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Understanding softwood

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Rod Roberts06/10/2010 09:47:43
3 forum posts

Hi Folks

Can I ask what might be a very basic question. I’m making a dog agility course for my partners dog club. Some years ago I was making a scale ( a 6ft board wall) and was struggling to cut a recess along one edge a 4ft long board the timber I was using was a 6inch gravel board the problem I was having was the edge of the recess being too frail and breaking away. A friend who is a cabinet maker said in a throwaway manner the wood was not good enough well the subject got changed and I managed. Now I’m building this agility course I’m wondering what grade of soft wood are available. The item which is making me scratch my head is the dog walk. The dog walk consists of an up and down ramp an a horizontal walkway 12” wide  all three element will be 12ft long the trestles supporting are 4ft 6” high the ramps and walkway will be finished in non slip rubberized paint. The heaviest dog will be about 120lbs worst case scenario.

Trestles no problem, Ramps and walkway What grade of softwood and what size? Will WBP Ply be adequate  for the walking surface.

Sorry if this is a bit of a ramble but there’s not much spare cash in the pot, so I need to get it right first time.

What I would like to achieve a strong reasonably light weight structure but safe and strong structure that can be assembled by one person.

Thanking you in anticipation.


Big Al06/10/2010 17:25:21
1599 forum posts
73 photos
First of all the softwood that you see in the larger national DIY shop's is what is generally known as white wood, and is of poor quality. What you need to find is unsorted redwood, and this can usually be found in a builder's merchants, from a saw mill or timber merchant's.
Plywood! For what you want it for I would use structural spruce plywood. Virtually all plywood is WBP these days, but if your looking to buy the far eastern imported hardwood plywood it is generally poor quality which splinters and de-laminates easily.
Mailee07/10/2010 17:45:22
1048 forum posts
1235 photos
I would have thought that each of the sections would be best made as torsion boxes Rob. Use ply for the top and bottom surfaces and infil between with timber in a ladder construction. This would also keep the weight down considering they are 12' lengths.
A reasonable quality ply and redwood as has been suggested and give it all a good coat of watered down PVA glue that will take care of the weathering issues. HTH.
Rod Roberts07/10/2010 20:48:56
3 forum posts

Thanks guys
I have taken your advice good quality ply and redwood you live and learn
Thanks again
Derek Lane08/10/2010 19:35:08
3219 forum posts
1004 photos
Rod make them how Mailee says but instead of 12' long make 2 x 6' and bolt them together to make the 12' sections. This will make it easier to transport or store

Edited By Derek Lane on 08/10/2010 19:37:37

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