I need to make a 16' 2x4 to be used as a screed board in a paver
project. I hope to join two 8' pieces as I can not easily transport
one 16' piece. I guess I can use a lap joint as this does not need to
be too strong, but can I use pocket screws instead? The board just
needs to be straight for this one job and pocket screws will be
Spanning 16' with a 2x4 is asking a lot. You can easily get a dip or
hump in the middle. Normally I'd use some EMT as an intermediate
screed - pound it into the sand in the middle running parallel to the
sides and set the level with a laser level.
As far as your pocket hole connection, no, it won't be stiff enough.
As already posted, the plywood splice plates are the way to go.
Don't bother joining the boards. Lay pipe on the grade with the top edge
at your finished height. space pipes closer than the longest straight
board you have. Screed using the pipes to set your elevation. Remove the
pipes and fill the void as you are laying the pavers. Use multiple pipes
to span the distance. Thats how it should be done.
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Second the extra piece of pipe. I don't know how much screeding
you've done, but moving the sand along an entire 16' length is way too
much. If you're really insistant about learning why it's too much to
mess with on your own, I wouldn't go with pocket screws, the lap joint
*or* the sistered plywood (though that's easily the best of those
three). If you want to join it and have it strong enough and useful
for screeding, I'd go with an old-school scarf joint. You need a
minimum of 8" jointed edge to make the spliced timber as strong as a
solid piece, and the way to get that is to cut mirrored joints that
look like lightning bolts, (see below) glue them, then clamp. Toss in
a couple of screws from the top and bottom for a little extra oomph.
Face grain /\ /
/\ / \/ Imagine these lines are
/ \/ closer to 45*
Way too much work, IMO. I'd just screed in two (or more) sections.
You say it does not need to be too strong. To screed a 16 foot width or even
close to that width, requires quite a bit of strength, a solid 2x4 will
start bending and/or bowing up under the pressure of the sand or whatever
you are using under the pavers.
Thanks for the suggestions. The two 2x4's joined together with two
pieces of plywood worked very well. I actually used two pretty long
pieces of plywood to hold the 2x4's together (about 30" long each). I
agree that the typical way to do this is to use some pipes and screed
in sections, but as I am not very experienced and skilled in laying
down the subbase, it was not perfectly flat. However, I put the first
course of a retaining wall down along the edges of the paver area, and
those were quite level and even. I wanted to use the wall as my screed
guide. These blocks were about 15' apart. I joined the 2x4's, and
made a notch in the ends corresponding to the height of the sand base,
and my wife and I screeded away. This technique left a very flat and
even base that we are very happy with.
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