Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups




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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    building some ladders at our local course....

    I can get lots of 2x4's from my buddy because he is a contractor. Would it be ok to use 2x4's as bases as well? I am not going super high on the first few we do. Maybe 3 foot ladders, 20 feet long each.

    If no one complains, then we will step it up a little higher. Maybe 5 to 6 feet then thats when Ill use some 4x4's to anchor them to the ground.

    Also, is ready mix needed or just a big enough hole? Cant get water that far out in the woods.

    Just askin for some pointers. Trail is getting a little "stail" needs some excitement.

    Thanks all.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    If your building stuff to put out in the woods I wouldn't use regular kiln dried lumber. It will rot too quickly. And if you're setting them into the ground definitly don't use it, the moisture in the ground will rot it even faster.

    Build your stunts out of pressure treated wood. You can put them where ever you want and never have to worry about them rotting away in a couple years.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    I sure appreciate the time you took to answer but I really was needing to know if it would be safe to use 2x4's as base supports for our ladders?


  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    it honestly depends on how well you're going to build it. 2x4's, in the proper configuration, will be more than enough for ladder bridges. just make sure you check out good building methods, and use common sense for building the ladder (i.e. try not to put shear loads on any fasteners, triangulate and vertical supports, etc).

    second, I really have to agree with jmitchell. normal 2x4's are going to be toast really quick in a forest. go pressure treated or go home. at the very least, go pressure treated for any parts of wood that are in contact with the ground (vertical posts, stringers, the first few deck pieces).

    also remember if you're doing maintenance, that rotting wood is caused by a fungus, and it will happily spread up to out-of-the-way parts of your ladder if left on it's own.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Spanning 2X4 more than 2' you're asking for problems.

    Using finished lumber as slats you'll have issues with gription in the wet.

    Using 2X4 for runners and/or posts is not smart.

    Learn the gift of "sistering" the 2X4. Nail the hell out of 2-2X4's and now you have a 4X4. Should be able to span 4'. BUT you have to stagger the ends for strength for a longer continuous peice on a runner.

    Learn what blocking is for added strength.

    Since you're in the middle of the woods, invest in a battery operated skilsaw that will save you alot of time. And if you have a bunch of rocks you can stuff rocks in a post hole instead of concrete.

    If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball.
    If you can build a deck you can build bridges.

    Finish lumber is ok but raw lumber is the bestest.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mtb777's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Remember to sister the 2X4's in pairs vertically....long side up and down. Nail the in the centerline every 6 to 8 inches. You can rip the tops of the lumber with a circular saw for grip if you cut in them 1/8 to a 1/4 inch before you bring the lumber out. Try going to HD and getting some cheap exterior stain to treat the wood. They sometimes have "Oooppps" paint that was mixed bad or the wrong color for cheap.
    Dump a bag of cement mix in the hole and cover it and rain and moisture or humidity will eventually get the job done. Rain will run down the posts into the holes filled with mix and topped with rocks and dirt.

  7. #7
    backwoods and backwards
    Reputation: MOJO K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Just my opinion, but I kinda think building ladders in the middle of the woods just for the sake of having a ladder ride is lame. Natural wood skinnies add the same effect, last longer, and blend into the woods better. Save the ladders for when you need to solve a trail building problem ( spanning wet land or entering/exiting a stunt ).

    But... if you're going to build it...Don't build it and wait to see if anybody complains, Ask First! You can get water anywhere you can get bag of cement to. Don't bother setting non PT posts into cement (it's a dumb thing to do). And I use construction adhesive and screws when doubling a 2x's. Also don't nail your tread pieces near the ends. Kiln dried wood will split and break away long before it rots.

  8. #8
    Reputation: smilycook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Anything you stick in the ground needs to be pressure treated and buried at least 3ft for low stunts and deeper as things get higher off the ground. Any teters should be concreted into the ground also.

    Having spent the last couple of months building with dimensional lumber you will spend 10x the time you think. That is why I would also agree that it is pointless to build with anything but treated, cedar, or redwood. Sure your materials are free, but by the time you get it all built things will be rotting and falling apart.

    We have a pile of untreated lumber someone donated and we have not touched it at all, just not worth the time....

    Post: 4x4
    Stringers: 2x6, 2x8, or 2x10 depending on distance
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