Cedar 4x4 Posts in NoVA/DC Area

Hi Folks,
I'd like to build some raised vegetable garden beds this weekend. (This is the design I have in mind: http://www.sunset.com/garden/perfect-raised-bed-00400000039550 /)
Lowe's in Chantilly seems to have cedar 2x6s, but not cedar 4x4s. (The guy I got on the phone at Lowe's recommended Douglas Fir, but I know that's going to rot too fast in the ground.) Where can I find cedar 4x4s (preferably, on a weekend)?
Thanks,
Jamie
Falls Church, VA
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"Jamie Jackson" wrote in message

You might try a fencing store or garden center that sells fencing. Cedar posts are often used in fencing... Then again, for what the 4x4s are doing you could use cedar 2x4s singly or doubled up. Failing the stores having cedar 2x4s, a cedar 2x6 would work.
Not sure how the "graphic" will hold up through the web/rec, but lapped like this is all you need--the 2X4 is in the inside corner.
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On Friday, May 3, 2013 7:55:43 PM UTC-4, John Grossbohlin wrote:

Good leads on the posts, and a good point about lapping that way, thanks!
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Jamie Jackson wrote:

design I have in mind: http://www.sunset.com/garden/perfect-raised-bed-00400000039550 /)

got on the phone at Lowe's recommended Douglas Fir, but I know that's going to rot too fast in the ground.) Where can I find cedar 4x4s (preferably, on a weekend)?

The only ones I've seen lately are mail box posts. Assuming you mean eastern red cedar. An Anecdote: 20 years ago I built a double gate with a short cedar post for them to shut against. The short post stuck up about 4 inches. A couple of years later it got wobbly so I dug it up. It was eaten up by termites. Something I thought could not happen. That was in north eastern Texas.
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 GW Ross 

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On 5/3/13 7:10 PM, G. Ross wrote:

That's something to keep in mind. Cedar is supposed to be bug resistant, but here in TN, I've replaced a lot of cedar decking and stairs that were swiss cheesed by termites.
--

-MIKE-

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wrote:

I had/have a lot of cedar on my AL house. Carpenter bees love the stuff.
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On Friday, May 3, 2013 9:02:13 PM UTC-4, -MIKE- wrote:

Maybe I'll look at redwood, depending how $ it is.
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Redwood / Cedar - it all depends on the oil.
I used to live in a Coastal Redwood wood forest. I have plenty here in East Texas from my old forest area. Termites like Redwood.
They can't eat into the bark but if the tree is felled and cut - they enter the center core - it is white - and eat a hole down the trunk.
This used to help various groups make Pipes for water and sewer. Bugs get the hole started then you ream the hole larger.
Check up on Yellow Wood - trade name for treated. I seem to recall it is safe to eat on an such. Check before you buy. Might be ok to touch and insert hand into mouth but not grow. They should have a web page.
Martin
On 5/4/2013 7:11 AM, Jamie Jackson wrote:

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in nearby central Maryland, I've seen treated lumber 4X4 posts outlast 2 generations of cedar fence pickets. And the pickets weren't even in the ground.
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When the game is over, the pawn and the king are returned to the same box.

Larry W. - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar.org
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"Jamie Jackson" wrote:

SFWIW, I did this back in the 70's using reclaimed railroad ties.
Haven't seen them in almost 25 years, but back then (late 80's), they still looked like they did when they were installed.
Lew
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"Lew Hodgett" wrote in message

-----------------------------------------------------------

This was commonly done around here too. I recall that when old railroads tracks were removed from defunct lines in this area that ties were readily available to the public. Times have changed! They are maybe OK for ornamental planting beds but not for vegetables... and possibly banned for such use depending upon the state in question. The EPA identifies Creosote as a possible/probable (I've seen it expressed both ways) human carcinogen and it "has no registered residential uses." As of 1/1/2008 New York bans repurposing creosote treated industrial products (e.g., telephone poles, rail road ties) for residential purposes. All that said, I recall slopping creosote on logs from 1 gallon cans purchased at a local store when I was a kid...
I looked into this recently as I'm involved in building a new rail trail on a corridor that hasn't been used in about 35 years. The corridor still has rails and ties along most of it’s length. The rails, plates, spikes, etc. will be sold for scrap or "banked" for possible future use but the ties need to be disposed of as hazardous waste... most are not suitable for reuse by a working railroad.
John
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On 5/4/2013 9:13 AM, John Grossbohlin wrote:

hazard, they were always on power/phone poles on every property. And like you I put it on the posts when I was a kid and had to rebuild our fence gates. Certainly recycling the use is better than putting them in a haz waste dump, they are probably not very toxic now.
--
Jeff

