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RE: Wood-frame construction: Life in the real world

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>From: "Arvel L. Williams, P.E." <awilliams(--nospam--at)>
>To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
>Subject: RE: Wood-frame construction:  Life in the real world

>You might want to note that the Borate treatment is susceptible to water.
>Makes you wonder how many time it got wet before it was covered.
>Also, How about the fastener for the stud to the sill?


The Borate treated wood is suposed to tolerate incidental rain during
construction, as long as it will be protected from water during use (i.e,
not used for decks or fence posts).  Of course this is the word from the
Borate industry--and the CCA industry told us that arsenic is not poisonous,
and now the ACQ/ACZA/CA industry is telling us just to use galvanized
fasteners.  Can you spell class-action???


>From: "Jordan Truesdell, PE" <seaint1(--nospam--at)>
>Based on feedback from carpentry crews in my area, I expect that any
>connector I specify will be installed with positive placement guns with
>under-diameter nails.  When nails are involved (and not specified by
>someone else), I usually give the diameter and length. The penny
>designation may have been useful when everything was nailed by hand.
>With most framers using guns I go with the diameter because that's what
>is printed on every box of gun nails.

Jordan,  three cheers for keeping in touch with those who executing your
designs.  I have a Bostich positive placement gun that I will be testing out
soon.  I found 0.131" x 1-1/2" (8-penny) and 0.148" x 1-1/2" (10-penny)
nails for it.  Will give you a report on how well they fire into those
little holes.


>From: "Nels Roselund" <njineer(--nospam--at)>
>To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
>Subject: RE: Wood-frame construction:  Life in the real world
>For projects on which Borate --preserved wood is appropriate [no direct
>exposure of wood to water], I have the contractor treat it on site.
>Boro-care is available form Nisus Corporation [ ].  It
>be applied by painting, spraying or dipping; it's non-toxic and can be used
>without worker-protective equipment.

Nels,  I may use some field-applied stuff on my project.  I've been trying
(not very hard, yet) to find borax in bulk.  I plan to spray the framing
down with a hose and then broadcast  the borax onto moistened lumber once I
get to that point.  The log home industry uses crystalline boric acid (or
something similar--trade name is Impel), which they place in holes bored in
the logs at stategic locations.  If the wood gets damp, the boric acid
diffuses toward the source of moisture.  Works great as long as the boric
acid lasts longer than the source of water.


>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Thor Matteson, SE [mailto:matteson(--nospam--at)]
>>Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2005 12:18 AM
>>Subject: Wood-frame construction: Life in the real world
>>The latest from my ongoing remodeling project:
>>Pressure-treated sill stock:
>>Wood treated with Ammonium Copper Quat (ACQ), Copper Azole (CA) and
>>Ammoniacal Copper Zinc Arsenate (ACZA) is not suitable for use with plain
>>steel or "regular" galvanized fasteners because the copper attacks the
>>very aggressively.  Borate-treated lumber appears not to corrode fasteners
>>appreciably.  Knowing this, I told my contractor to use borate-treated
>>stock.  He called his supplier and was informed that this would take an
>>extra week as a special order.  No problem--we wait a week for the lumber
>>delivery.  What should appear but Copper Azole treated wood??  The entire
>>lumber supply chain immediately became suspect.  The lumber yard did not
>>know (or care) how to tell the difference in treatment chemicals, and
>>supplier didn't either.  But at least now the contractor does, because I
>>showed him what to look for on the little plastic tags that are stapled to
>>the end of each piece of PT lumber.  (Hint:  Look for the initials listed
>>the beginning of this paragraph.)  When I went to another lumber yard to
>>borate treated lumber, I found that it does NOT have those little tags on
>>it--I assume because it is not toxic to humans and the EPA does not
>>it (?)
>>Simpson/USP/KC Metals straps:
>>A few years ago Simpson realized that 16-penny common nails were not
>>available (only a decade or two after this was the case....) and came out
>>with their "MSTC" series of straps.  Their MST  (without the "C") series
>>calls for 16-penny
>>commons to achieve full catalog values--the MSTC straps are intended to
>>16-penny sinkers.  Great idea.  I called or visited four major lumber
>>in my area, in addition to two Home Depots.  None of them carry the MSTC
>>straps--they all carry the old MST straps.  Not wanting to pound dozens of
>>full-length 16-penny commons into both sides of a 4x6 from the MST straps
>>(which don't have nearly as good a staggering pattern for the nails) I
>>looked for Simpson "N16" nails (0.162" x 2-1/2").  I asked at two yards;
>>found clones of the N16's at one yard;  I found 16-penny commons at
>>yard.   The question is:  are the contractors buying the 0.162 inch
>>required for these archaic straps?  I know what the overwhelming answer
>>would be in  MY  area!

>>It's always interesting to see whats happening outside of the office and
>>manufacturers catalogs.  When you get some spare time, try calling around
>>see if the stuff you commonly specify on your drawings is readily
>>You might be surprised.

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