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walking board capped with metal

I see metal strapping nailed on the end of boards used on UK gardening shows to cross over beds to reduce compaction. I do not see that on similar US shows and have never nailed strapping to any boards I use here in the US for similar purpose. What is the purpose of this metal strapping?


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,346
    edited June 2021
    I think you're referring to scaffold boards which are used regularly here for all sorts of purposes, including making raised beds. It's standard that they have metal ends to prevent wear and tear  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • GravelEaterGravelEater Posts: 111
    edited June 2021
    Just what I was thinking @Fairygirl
    Looks like this: 

    The purpose seems to be for protecting the end grain and reducing damage.  After all a scaffold board is for placing across steel poles and for walking along, sometimes carrying weight.  They need to be kept in good condition and the bands help to extend the life.  There is probably a lot more health and safety 'BS' in this country than the USA, but I prefer to stay out of hospital.
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,617
    Maybe the boards used in the US are better grade wood as they have an infinite supply of the stuff where we in England have to import it making it expensive in comparison. English boards are 38mm or 1 1/2 inches thick where US boards are 2 inches thick.
  • We use normal construction wood in the USA for the purpose. It does not need to be as strong as scaffolding material to support your weight across the ground.  while you can buy wooden scaffolding, I normally see a mix of metal rails paired with wood or all metal for decking, which is over all lighter. Scaffolding planking is normally much more expensive then construction wood because it needs to meet high standards of deflection. we has the same amount of safety regulations here though I would not call them BS, no one wants their mom or dad dying on the job site.

    Because we have a gluttonous amount of wood still, I assume we just throw away the scaffolding boards earlier when we use wood. I don't know this for sure but it sounds about right and makes me sad. 

    Construction wood in the USA is call 2x (two by ) however that is part of a system of  'nominal sizing'. the 2 is the size the raw wood was cut before, drying, finishing passes, and edge rounding were placed on it and the wood itself is only 1.5"(38mm) thick. 'Old' houses in the USA sometimes use 'rough cut' lumber which is actually '2x4' but most 2x4s are actually 1.5x3.5 inches in size. 

    Construction lumber in the USA is made from pine normally. Two type of pine are generally used white pine and yellow pine.  There are many species that fall in these two categories and the category white should not be confused the actually white pine species. a lot of times Douglas fir is used for white pine, affectionately known as doug-fir.   

    In general yellow pine is:
     - stronger/ denser so it does not dent as easily. This 'soft' wood is harder then many 'hard' woods.. the hard (angiosperm) and soft (gymnosperm) monikers having to do with seed type and not the hardness of the wood. (example balsa wood is a 'hard wood') 
     - heavier
     - uptakes takes chemicals under pressure better and is used for pressure treated lumber (similar to the differences between red and white oak having more open 'straws')
     - can be found in many exterior situations because of the high uptake up pressure treating which is mold inhibiting process to extend the life of the wood and the density allows it to be exposed to the world and not get all banged up looking. 

     white pines is:
     - weaker/ less dense so it dings up easily  
     - lighter/softer
     - because it is lighter it is generally used in house construction and not as weather resistant so is normally only used in protected environments.  (I build my English Style Nicholson bench out of white pine as it is soft and will dent before my furniture projects)

    There are other pines, like sugar pines and the like, but that gets into a conversation about furniture grade lumber.... which is 10 times the cost and only a crazy person would use that in a garden setting. 
    In the USA many people used pressure-treated lumber for raised beds (some people used cedar or untreated pine [yellow or white] for fears of chemicals in their food)

    I use a normal white pine 2x6 (1.5"x5.5") to walk on. It is lighter weight and holds up my weight (180pounds) well enough over a 4 foot span. Because I store it in out of the weather, I don't need any treatments on it. 

    Thanks for the information on British stuff!
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,788
    The scaffold boards used to make raised beds etc are usually ones that are sold on by the construction trades as no longer fit to use for their original purpose … therefore they are economical to buy and sound environmentally.  😊 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

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