best way to connect 2 landscape timbers?

I'm trying to build an enclosure that will have pea gravel inside of it, using 4" by 4" landscape timbers. I have 2 12' long timbers on the sides, and the ends are each a single 10' timber. Holding the sides and ends together is easy - drill a hole, then screw a lag bolt in to hold them together.
Figuring out how to hold the 2 12' long timbers together on the sides is not as easy. They are parallel, not perpendicular, so I can't just screw them together easily. The only thing I can think of are those metal plates that they pound on with a hammer. Or, if they even make this, I could use my drill and drill holes in the ends that go together. Then, if they have something like a double ended screw, with something that you can put a square wrench on in the middle, I could screw that into the end of one, and then turn the other timber until it screws itself onto the other end of the double ended screw. (hope I'm explaining myself here) Anybody - does this exist, and if so, what is it called?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't understand why you're setting up the pieces that way, but the pieces are 4" x 4". If you can screw the pieces together in one direction, you can screw them together in the other direction.
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 06 Oct 2010 08:16:04 -0400, Ohioguy wrote:

Is this all laying right against the ground? If so, can you not join the 12' timbers together only on the underside, recessing whatever you use to join them together into the ground so that it can't be seen?
I assume you're staking the timbers into the ground with rebar or something? If so, they're not going to move much under any kind of load, so whatever you join the timbers together with doesn't need to be *that* strong, just strong enough for a gap not to open up if you stand on them, clip them with the mower etc.
The other option might be to create a joint by cutting the end foot or so of the timbers:
_______________ _______________________ |________ ________________________|______________
... and then just screwing them together. But that obviously would give you a 23' length from two 12' timbers, which might not be what you want :-)
With something like this, maybe it's worth thinking about how it'll age, too. The timber will discolor (and maybe split a little), the gravel will get dirty and full of leaves, and yes there will probably be a little movement over time. In other words, maybe it's not worth going for absolute perfection, because in a couple of years there will be various "faults" anyway, and nobody's going to notice how completely awesome your original joints were :-)
cheers
Jules
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/6/2010 8:16 AM, Ohioguy wrote:

I'm having trouble picturing what you're trying to do. Are you trying to stack one timber on top of the other to get an nominal 8" high enclosure? Then your options include:
1) Screwing through one 4 X 4 into the other, then flipping them over so you can't see the screws. 2) Screwing one 4 X 4 into the other and saying the hell with seeing the screws. 3) You could sister a vertical 1 X 1 every 3 feet or so and put the side with the 1 X 1s to the inside of the enclosure. Using the same kind of wood makes them inconspicuous. 4) You could drill from one into the other, pound a rod into the hole, then flip them over so the hole can't be seen.
Personally, I like option #3 as it's easy to accomplish with a minimum of specialized hardware. All you need are some deck screws and some scrap lumber.
Jay
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If your enclosure is going to be two or more rows high, simply overlap your joints and screw them together. The timber above or below will hold things together where there are seams.
If your enclosure is only the height of a single 4x4, I would just butt them end to end, then use 3-1/2" deck screws driven in at an angle to hold them together. I used this approach with a couple of 4x4's between our yard and driveway and it has held fine for five years now. No shifting side to side, and no separation between the two 4x4's. Mine aren't staked to the ground, but are partially embedded in the ground which keeps them from being pushed side to side. Of course, there's not a lot a side pressure from 3" of dirt or gravel.
Anthony
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ohioguy wrote: ...

