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Old 12-04-2009, 03:22 PM   #1
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


I am building an 8' x 6' garden shed and I have access to a mountain of free lumber. Unfortunately the 2x4's are 5 and 6 foot lengths. They are from pallets at a local mattress store. How can I build a strong exterior wall that is 10' high using only these 5 and 6 foot lengths of 2x4's?

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Old 12-04-2009, 03:46 PM   #2
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


You can't, save yourself the aggravation and buy the studs you need. Use this scrap for blocking and fillers.

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Old 12-04-2009, 03:54 PM   #3
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


Have to agree, not a strong wall with 2x's that are not full length
With a 10' high wall you need full length studs

Where are you located?
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:04 PM   #4
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


Buy new studs not that many, I know moneys tight.

Many somebody else knows keep looking there may be a magical carpenter out there.
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:47 PM   #5
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


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You can't, save yourself the aggravation and buy the studs you need. Use this scrap for blocking and fillers.
I disagree. What about making hexagons like a beehive wall. Students at the University of Calgary built a bridge out of popsicle sticks that held 5030 pounds of load before it collapsed. I guess what I'm looking for here is ideas. Three people have already posted that it can't be done. More postings like that are really not helpful.


BTW I'm not looking for a "magical carpenter" just one that can consider alternative construction methods.
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:20 PM   #6
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


You want to build an exterior wall. Exterior to what? If it is a place where people live, you'd have to get it inspected. If it is for a shed for storage, just cobble them together as you like (two 5' tall stud wall sections placed one on top of the other?). But, the strength will not be there without bracing and my guess is you could spend more on metal plates and what not to get to where it is strong enough IMO.
Good luck.
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:38 PM   #7
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


The OPS stated this was a garden shed, not a habitable structure. The OPS did not ask about permits or construction to code. The question simply was could you build a strong exterior wall using 4 and 5 foot long lumber.

You certainly can build an adequately strong exterior wall. The key is to get the strength from exterior grade sheathing rather than from the framing lumber. By using 3/4 inch plywood attached at frequent intervals (say every 6 inches with screws or nails) to the framing lumber, you can build a perfectly satisfactory wall without having continuous studs. To connect the studs, you can either use an inexpensive metal splice plate, or overlap the joint using a 2 or 3 foot piece of 2x4. Run the plywood all the way down to the bottom of the sill plate, as this will give you extra strength. Make use you use full size sheets of plywood, and overlap the framing joint.

Will this be as strong as a continuous stud wall? No, but remember, this is a garden shed, not a house.
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:55 PM   #8
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


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The OPS stated this was a garden shed, not a habitable structure. The OPS did not ask about permits or construction to code. The question simply was could you build a strong exterior wall using 4 and 5 foot long lumber.

You certainly can build an adequately strong exterior wall. The key is to get the strength from exterior grade sheathing rather than from the framing lumber. By using 3/4 inch plywood attached at frequent intervals (say every 6 inches with screws or nails) to the framing lumber, you can build a perfectly satisfactory wall without having continuous studs. To connect the studs, you can either use an inexpensive metal splice plate, or overlap the joint using a 2 or 3 foot piece of 2x4. Run the plywood all the way down to the bottom of the sill plate, as this will give you extra strength. Make use you use full size sheets of plywood, and overlap the framing joint.

Will this be as strong as a continuous stud wall? No, but remember, this is a garden shed, not a house.

Thank you for your post. That's what I was looking for. But instead of 3/4" plywood what would you think of using 1"x4" boards continuously butted against eachother horizontally from the bottom plate to the top plate. I can get those free by just taking more pallets apart.
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:01 PM   #9
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


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Three people have already posted that it can't be done
I count 1 person that said it can't, 2 that said you should buy full length studs

Are you building a hexagon shed out of popsicle sticks?

Splice plates are $1 each from the ones I have bought
The extra cost on 3/4" plywood VS 1/2"....well you could buy the studs with what you would save by being able to use 1/2" plywood on full length studs
Can you do it......Yes
Will you save $$ using the 1/2 studs & 3/4" plywood & metal splices...No

6x8 garden shed - no permit required around here under 100 sq ft

How long will the 1x4's be?
Most pallets I see are 4' long
I can't see them giving as much strength as a 4x8 sheet of 3/4 plywood
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:11 PM   #10
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


You could also build a garden shed out of Popsicle sticks, but I wouldn't recommend it. I can't imagine why you would take pallets apart to build a garden shed. Surely your time is worth more. The end product will not be the same as if you purchased the proper material.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:54 PM   #11
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


Sorry I missed the original post about it being a garden shed. Mea culpa. It's Friday.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:19 PM   #12
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


Consider to use the 1x4s on the diagnal - triangles are strong.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:57 AM   #13
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


Since you have all that free lumber why don't you just sister the joints like Daniel Holzman suggested but use 12" centers. Then you can use 1/2" plywood or better yet T1-11 and Scuba Dave's cost concerns are moot.

I like the way you are using recycled wood that would otherwise end up in a landfill. The cost of disposing of the pallets is a cost Scuba Dave didn't figure into his cost analysis. It's a real financial cost now - hauling it to the dump and a hidden cost that future generations must pay.
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:23 PM   #14
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


Take two 5' boards and put them end to end, flat. Now take a third 5' board, put it right on top of the other two. Nail together.

Now will this be as strong as new lumber? No. Do you care?

Since you have an unlimited supply of wood, you can use additional 2x4 pieces as corner bracing. So when you have the stud wall up, and the ceiling joists in place, put a board at a 45 degree angle to conect a stud to a joist. This will add a lot of strength. Since you have 10' ceilings you have plenty of room to put the bracing in without giving up headroom. Is a wall like this (with bracing) as strong as a new-lumber wall? I don't think the calculations that would be requried to determine an informed answer are within the scope of this forum!

But here's another answer if you want to use the lumber and want to build something that you KNOW is strong -- build a pole structure. Use the proper size PT posts for the building size you're making, and then use the other lumber to fill in the voids.

Here's a third alternative. Take two 5' 2x4's and make one foot of the end of each one a 1x4. Glue and screw them together. You now have 8' studs. Even better would be to make a tennoned scarf joint, but that would take more time, and probably not be worth the effort for a garden shed.
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:32 PM   #15
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Build 10 foot wall with 5 foot 2x4's


All these suggestions are fine if you consider your own labor as free. Personally my time is worth more than cobbling together a $4.00 stud.

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