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mom2scouts

Treated lumber?

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My son is finishing up his eagel project paper work. It's So close to being ready to turn in it's not even funny...

We came across a stumbling block. He's building a bench to go with his project and he called Lowes for prices of lumber. They suggested treated lumber ... Is it OK to use Treated lumber for a scout project? I hear so many bad things about the arsenic or something that treated lumber has in it? Would hate him to be turned down for just that... Thanks!

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As long as the safety measures are followed, treated lumber is fine if it is appropriate for the job. We use it frequently in Eagle projects. Just wear the proper protective items and dispose of any waste properly.

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Treated lumber contains chromated copper arsenate as a preservative. It is a carcinogen both from the chromate and the arsenic. If you wear N95 dust respirators while cutting it (these will not fit children or adults with facial hair), and work gloves, you should be fine. If the bench is to be used where children will be in contact with it (e.g., a school or playground), I would use something else, like cedar or that new plasting lumber. See the below article for more information.

 

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-12-29-treated-lumber_x.htm

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Treated Lumber sold today does not use chromated copper arsenate as a preservative any longer. Check with the lumber supplier and obtain an evironmental protection statement. The old style lumber is now illegal to sell commercially. The link scoutldr gave is from 2003.

LongHaul

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Mea culpa. I shall defer to LongHaul's more current knowledge.

 

BTW, that should have been "plastic" lumber.

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Yes the new treated lumber does not use arsenic, however ask your self this. If you use plain nails, not galvenized or ceramic coated screws the chemicals will eat the nails in a year or two. So which is worse? Arsenic or something that eats steel?

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Put a plain nail in a bottle of Coke and see what happens. You want to drink something that eats steel?(This message has been edited by ManassasEagle)

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I'll say this. CCA may have been proven to be a carcinogen, but how many children playing on a playground are going to ingest the amount fed to lab rats to determine the LD50? It has proved an effective treatment for wood used in outdoor applications. Do take NLDSCOUTS advice and ask about the correct hardware to use in conjunction with the treated lumber available today.

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Not to get way off topic, but carcinogenicity levels are WAY below the LD50 (the level of exposure at which 50% of the test animals will die ). When playground equipment has been removed due to treated lumber, the soil around it also had to be removed because the arsenic contamination levels (which can migrate into the ground water) were above EPA limits.

 

Personally, I think second hand tobacco smoke is a much greater risk, but parents don't think twice about exposing their kids (and your kids) to it.

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Kids may not chew excessively on lumber, but horses do. I recommend against using treated lumber in stalls or corrals.

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I have a type of thought experiment to present as a related feature to this column.

 

Wood frame box for a tomato plant:

 

Build a small wooden box without a bottom that will sit directly on the ground for growing plants. Do not use treated lumber or the new expensive plastic materials. In the past when attempting a similar project, I built the structure and painted it with a tar type paint (the name, I dont remember).

 

Materials:

1- 8- 2 X 10 pine

6- 16 p. galvanized nails or 2 or 3 galvanized screws may be used

1- gallon of tar paint

1- gallon of white exterior paint for reflection of the suns rays

 

Cut the 8 2 X 10 into four equal boards about 2 each.

*a secondary feature may be employed by cutting the top edge of each of the boards with a 45 degree angle. This disallows water from setting on the tops of the boards when it rains or is watered.

Measure the diameter of the galvanized nails and select a drill bit one-half the size of the nail.

Drill three pilot holes near each end of 2 of the cut 2 X 10 s.

Paint each side and ends of each of the 2 X 10s with the tar paint.

Let dry and then paint a second coat.

Nail the boards together using the pilot holes as guides.

Paint all sides with the white exterior latex paint.

Allow to dry and then paint with the latex paint a second time.

 

Questions:

How many seasons would this project be expected to last?

Being that the box is setting on the ground but well painted , would there be any protection from termites?

What other improvements could be made without using treated lumber or plastic materials?

 

FB

 

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Around here, your untreated lumber, even well painted, would be lucky to last two seasons. You'd probably be a lot better off, from both an environmentally-correct and durability perspective to use masonry. Building your raised bed with something like cinder blocks would be cheap and last forever.

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Cinder blocks would be good.

 

My wife tried something this year that really got me. She planted a small garden, meaning, four tomato plants, several types of herbs, and a bunch or two of flowers in an area about 36 square feet but in the round. She did not dig into the grass and soil either.

 

She put down a thick layer of last year's leaves and then brought in about six to eight inches of compost from the city. The food that we have eaten has been great. The lack of preparation took all of the sweat out of it, I guess.

 

I am thinking that it will be there again next year.

 

Any more ideas?

 

FB

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Cinder Blocks or brick definitely works. Some other thoughts:

 

Sand Barrier under and around - at least 6", 10-16 mesh (termites can't tunnel or establish tunnels in this)

 

Commercially available termite resistant woods:

Redwood

Cedar

Sappy southern yellow pine (heartwood)

 

Charring the wood in contact with the ground seem to help. This is an old trick used by farmers for instance, on the buried part of locust fence posts.

 

Other moderately or very resistant woods: (Trees found locally that can be cut into boards at a local saw mill. I've had this done and have seen this done when somebody cuts one of these trees down on their property) Any of these would usually be quite expensive as a commercial board product.

 

Arizona Cypress

Black Cherry

Black Locust

Black Walnut

Burr Oak

Catalpa

Chestnut Oak

Gambel Oak

Junipers

Mesquite

Osage Orange

Post Oak

Red Mulberry

Sassafras

White Oak

 

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Eagle 74,

 

A great list of woods!

 

I am not familiar with the mesh idea.

Does the mesh (wire?) come in sizes 10-16?

I am supposing that a person buries it beneath a foundation or in the sand? Is it rolled and then laid or cut and laid flat?

Sand as a barrier for termites, amazing.

 

FB

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