View Full Version : Where do you buy timbers??

04-01-2004, 01:35 AM
I've been looking for some timbers, and can't find any locally other than the 4"is flat top/bottom with rounded edges. I am looking for something more like a rough cut 6by. Some people want me to build a wall with something like this, as their neighbor has one, and they think it looks good. I'd rather do something in stone, but can't convince them. So, where can I look and what else do I need to know about them?? is the wood treated?? with what??

04-01-2004, 04:35 AM
down here I have used and seen Creosote and Pressure treated Wood for retaining walls.

The Pressure treated come 6x6 from the local Lumber store.

The Creosote lumber I got from the CN Rail Yard (train). I think they were a 6x8 or 8x8 and the 14 footers were heavy as heck.

Both woods are chemically treated and may be banned in some places now. The creosote is very dirty to the touch but will last a very long time.

I wouldn't use a non treated wood, it won't last long if touching the ground.

D Felix
04-01-2004, 07:28 PM
Railroad ties will not hold up as long as pressure treated will, RR ties are meant to be set on a stone bed, not be in contact with soil.

As for 6x6's, any decent lumber yard ought to have them. Lowe's/Home Depot does....


04-01-2004, 07:33 PM
Home Depot $13.97 a piece

04-01-2004, 10:33 PM
$13.97 with what type of treatment?? Also, are they 'rough cut'?? Any of you ever use these on walls?? I am wanting to get into some stone work and I'm trying to convince them against wood, but they ain't havin' none. If you guys have any pics of walls with these 6by's send some over. I'm gonna try to get a pic. over the weekend of the area to be walled, maybe you can give your opinions, but I think continuing with the pavestone they have in the front of the house would look a ton better, but since I'm not paying for it I guess it's up to them. I don't want to sound like more of an idiot, but how do you hold them together??

04-02-2004, 12:28 AM
you run tiebacks at a 90 degree angle from the wall.

Then you run Deadmen onto the Tiebacks. The Deadmen run parallel with the wall.

THen you backfill. Include proper drainage and compaction.

Its pretty simple. Just remember when you build this kind of wall
you have to dig back far enough from the wall for the Tiebacks to support the height of the wall.

You ever notice on a good wall that there seems to be the end of a 6x6 or 8x8 every so often. Those are the tiebacks.

If you dont include the tiebacks and deadmen your wall will fall over or lean within a few years.

Galvanized spiral Spikes. (big nails)

04-03-2004, 08:04 PM
Just a quick suggestion. A couple of years ago I started using 8" TimberLok screws instead of spikes. The labor/time savings is incredible.

D Felix
04-04-2004, 01:00 PM
I second the suggestion to use timber screws rather than spikes. It IS a huge time saver, not to mention that they, by design, will not work back out of the timber like a spike eventually will. Yes, they cost a little more than a spike, but you more than make up for it in time.

For a spike you need to pre-drill, or the spike will tend to "wander" out of the front or back of the timber as you drive it. You don't need to do that for the screws.

Use a 1/2" drill to drive the screws, you may have good luck soaping the threads before driving them. I doubt a normal 3/8" drill would handle 8" screws. Some cheaper 1/2" drills may not.

I don't know what you mean by "rough" cut. I don't think I've ever seen a rough cut 6x6. The only thing that comes close is a RR tie, and like I've said, you don't want to use those.

Here's a picture of a 6x6 wall that I did with a few buddies while in school. This is the finished wall. I'll post some more pics of how it went together. It's five courses tall (above grade), with a base course of two 4x6's side by side. I don't remember why we did that for sure, but we did.:) It has a deadman in it, though it's not visible from the front. I'll post a pic of how that went in as well.


D Felix
04-04-2004, 01:10 PM
This is the base. You can see the 4x6's in this one. It's probably easier just to use a 6x6 instead of two 4x6's. Like I said, I don't remember why we did it this way....:rolleyes:


D Felix
04-04-2004, 01:13 PM
Sorry, double posted.......

