Recycling Wood - What Dimensions to Use

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Recycling Wood - What Dimensions to Use

Postby ellenclaire » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:52 am

Hi! My husband and I are coming to Burning Man for the first time this year (2013) and we're trying to design our camp. We will be bringing a Ford e250 cargo van and building a two story structure around it. We're very experienced builders, but completely inexperienced burners.

We'd like to buy the lumber locally then leave it for Burners Without Borders at the end of the week. Yes, I know it's better to pre-build, but we'll be traveling from North Carolina and don't want to haul all of that lumber across the country. We'll build a full-scale prototype at home first to ensure it all works.

In order to be as low-impact as possible, we'd like to design the structure so that all or nearly all of the lumber can be donated at the end of the week. I've read various different information on what BWB will take. Does anyone know the answers to the following:

1) I know they will take 2x4 and 4x4 lumber. Will they take other standard dimensions such as 2x6 or 1x2?
2) For length, some info says 'full length' while other says 'over 8 feet'. So, if I have a 12ft board that's cut down to 11'6", for instance, is this acceptable?
3) Related to length, are the standard 93" framing 2x4's acceptable?
4) For plywood, I know it's only full sheets, but are there thickness requirements (i.e. is 1/2" acceptable but 15/32" isn't or vice versa)?

Thanks in advance for all of your help! We'll be posting sketchups of our design once we get to that stage.
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Re: Recycling Wood - What Dimensions to Use

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:57 am

Just a suggestion, but being as that it's your first time.. you may want to leave the two story building of wooden structures for next year. Your first year, you really need to scout out the situation to learn what works and what doesn't, what you need and what you don't, etc..

First year overly ambitious plans more often than not lead to tears. Just saying.



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Re: Recycling Wood - What Dimensions to Use

Postby trilobyte » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:26 am

You may want to check the Burners Without Borders site and use the contact page to ask them directly.

Be mindful of a couple things though.

  • Experienced builders is a great thing, but you want to be well aware of the issues you'll face on the playa. It's a high altitude desert, 100+ degree daytime temps are possible. Work will go extremely slow. That's okay, in fact don't push it. Frequent breaks, LOTS of water, make sure you're replenishing your electrolytes. And sometimes dust storms will kick up that just bring your project to a standstill. Whatever time you think it will take to build in your yard, expect it to take 2-3 times as long once you're out there. People who under-estimate that usually end up in a panic because they're running behind schedule and often push themselves to the point of suffering heat exhaustion or dehydration issues.
  • On the design side, remember that whatever you're building will be free-standing (no poured foundations) and need to be able to withstand 50+ mph winds. Depending on what you're building, that could either be no big deal, or require some changes to your design.
  • Sawdust and woodchips are MOOP. If you're planning on building a multi-story structure on-site, that could end up being a lot of it. Your plan should include some kind of enclosed area (to block wind) that has tarps or dropcloths to catch the waste wood. Plan on sweeping it frequently (as opposed to leaving it for the end), that way not only is your final cleanup easier but there's less chance of a ton of MOOP getting loose if the structure is compromised during a heavy dust storm.
I love seeing awesome creative structures out there, but I second what junglesmacks said. In your first year, I'd recommend keeping your commitments/obligations to an absolute minimum. That way if you get out here and the desert kicks your ass, you don't have the added stress of things you're supposed to be doing. Or if you get out here and find that this crazy city has more shiny blinky things than anywhere in the universe and you feel you must go explore as much as possible, you don't have to feel like you're tethered to some project. Once you're out there, participate in the moment (there are plenty of 'on the day' volunteer opportunities), and do what you feel you have the energy (and interest) in doing.
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Re: Recycling Wood - What Dimensions to Use

Postby some seeing eye » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:21 am

Welcome to Burningman and ePlaya. The building code in the area is for structures to withstand 3 second peak wind at 100mph. Shear and lifting. It might be possible to befriend some Reno burners to cut and drill all your lumber in town and then just assemble it with bolts and screws, sawdust-free, at your campsite. It's not too early to start looking at camps to join, which would make a first year experience more fun. Construction skills are valued and you could travel into a radius of cities to work with your new camp to prebuild structures. In fact, you might see if the temple crew accepts new volunteers.
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Re: Recycling Wood - What Dimensions to Use

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:38 pm

some seeing eye wrote:It's not too early to start looking at camps to join, which would make a first year experience more fun.

General Secretary wrote:Depending on the camp, we don't want people just for fun, but people interested in our theme and willing to work to make it kick-ass.
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