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#1
Old 04-08-2014, 10:57 AM
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Treated landscape timbers: how to drill for the rebar spikes?

I've used landscape brick to border flowerbeds in the past. This time I want to use treated landscape timbers.

My local hardware store has precut rebar spikes to pin it into the ground.

Should I drill a hole just a little smaller and drive the spike in like a nail?

Or drill for a snug fit and tap it through the wood?

I wasn't sure if the landscape timber would split if I drove rebar through it.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-08-2014 at 11:00 AM.
#2
Old 04-08-2014, 11:08 AM
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I've seen it drilled. I doubt driving it in would be an easy task even if doesn't split the wood right away. On top of the that the wood may shrink over time and will certainly change dimensions with the weather and the wood may split later without a hole slightly larger than the spike. You might look into the very long screws used to construct log cabins among other purposes. That might reduce your labor. Even if you have to drill with those it's a smaller hole and the work will go faster.
#3
Old 04-08-2014, 11:10 AM
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I drilled a very close fit so the rebar was snug but no real resistance to driving it through.
#4
Old 04-08-2014, 11:14 AM
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If I'm remembering correctly, a 1/2" rebar will provide a little resistance going in to a 1/2" hole. I can't imagine what advantage would be had drilling a smaller hole and having to whack it through.

Attaching timbers on top of those, I'd use spikes and pre-drill them.
#5
Old 04-08-2014, 11:26 AM
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I was debating between using a 1/2 spade bit or a 7/16.

If the 1/2 rebar is snug in a 1/2 hole then thats all I need. I didn't want the timber raising up when bumped with a lawn mower.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-08-2014 at 11:26 AM.
#6
Old 04-08-2014, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I was debating between using a 1/2 spade bit or a 7/16.
At least get yourself an auger bit.
#7
Old 04-08-2014, 11:40 AM
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Are you using the little timbers with the rounded edges, or 6x6?
#8
Old 04-08-2014, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
At least get yourself an auger bit.
Concur.
#9
Old 04-08-2014, 11:49 AM
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These from home depot.
http://homedepot.com/p/Unbranded...stomer_reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
Are you using the little timbers with the rounded edges, or 6x6?
#10
Old 04-08-2014, 11:54 AM
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you don't like spade/paddle bits in wood?

Are you talking about a twist bit? those will over heat very easily. I'll have to drill very slowly.
http://lowes.com/pd_116988-70-DW...bit&facetInfo=
Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
At least get yourself an auger bit.
#11
Old 04-08-2014, 11:54 AM
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No, not a twist bit. An auger bit.

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 04-08-2014 at 11:55 AM.
#12
Old 04-08-2014, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
you don't like spade/paddle bits in wood?

Are you talking about a twist bit? those will over heat very easily. I'll have to drill very slowly.
http://lowes.com/pd_116988-70-DW...bit&facetInfo=
Like this

ETA: or like the examples KneadToKnow provided before me.

Last edited by TriPolar; 04-08-2014 at 11:58 AM.
#13
Old 04-08-2014, 12:01 PM
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ok. I'd forgotten all about that style. I see Lowes has one.
http://lowes.com/ProductDisplay?...llow&cId=PDIO1

I see what you mean. A big spade bit sometimes wallows out a bigger hole if you don't keep the drill rock study. They also have a nasty habit of binding and the drill will twist in your hands.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-08-2014 at 12:04 PM.
#14
Old 04-08-2014, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I will never see your project, so it shouldn't matter a whit to you, but I've never seen anything made out of those that looked good after a couple years. That may have something to do with DIY under-engineering, though. Hard to pass up at the price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KneadToKnow View Post
No, not a twist bit. An auger bit.
I would insist on an auger bit for a big treated 6x6, but surely a decent spade bit would do the trick for this application.

Of course, it's a great excuse to buy a new bit, sooooooo......

Unrelated anecdote...I needed to get a new 1 1/2" spade bit to make a hole through a 4x4, and got one with a screw tip. I was almost scared how it chewed a hole right through, drawing itself the whole time. Awesome.

Last edited by Sicks Ate; 04-08-2014 at 12:04 PM.
#15
Old 04-08-2014, 12:08 PM
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FYI, if you're planning on growing edibles you may want to be careful with treated timbers.
#16
Old 04-08-2014, 12:13 PM
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if you use a spade bit then you likely might need to remove the shavings as you drill by removing the bit and inverting the wood or vac them.

an auger bit periodically raised will throw the shavings out as you drill.

a spade bit is good when you need nice holes and have the time.

an auger bit is when you need a hole and want to get it quickly.
#17
Old 04-08-2014, 12:25 PM
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Thats why my other flowerbeds are edged with brick. That is some hard, hard work. Done that too many times.

