Carpenter forums?


Valued Senior Member
Do any exist on the web?

I'm starting a big outdoor project and have a few questions for the experts..

I'll take any help you can give!

So basically, I have no knowledge of building things. I'd like to build a cheap, low tech version of this:

Now.. the dimensions can be figured out, but I'm looking for tips on how to make the structure super sturdy. The main questions right now are:
Whats the best kind of wood to use?
Where can you find geodesic joints?
What tools will I need?
What noob problems am I bound to encounter?

(yes I could buy the kit but this so much more fun)
You would want to build something like that wouldn't you! I said I could help you with carpentry not some new age geodesic flim flammery!

Looks like the key to that is the geodesic joints, I haven't seen one of them up close but from the photo it looks like they'll give you the proper shape automatically.
In building a greenhouse you will get lots of condensation so the wood will need to be impregnated to protect against mold and rot.
The smaller the diameter the thinner the framing material you can use (thinner=cheaper).
You also have to take into consideration snow and wind which will both put stress on the frame.
Start by finding out more about the geodesic joints.
i wouldnt use wood myself.

what i would use:
2cm steel pipe.
angle grinder.
mig welder.
good blue print.

no need to worry about nails or glues, and its strong enough to withstand a bit of rough&tumble while you make it.
I like to note that I've seen a carpenter get inpailed on a spring from a attic stairs, okay it was only he's hand but the spring went right through it and he had to back of almost half a meter to get the spring out.
The point is if you would like to learn juggling don't start with chainsaws. Fundings can move, glass can crack, snow can exert extra pressure, wood can rot!!!
What noob problems am I bound to encounter?

Ending on the floor afther a 2m drop ontop of all your nails while some heavy equipment is hanging above your head like damacles sword?

Now is perhaps a good time to say that I installed shelf over my bed and one day it came tumbling down. It could yust as well have happened at night so I got a 1/3 change of getting squashed with (heavy)terracota and books
You might be able to buy geodesic brackets to save you the hassle of working the wood. You'll just need to cut the 2x4 to the right length.

If you can't find them, it might be worth getting some made. Even if you screw up the wood aspect, it'll be relatively cheap to start again and you'll have some nice metal brackets.
Judging from the picture, they use some kind pentagon shaped metal brackets on both sides of the wood. I'm surprised that's enough to hold it up...

Found a few forums, thanks.

I sliced my big toe open with an exacto-knife. That was five years ago. I'm ready for anything now :m:

Worth looking into. I also considered using PVC pipes and bamboo for a bit.

Sock puppet path,
You have to admit, it looks cool ;)

Should I use pressure treated wood?
Do those metal brackets in the picture look familiar to you?
Pressure treated wood is probably worth it yeah. You can polyurethane it afterwards for extra protection if you wanted.

The brackets will be custom. I'd imagine. I mean, the angles and size of them would depend on the size of dome, wouldn't it? Unless they just make the triangles bigger. I can't think of any common use for them.
Some pre-made ones, but the size of your dome is pre-determined.. hmm.

It's an interesting problem :)

You could probably get metal plates from your local DIY place, but they're usually 'L' shaped, straight '|', or '+'. Not five sided and.. hmm.
Some coffee and a bit of paper is needed. I'll have a think.
Those brackets in the pic above appear to be pentagonal shaped plates with holes drilled for lag bolts to go through. Most metal shops which have a CNC router could make perfect copies, as many as you need. If you have a drill press you can bore the holes yourself and save a few bucks. A 1/8" hardboard template will make sure you get the holes in the same place for each plate. A solid jig that holds the plank square in place to your drill bit will help make the holes through the planks straight and true. You would want to be very careful with this process. Out-of-aligned holes will make for an unstable structure, if you can actually put it together.

The planks look to be 2x6, so the plates would be about 8-10" across and maybe 3/4"- 1" thick. Aluminum, maybe? Steel? Hard to tell.
I think you should just make a truss. however, if you want to make a geodesic, then I would suggest making several small models to figure out the details. also, you could probably use some nail plates that you can pre-bend to the correct angles (looks like what they did in your picture). although, standard nail plates are sort of thin, so you may want to make them out of thicker metal, and maybe pre-drill some holes.

here are some links:
I didn't see phonetic's link. that looks like an easy way to make it.
Again, thanks for all the help.

After scowering the net, I've decided to use the following method:
I'll take a week or so to enhance this design(toothplates that cato posted), plan everything carefully, then wait for the weather to clear up and post pictures when it's done -- hopefully by May. Those starplates looks interesting, but a 3v geo-dome would be *much* cooler.

About the pressure treated wood.. on second thought, that may not be such a good idea. The chemicals are toxic, and will leech into the greenhouse air. I'll use linseed oil instead.

BTW, (Q), you were close. There is more information on their website: