggestion, if you're using 2"x planks with full 4"x4" posts, you could rip some 1"x1" strips, bumping up the strength of the cleats somewhat.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the warnings about the chemicals. It is in fact for a veggie garden. Guess I'll grab an untreated cedar post and use the PT for a little dog fence I need in the back.

mgmine: that's probably a smart way to save time, but I just bought my first router and I wanna use it!
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, can anyone comment on the wetness of the wood? For rough applications where shrink or warping aren't a concern, is it any problem to dive right into the wood straigh from the store? Thanks.
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