HD does have 7 in. x 9 in. x 8 ft. Used Creosote-Treated Railroad Tie
http://homedepot.com/p/Unbranded...8000/100023488

I shudder to think how much they weigh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
I will never see your project, so it shouldn't matter a whit to you, but I've never seen anything made out of those that looked good after a couple years. That may have something to do with DIY under-engineering, though. Hard to pass up at the price.



I would insist on an auger bit for a big treated 6x6, but surely a decent spade bit would do the trick for this application.

Of course, it's a great excuse to buy a new bit, sooooooo......

Unrelated anecdote...I needed to get a new 1 1/2" spade bit to make a hole through a 4x4, and got one with a screw tip. I was almost scared how it chewed a hole right through, drawing itself the whole time. Awesome.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-08-2014 at 12:25 PM.
#18
Old 04-08-2014, 12:52 PM
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Would the standard 6x6 pressure treated last longer than the landscape timbers? Deck posts are tighter grained. Might resist rotting a lot better.

Thats an option worth considering. Glad I started this thread. I got some very good suggestions on drill bits and material.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
Are you using the little timbers with the rounded edges, or 6x6?
#19
Old 04-08-2014, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Would the standard 6x6 pressure treated last longer than the landscape timbers? Deck posts are tighter grained. Might resist rotting a lot better.
I used a 6x6 PT 12' long as a replacement corner post on a second-story deck 6 years ago. It looks pretty much like new now, no splitting, etc. Of course, it's not lying flat on the ground.
#20
Old 04-08-2014, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
HD does have 7 in. x 9 in. x 8 ft. Used Creosote-Treated Railroad Tie
http://homedepot.com/p/Unbranded...8000/100023488

I shudder to think how much they weigh.
A friend who works for the railroad offered to get me railroad ties many years ago for a home project. They weighed a ton, and were a bitch to work with. But I drove by that house recently, and they look like they did when I put them in twenty something years ago!
#21
Old 04-08-2014, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Would the standard 6x6 pressure treated last longer than the landscape timbers? Deck posts are tighter grained. Might resist rotting a lot better.

Thats an option worth considering. Glad I started this thread. I got some very good suggestions on drill bits and material.
Last longer and look better; but the price difference may be....prohibitive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
A friend who works for the railroad offered to get me railroad ties many years ago for a home project. They weighed a ton, and were a bitch to work with. But I drove by that house recently, and they look like they did when I put them in twenty something years ago!
Don't see RR ties much anymore, I guess they're no longer in style...but talk about something that would LAST!

I still don't hate the look, honestly. I mean from a design standpoint, you have to choose dark brown or pale green? Sixa one...
#22
Old 04-08-2014, 08:27 PM
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Went by HD and got some pressure treated 4x6. I looked at the 6x6 and they were too heavy and bulky to mess with. Also got the 1/2" auger bit and 1/2" rebar spikes.

Hoping these better quality boards will make the difference. They are tight grained, hard yellow pine for decks. $14 for an 8 ft. I had the HD guy use their Radial arm saw to cut me a couple 20 inch pieces for the sides of the flower bed.

thanks again.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-08-2014 at 08:30 PM.
#23
Old 04-09-2014, 05:15 PM
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My first experience with an Auger bit was an eye opener. It will jam into the wood really easy. Providing a nasty twist to the person holding the drill. Thankfully I had a solid 2 handed grip on it. Had to reverse the drill to get the bit unstuck.

I'm tempted to drag out my granddad's brace and bit. Really for boring these types of holes in large timbers it can't be beat. Doesn't jam and it doesn't twist your wrist. Trouble is his old auger bits are over 80 years old and very worn.

