To paraphrase an old pearl of wisdom, I would say “Give me a piece of furniture, and I have furniture. Give me a circular saw and some timber, and I have an avocation.” Working with timber is one of the most satisfying hobbies and/or careers a person can perform. I helped my dad build the addition to our house when I was a child. The scents of sawdust and of wood overheated by a dull saw blade still make me feel at home. The sound of a nail being driven into the wood, with its pitch rising with each successive blow, is music to my ears. I still analyze the grains of wood to determine hardwood or softwood, ash, oak, mahogany, white pine, or yellow pine. In short, I am a dedicated timber nerd. I can spend hours strolling through the home improvement store, just enjoying the scents. But, enough about me. Here are 5 things you can build with timber.
Raised Planting Beds
This is a pretty simple assignment – build a raised planting bed. It is, basically, a box. They are used in city-scapes, home gardens, and interior spaces. The raised planter gives you the opportunity to have plants around you regardless of soil conditions, because you get to determine what kind of soil in in the planter.
When you build a raised planting bed, use timber that is resistant to rot. Redwood or cedar are the most common choices for this. You also want boards that are of a pretty substantial weight and size, so that it will withstand the weight of soil and water, and the pressure of plant roots. Dig out a trough for the boards, and make sure they are level before you screw them together. Some people line their planter with plastic, but make sure that it can drain properly to avoid root rot.
Timber Retaining Walls
These are beautiful solutions to property that is steeply sloped. You can build up your lawn or garden, once you have build a sturdy retaining wall. This is often done with landscaping timbers that are laid horizontally and staked to the ground in successive layers. Others will sink the timbers vertically into the ground, with reinforcement behind to keep them from splaying. This can look great with a home that features timber cladding.
Decks are particularly popular with homeowners, because it gives them the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors without having to slog through mud or other inventions of nature. The deck can be an outdoor living area, complete with floor space, steps, shade, and planters. Timber of various sizes can be used for this project, giving you more opportunity to try your joining skills.
Dress up your garden with a beautifully crafted timber gate. Patterns abound on the internet and at woodworking stores. You don’t have to work in wrought iron to build a beautiful gate.
If you elect to build stairs to your home or deck, remember this – each riser should be EXACTLY the same height, and level. Otherwise, people will trip.
Now, go – enjoy working with wood and power tools.