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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, when you build with split logs do you use big screws or nails to hold down the "decking"? 2 to 3 inches between each piece?
Thanks for any help.
 

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Terrain Sculptor
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I build miles of split cedar ladders. When I'm not trying to show off I use galvanized spiral nails. Deck screws are better but really expensive compared to nails. When I'm showing off I drill and use hand carved wooden pegs.

3" is too wide for your space (a dogs paw will get caught) 2" maximum. you only need 1"
 

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I've used both for decking. Screws have more holding power, nails more shear strength. At each end of a boardwalk or bridge if the transition from trail grade isn't dead even I want to use nails for sure, maybe both on the same plank, since the advancing wheels will impact the plank horizontally. Re plank spacing, if it's a multi-use trail, remember to make it friendly for the foot traffic.
 

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Screws for the frame, nails for the decking.

Screws snap under pressure, and a few feet of snow/ice is a LOT of pressure. Nails allow some tolerance in the overall built.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies!
I hadn't thought about the dogs and I have two fur balls that will probably be chasing me!
The trails will be multi use, but on private land and there will be an optional route around whatever I build.
Hand carved pegs!! That's really showing off and you let peeps ride on your "furniture"? Do you also apply a hand rubbed finish and make the riders clean their tires?
 

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miniman said:
Hand carved pegs!! That's really showing off and you let peeps ride on your "furniture"? Do you also apply a hand rubbed finish and make the riders clean their tires?
Yes.

Wood Hardwood Wood stain Plywood Lumber
 

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Timber locks

There are screws and then there are timberlocks. If you want bomber they are the way to go. A multitude of lengths and are reusable. A little expensive but they beat all other screws by far if you want things to stay together. An impact driver works best.
 

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highdelll said:
(I Hate this 'term' to death, but...)

OWNED!!:thumbsup:
I cheated with that picture. I had just finished that section so nobody had ridden it yet and it was pouring rain. There's no finish on it.
I wouldn't suggest that anybody build ladders this way unless you have a lot of time to kill or you are ridiculously environmentally friendly. When this ladder rots there won't be any nails or screws left in the forest but it takes forever to carve the dowel (it's a branch whittled to size and shape) and drill the holes.
Wood Hardwood Wood stain Plywood Lumber

What you can't see is that the framing is all hand peeled, hand-carved, compression fit, round, mortise & tenon joinery and the entire thing is free-standing. Half a dozen guys could drag it away and put it somewhere else. I had a LOT of time to kill.

It's holding up well. 5 years later and it's still good and strong. I had no idea how long it would last when I first built it.
 

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forrestvt said:
There are screws and then there are timberlocks. If you want bomber they are the way to go. A multitude of lengths and are reusable. A little expensive but they beat all other screws by far if you want things to stay together. An impact driver works best.
Would a timber lock also be known as a lag bolt or lag screw? I searched for timber lock but didn't have much luck. I use lag bolts a lot in framing. It's worth the money if you want your stuff to last and stay solid.
 

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humber river advocate
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nails all the way... the old wooden bridges around here (+70 years) that survived are all nailed/spiked
 

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jalepenio jimenez
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i've seen decking screws snap when the wood is wet and freezes=expansion

never seen a nail snap, but they pull out a liitle in the same condition

remedy: cross nail with two nails and they can't pull out
 

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Cheap deck screws snap, like the ones you buy at Home Depot. The good screws you can get at a lumberyard won't snap. Yeah, more money but screws are fast to install and solid attachment as they won't work loose.
 

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At one of the IMBA Trail Care Crew visits a couple of years ago, one of the guys mentioned he had a lot of success by using both nails and screws together in a crossing pattern. Example: on the decking board to be attached, put a screw on the upper left side and the lower part of the right side, then use a nail for the lower left and upper right. I have not tried it, but the idea seems solid given the different stresses involved.
 
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