I'll get err done. Just have to keep that strong 2 handed grip on the drill. I knew a neighbor that snapped his arm when I was a kid. He was drilling steel plate with a big 3/4 inch industrial drill. Bit jammed and there's no give to steel plate. Even two handed it would spin you around (if your were lucky) or snap your arm.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-09-2014 at 05:17 PM.
#24
Old 04-09-2014, 05:34 PM
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A drill with a side arm helps a lot. Good variable speed and torque control is helpful too.
#25
Old 04-09-2014, 06:28 PM
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yeah side handle helps prevent injury.

also a sharp bit held perpendicular to the work at a speed to cut helps prevent seizing.
#26
Old 04-09-2014, 06:44 PM
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You could also try a pilot hole with a 1/4", then follow on with the half inch.
#27
Old 04-09-2014, 07:15 PM
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Ok, I'll try it at a slower speed. It's a new bit and factory sharp. Should go through pine easy enough.

Otherwise a pilot hole may help.
#28
Old 04-09-2014, 07:27 PM
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I'm not so sure. Auger bits normally have a screw at the tip that helps to pull the bit through the wood. A pilot hole may counteract that and actually make it harder to use.
#29
Old 04-09-2014, 07:34 PM
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I was probably going too fast. I'll try again in the morning.
#30
Old 04-09-2014, 08:51 PM
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The landscape timbers are bad about warping and bowing up, the 4x6 is better. In fact there is nothing more pitiful than a bed bordered with Home Depot landscape timbers. I can't imagine having trouble drilling through wood with a half inch auger bit. It should be like butter.
#31
Old 04-10-2014, 12:10 AM
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I was once on a ladder drilling holes for copper water lines in joists with a right angle drill. I was half asleep when I hit a knot and the drill caught my chin, knocking me off the ladder. Ouch.
#32
Old 04-11-2014, 12:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowlearner View Post
The landscape timbers are bad about warping and bowing up, the 4x6 is better. In fact there is nothing more pitiful than a bed bordered with Home Depot landscape timbers. I can't imagine having trouble drilling through wood with a half inch auger bit. It should be like butter.
I've used landscape timbers for building and fence framework on things like chicken coops, sheep buildings and the like, and yes, they do bow and warp like crazy when I've used them vertically or horizontally at the top of chain link, or even when on the ground when nailed together and used to attach said chain link to. As long as they kept the fence intact or the building standing even when a ram butted it, warping didn't matter for my purposes. If I was going for looks, I wouldn't use them.
But when simply placed or stacked for a border, I've never seen them warp and bow. I bet if you put rebar pins in them, they would start to do so. I used to work for Lowe's and have bought a lot of them myself, and I know that probably 60% come in looking like bent crap to begin with. Then another 30% probably wind up that way.
#33
Old 04-11-2014, 10:38 AM
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1/2" should be fine, keep in mind that the treated timber (assuming it's "fresh" from the lumber yard) will be at a fairly high moisture level, likely 30 - 40% internally. It will dry which will shrink the lumber as it does so, tightening around the rebar over time.

This is the secret to high quality Windsor chairs, the spindles are made of over dried wood, usually kept close to a burning wood stove and the legs are made from green(wet) wood, the legs and the mortises drilled into them shrink as they dry and the spindles expand as they absorb moisture before reaching equilibrium.
#34
Old 04-11-2014, 12:18 PM
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FWIW, we just redid our flowerbeds with poured and stamped concrete borders. Like this: http://proedging.com/files/yucca-copy.jpg. They look fantastic and didn't take all that long nor cost much. Hard to get the stamping right but I was good at it by the end.
#35
Old 04-11-2014, 09:18 PM
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Something else that might be helpful if you have to drive the steel through multiple layers of the big timbers at once, is to paint the rebar with linseed oil or something similar. Years ago I volunteered briefly building a wooden ship. The keelson was a 10" x 12" or so oak timber fastened by drilling it with an auger and then driving 20" lengths of 1" galvi steel rod through it down into the keel. It would have been impossible (for me anyway) without the oil. It still took a sledge hammer so heavy I could barely manage it.
#36
Old 04-12-2014, 01:32 AM
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I installed a play set 6 years ago and used those as the border. Probably the same timbers and spikes you got. Honestly don't know if I did it the RIGHT way, but I just used a regular drill bit the same size as the spike. I had to replace 1 because it curved but the rest have held up well.
#37
Old 04-12-2014, 07:16 AM
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I have helped construct several raised flower beds in community garden projects to enable access to wheelchair users. We used (sorry for the metric) 10mm auger bits and 12mm rebar driven in with a lump hammer.
#38
Old 04-12-2014, 05:51 PM
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Just a wee note: don't use treated wood to border vegetable gardens. You don't want that stuff in your food. You can use cast concrete blocks or composite deck boards to safely surround 'em.
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