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Thread: Plastic lumber

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    Plastic lumber

    I am planning on building a 3 point hitch carrier for my tractor. The local farm store has the frame and it is designed to be used with 2x6 boards. I have seen some picnic tables in parks and rest area made with dense plastic boards. Some of it looks like recycled bottles. Looks very tough.

    I am thinking that such boards with stainless steel carriage bolts would make a tough long lasting carrier. Anyone have any experience with plastic lumber? Any recommendations as to brands etc?
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I've used some boards from a discarded table for a deer stand. It works well on the outside, as it does not rot like wood. It does build up moss for some reason though. I would not use it for anything structural. Why wouldn't you use steel?

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Some of it is pretty tough and solid.

    The junk that's styrofaom with plastic wrapped around it-- not so much.

    If I was doing it, I'd get some of that green looking pressure treated lumber,
    a handful of Stainless bolts at the big box store, and be done.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 05-22-2020 at 08:25 PM.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Horrble crap, club used it for picnic tables and decking. Warped and soft, no stiffness to it. Also it's HEAVY compared to SFP lumber

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Ive used some and it works good. Not sure how it will hold up to bumps and bouncing. Dad had one for years. ( before the plastic "lumber"). He went to a local saw mill and bought oak 2 X 6 rough sawn. this was the full 2" thick. He then sprayed it down with Thompson water seal very heavy and set it in the sun. I believe he sprayed the boards down before mounting them also. He then sprayed them down around once a year or so. Those boards were still on it when it sold at his estate auction 2 years ago.

    One thing to check is the load rating for the frame, a platform built heavier than that means the frame will give and break first.

  6. #6
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    I've used a little of it. It's super tough in terms of weather resistance but it lacks structural strength. It doesn't do well if you need to span any distance but it's great if it's well supported. As a decking board on 12" centers - it's fine. Get much beyond 16" centers and it shows its weakness.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    I have access to rough cut Illinois white oak.

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    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    It won't hold any weight and the hotter it is the more it sags. Ideally those 2"x6"decking boards shouldn't span more than 16". I would just use pressure treated lumber.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    Thumbcocker, I think you have answered your own question. That oak, especially if you oil it with something will probably still be here when you and I are both long gone.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master dbosman's Avatar
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    The plastic lumbers available in my area of Michigan are not sturdy enough for a three foot wide "park type" bench. They sag with no load, eventually.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    The plastic wood ain't worth doodly squat. I rebuilt a pond spillway bridge with rough cut WHITE OAK 2x6's and 2x8's 22 years ago and haven't had to replace any boards. This bridge regularly has tractors with implement cross it without issue. WHITE OAK is your buddy.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    think you got all the right info so pass on it

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    The composite is great for decking, but as was said, 12" oc joists, of real lumber go underneath.

    The white oak is a much better option.
    "When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat." - Ronald Reagan

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

    Hogtamer's Avatar
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    The oak needs a waterproofing treatment or it is prone to rot rather quickly.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    At the range we have a few chairs made out of it.
    Heavy.
    I think it's held together with lag screws, but can't tell.
    They put caps over the screws.
    I'm thinking it would cost much more than wood.
    But might last longer.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hogtamer View Post
    The oak needs a waterproofing treatment or it is prone to rot rather quickly.
    Nope, that's red oak. White oak has stuff growing in the tubules and prevents water penetration. Red oak is so open it can be used as a straw in some situations. Very different stuff.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  17. #17
    There's a lot of different composite/plastic decking some is much sturdier than others all of it expensive.It makes great lawn furniture heavy but trouble free if you use the good boards.For what your doing you want real wood I don't think I'd use pressure treated too much warping/twisting its brittle and whatever they use now doesn't last any longer than a treated regular board.Only you know how hard you are going to use the carrier if light or medium duty I'd just use pine 2x6s treat them keep it out of the weather they will last a long time oak is going to be heavy.I haul my wood on a wagon with pine 2x6 flooring dump big rounds on with the loader haven't busted it yet.

  18. #18
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    Thumbcocker - I don't know what that 3-point carrier frame looks like but if the frame will adequately support the plastic lumber (no long spans) the plastic lumber will be exceptionally weather resistant.
    However, that stuff isn't cheap and if you have access to inexpensive rough cut white oak, that may be the way to go.
    If you treat that Oak with something to increase its weather resistance, you may end up with something cheap and durable.

    There's a third route and that is to add steel to the carrier before installing the plastic lumber. That will give you greater strength AND the advantage of a weather resistant final assembly.
    The fact that you mentioned stainless steel hardware in your initial post makes me think you are concerned about long term durability. (and I'm with you there, build it once !).
    Plastic lumber is heavy and adding some steel to the frame will make the rig even heavier but white oak is also very heavy, so I think that may be a wash in terms of weight.
    It may just come down to cost. An oak board secured with stainless hardware may rot away but you can replace that board cheaply and easily.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    For what it may be worth---My Dad used to make fence posts out of Quaking Aspen trees. These posts lasted in the ground for many years with no rot. He cut to length, sharpened the end and stood a bunch of them (pointed end down) in open-toped 45 gallon drums with a strong solution of Copper Sulfate (blue stone) and water. If I recall correctly, he left them there for about 2 weeks to cure. Maybe you could use a similar process to cure decking boards, using a trough set-up to submerge the whole board. One thing though is you should cut to size and drill any attachment holes prior to curing as the wood becomes exceedingly hard once cured. An uncured Aspen post did not last very long. Also, I have no idea how this would work on other species of lumber.
    R.D.M.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Plastic composite lumber is plastic mixed with wood fibers and how well it holds up depends on the manufacturer . We used some for porch decking in a experimental "Green " house in New Orleans after Katrina , made with as many "recycled" products as possible . The plastic boards rotted in just a few years ... the plastic didn't protect the wood fibers from water and they softened and rotted quickly . This particular product was a big failure .

    Take a chance if you want but for my money ...treated real wood lumber is the way to go .
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

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