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On 5/3/2013 6:41 PM, Jamie Jackson wrote:

design I have in mind: http://www.sunset.com/garden/perfect-raised-bed-00400000039550 /)

got on the phone at Lowe's recommended Douglas Fir, but I know that's going to rot too fast in the ground.) Where can I find cedar 4x4s (preferably, on a weekend)?

FWIW cedar holds up pretty well outside but ground contact is not one of its strong point. In Texas Cedar posts have about a half life of a PT post.
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Out of all the readily available, untreated _wood_ choices you have, Western Red Cedar will give you the best longevity for ground contact.
Best, if you can find it, would be Black Locust posts:
http://www.blacklocustlumber.com/fencing.htm
--
www.ewoodshop.com (Mobile)

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On Saturday, May 4, 2013 8:53:17 AM UTC-5, Swingman wrote:

An old saying: Place a rock at the bottom of your post hole and when the rock rots away, it's time to replace your (Locust) post.
Sonny
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The rock concept is true. It allows the post to ride above the wet - or simply not sit in the mud.
Another trick is to paint the end with copper cheate (sp) it is green.
But in a garden - I'd use a bare copper line under the board - might keep out the bugs for a while as the copper leaches into the soil.
Martin
On 5/4/2013 6:29 PM, Sonny wrote:

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On 5/4/13 10:42 PM, Martin Eastburn wrote: >> >> An old saying: Place a rock at the bottom of your post hole and when >> the rock rots away, it's time to replace your (Locust) post. >>

It was a joke, not advice. And the rock would work until the first rain.
Water doesn't rot wood. Water carries tiny critters that eat the wood, and it feeds bigger critters that eat wood. That's what rots wood.
It doesn't matter if it's sitting on or in water. If the bugs like to eat it, they will, water or not. If the bugs don't like to eat it, it won't rot.
If water rotted wood, there wouldn't be a single lake dock in Minnesota. :-)
--

-MIKE-

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The old saying is specific to Black Locust, as for as I know, and an exagge rated compliment to its longevity as fence post material.... and, in effect , seconding Karl's opinion/fact of BL being the best wood for posts.
Additionally, getting away from helping the OP: In some cases, catalpa makes for long lasting fence posts, despite the wood being soft and porous. Many split rail posts take root and grow into tree s, hence, lasts a long time.
Our old homestead had a fence line, as this, until Hurricane Gustav blew do wn most of the trees. I had some of the upper trunks milled and the sawdus t or unseen chemistry, when working the subsequent boards, was very irritat ing, even when slightly inhaled. That was some potent stuff, when sawing, working with it. The wood is a pretty, chocolate brown. Here's a small be nch from that catalpa cache - http://www.flickr.com/photos/43836144@N04/532 3311929/in/photostream
Sonny
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Sonny wrote:

exaggerated compliment to its longevity as fence post material.... and, in effect, seconding Karl's opinion/fact of BL being the best wood for posts.

being soft and porous. Many split rail posts take root and grow into trees, hence, lasts a long time.

most of the trees. I had some of the upper trunks milled and the sawdust or unseen chemistry, when working the subsequent boards, was very irritating, even when slightly inhaled. That was some potent stuff, when sawing, working with it. The wood is a pretty, chocolate brown. Here's a small bench from that catalpa cache - http://www.flickr.com/photos/43836144@N04/5323311929/in/photostream

I turned some bowls out of catalpa. Almost like balsa.
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 GW Ross 

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Catalpa is good hand carving wood - fine grain.
Martin
On 5/5/2013 10:33 AM, G. Ross wrote:

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