They're co-linear or end-to-end, you mean... :)
You're over-thinking the problem, methinks...
Just stake the ends and go on...
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Several good methods of joinery given.
However, the major thing to do is to stake them down. No joinery is going to hold something like that in place without staking. I used 1/2" water pipe last summer to run 44' of foundation border. I didnt' bother to join the ends, just butted them.
Harry K
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/6/2010 7:16 AM, Ohioguy wrote:

since you used the word "best" in the subject line, then i feel compelled to tell you the "best" way to do this.
Tear out the chincy landscape timbers and use RR ties. Belive me, in a few years you'll see why.
--
Steve Barker
remove the "not" from my address to email
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 06 Oct 2010 11:53:48 -0500, Steve Barker wrote:

I don't know if the 4x4" ones are too bad - but HD (at least our local one) seem to only be selling ones that are more like 3x2" this year, and they're total garbage. I think they're still $4 each too, which is what their 4x4" ones were last year.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

$12 each here, for the true 4"x4" treated lumber. Calling them landscape timbers is evidently not the true name, because when I asked for those, they took me out to the garden area and showed me some junky rounded things, many of which were warped. I went back to the treated lumber area inside, and found ones with a nice square edge, not rounded, which was what I wanted.
Oh, and I found something ALMOST like I wanted at Lowe's, called a "dowel screw". It has screws on both ends, but does not have a square part in the middle for a wrench to grab onto, unfortunately. Plus, they only had them up to 3.5" in length. I'd like one of these that is about 6" long. Then I could simply drill holes in the ends of two timbers, and screw it into one of them. Then I'd take the end of the second landscape timber, and turn it onto the other end of the dowel screw. Eventually, you have a completely hidden screw holding two pieces of wood together.
Since I can't find one large enough, I guess I'm going to use a couple of joiner plates, though.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Just make sure you purchased 4x4's rated for ground contact (it's noted on the tag). Many of the 4x4's sold in home centers are for decks and don't have enough chemical treatment to keep them from rotting in the ground.
Anthony
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ohioguy wrote:

Couldja maybe take a couple of suitably sized lag bolts and get them welded together head to head?
You'd need a bit of a counterbore at the start of the screw holes, but that should be a snap.
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/7/2010 6:28 PM, jeff_wisnia wrote:

Still don't understand why OP thinks he needs to join them at all. Isn't he gonna peg the timbers to the ground? That will keep them from moving noticably, IMHO.
--
aem sends...

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I think it is a case of "overengineering".
Harry K
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
aemeijers wrote: ...

Indeed...
He might as well drill one, use a dowel locater and matching drill the other and use whatever chooses and pin them...a short piece of rebar or whatever.
Or, since seems insistent on making as much work for as little gain as possible, cut and fit dovetails or pegged mortise and tenon joints a la timber framing...
--




Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/7/2010 3:28 PM jeff_wisnia spake thus:

Keep in mind that besides probably being totally unnecessary (others here have pointed out that simply staking the timbers together will be more than adequate, or at most drilling holes in the ends and sticking in a rebar dowel), putting screws into the end grain of wood is a losing proposition. Screws don't hold well in end grain and will tend to just pull out after a while.
--
The fashion in killing has an insouciant, flirty style this spring,
with the flaunting of well-defined muscle, wrapped in flags.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In typed:

To fasten, cut rebar to the right length and drive in with a sledge.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

One other possibility... The connectors that are commonly used to hold sections of countertops together:
http://www.mcfeelys.com/product/FSC-2600/Zipbolt
A bit more work to install than a few screws, it would be visible unless you bolted the beams together and flipped them over, and I'm not sure how it would hold up in an outdoor situation.
Anthony
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andy comments:
I do this with 8 foot landscape timbers all the time........
I cut a section out of each end, like this:
*************** ********************* *********! ********* ***********************^ ***************
First Piece Second Piece
about three inches back, each section is half way thru the timber (about 1 1/2 inches) ......
I then overlap them, and drill a one inch hole thru both.
I then make a 2 foot stake out of 3/4 gray electrical PVC and drive it thru both holes. This not only holds the two ends together, but also stakes them into the ground...
Sorry if the graphics don't turn out on your browser. It's very very simple to show if you have one in front of you....
I also use this technique to use the landscape timbers for fence rails....
The entire job is done on each piece with about two cuts of a skil saw, with the depth set correctly...
Andy in Eureka, Texas
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You know, you could have saved yourself a lot of typing but just telling the OP to Google "half lap joint".
The images will pop up right up.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.