Backyard bridges and skinnies - materials- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Backyard bridges and skinnies - materials

    I'm looking at building some small bridges and skinnies in my back yard.

    I'm wondering if "Decking" such as this - ProGuard | 5/4x6x12 Treated Wood Decking | Home Depot Canada is an economical product to use ? Thinking of making them about 2 feet wide. So a 12 footer, 6 inches wide gives me 36 inches + spaces per $7.44.

    Would I be smarter with a different dimension (thinking narrower) when thinking about traction and the like?

    I'm mostly curious about its strength. I've ridden sketcher stuff in the woods around here and have felt secure, but I'd like to do this "right" as an exercise. I'm only starting my research now so I suspect I'll get more educated quickly as I get on the googles .

    Pressure treated is almost mandatory since I live in Nova Scotia and our weather is filthy mc nasty.

  2. #2
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    5/4 x 6 PT with stringers at 16-18" on center is plenty for bikes. If we expect equestrians or motorized we use 2x PT.
    http://facebook.com/CharlemontTrails
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  3. #3
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    I re read what I typed and realized taht 2ft wide is not "skinny at all" I can ride that all day long. I'm looking at doing 1 ft wide with a few 6 inch sections. For the 1 foot wide sections would it be fine to mount the 5/4 x 6 inch on 2x4 stringers (8 foot lengths) ? And the 6 inchers on 4x4s?

    Also, when you say 2x above, do you mean 2x4?

  4. #4
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    For 1' or less, I'd take a 2x12 or 2x10 or 2x8 and screw & glue an edgewise 2x4 to the back to stiffen the assembly for 8' lengths - longer I'd use a 2x6 minimum for the stiffener.

    Wider 5/4 decking would work fine.

    When using 2x decking we use 2x8s generally - 2x4s typically are pretty junky for deck.

    Good Luck
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  5. #5
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    hado_pv - thanks for the advice, but I'm having a bit of trouble following some of what you are saying.

    In your first line, do you mean essentially building a "T" beam ?

    And once again, what do you mean by "2x"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by steelnwool View Post
    hado_pv - thanks for the advice, but I'm having a bit of trouble following some of what you are saying.

    In your first line, do you mean essentially building a "T" beam ?

    And once again, what do you mean by "2x"
    Yes T beams make reasonable short skinnies

    2x is shorthand for 2 by. 2 by 4, 2 by 6, 2 by 8 etc.
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  7. #7
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    I will tell what I started using several years ago and what most if not all professional trail builders recommend. I will use nothing thinner than 2X. Usually 2x6 or 2X8. I got away from 5/4X6. After sitting in the woods for 7-10 years and the likely hood of a tree or large limb falling on it, 5/4 isn't strong enough nor does it give you the longevity of 2X lumber. Woody Keen of Trail Dynamics goes further and uses rough cut, pressure treated full thickness 2X. More expensive but will probably be around in 15-20 years.

    Really depends on how much liability you're comfortable taking on. Me, the lower the liability, the better.

    If you want to do skinnies 12" or less, use a 6X6 or bolt two of them together with carriage bolts. 5 1/2" wide for one and 11" wide for two.

  8. #8
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    Well, this is going in my back yard so i can practice while the kids are having their afternoon naps so the liability is all on me , and trees falling on them is minimal risk. 5/4 x 6 will work for my uses, but if i build anything real I'll take your advice folks. Thanks all!

  9. #9
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    No one mentioned using any "Trex" type decking. They use it up at Pine Hill in Rutland Never rots, mildews, or gets slippery. I collected batches from snowplow piles at building supply places and scraps from builders, knowing the boardwalk I was going to build for the school trail was going to be 2' wide, to inspire confidence. Granted, you ride on a red section, grey section, brown section... But it was free (but for the cost of fasteners,ouch!). Considering skinnies(and maybe skinniers) in optional skill sections. 6" attached to top of PT4x4 w/2" over get torqued off? Have to T beam or PT 2x4 box stringer for 6"+? Probably. But, folks have aversion to composite decking?

  10. #10
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    you may know this, but if you are using 5/6 decking.. make sure you drill pilot holes before screwing them down,, if you are working with foot long pieces or shorter they will tend to split unless pre drilled.. if you are using a air nailer,, then guess you don't need to worry.. have fun and post the finished product....having something in the backyard to kill some time would be nice.

  11. #11
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    Dunno what others will think of this, but I got a big stack of pallets for free and stripped them for wood to build stunts with. The wood is oak, so it's pretty strong even though the slats are fairly thin. Of course all my creations are pretty narrow, so they don't have far to span between stringers.

    I've been using them for three years here in NE OH. I put them inside for winter and I've only had to replace a handful of slats due to cracking/decay.

    Steve Z
    Pedaling when it's dry
    And paddling when it's wet

    My insignificant blog:
    http://swampboy62.blogspot.com/

  12. #12
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    I worked it out with local prices for a 2x10x8 with a 2x4 stringer, pressure treated, 15% sales taxs in I'm looking at 20 bucks per 8 feet. I've got a $100 saved in an envelope, so 40 feet of skinnies will get my back yard started.

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