D Felix
04-04-2004, 01:15 PM
This one shows how we did the deadman. We wanted the wall to not have the end of a timber sticking out, so we dado'ed the timber to install the deadman. We then pinned it with spikes, making sure that it was pinned into the course below, as well as the course above. We didn't feel that we needed more than one deadman, considering the way the wall was shaped, as well as the limited hieght.

The picture may not be really clear, but there is a timber attached to the tie-back, running parallel to the wall as the deadman....


edit: Looking at other pictures, I was wrong, we put in two deadmen, both on the third course of 6x6's. There is a deadman centered in the section running perpendicular to the house, as well as the angled portion....

04-04-2004, 01:25 PM
Nice Job.

I like how you hid the deadman. Looks like you toenailed that (toescrewed) deadman into the run. Is that strong enough?

Here is some pictures I found on the net

In my last post I wrote : tieback as deadman and the deadman should read tie-back.

The wood at 90 degrees to the Wall, like D felix said is the dead man, just like the picture below.

The tieback is when you have more than 1 deadman, you join the two deadman with a tie-back. The tie-back ends up being parallel with the Wall run.

04-04-2004, 01:27 PM
Here is another picture

D Felix
04-04-2004, 01:43 PM
We toenailed many of the timbers using 16d sinkers as temporary holding devices until we got the larger spikes in place. That is another reason to use timber screws; the timbers don't move on you when driving them...


04-04-2004, 09:25 PM
How is the wood you're using treated, and is this the stuff you buy at lowes/hdepot?? I usually just cut with a chainsaw, you guys look as though you have nicer cuts, what do you use??
Dan, how much did you do that wall for?? That is my next problem is I don't really know how to bid this job. This particular one will suck because it also goes up a hill. Any more pics anyone?? I like looking at others work for ideas.

04-04-2004, 09:33 PM

Some timber construction we have done.

04-04-2004, 11:10 PM
Nice stuff, looks good.


04-05-2004, 02:22 PM
DAN - Also, how did you work going into the hill like that?? That's about what I'll have to do.

Kohls Landscaping Co
04-05-2004, 06:49 PM
I was looking at timbers at Lowes and found the following prices...

6"x6"x12' were $32.95
6"x6"x8' were $22.something

They were treated and supposed to last 25 years...


04-05-2004, 09:31 PM
Kohls, finally the answer I was looking for. Thanks. Do the have the timber screws at Lowe's also?? Thinking of starting this weekend, guess I'll actually have to go tomorrow and price everything out myself.....

04-05-2004, 09:42 PM
Just a suggestion...

When you cut treated wood the edge you cut is no longer treated. Therefore, it's best to touch up any cut pieces with sealer, it will just help with the rot (or lack thereof) over time.

D Felix
04-06-2004, 09:27 AM
All of our cuts on that particular wall were with a circular saw (7 1/4"), and finished with a handsaw. You can cut through a 6x6 with an 8 1/4" circular saw by cutting, flipping over and cutting again. A 7 1/4", you can't do that though. If it's a square cut, you can cut the 4 sides and have about a 1/2" left in the center, if it's angled, you have more than that left, unless you want to try to match the angle with the saw table...

That particular wall was built about 4 years ago, we were four hungry college students at the time. We were probably cheaper than we would be today, but for the entire project (wall, rip and tear of existing landscape, re-landscape, re-seed the back yard), we were, IIRC, around $5k or so.

The timbers were treated .60 CCA, I think. I have no idea what the comparable AC2 is now. With the .60 CCA, it got the chemical pretty well to the center of the timber. With .40 CCA, it only treated about the outer 1-1 1/2" or so. So with the .40, you would need to treat the cuts.

As far as going into the hill, you just step up your base course at the appropriate spot. It can be a little tricky, but once you have a couple of timbers set, it's not that hard.