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Cherry Lumber

3653 Views 12 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  sylva
Another rookie question… I have some real nice cherry (5/4) that I would like to use to build a table to be used on our covered porch. We live in Western NC. A friend told me that cherry does not do well when used outdoors. The table will not be in direct sunlight. I also have some nice 5/4 red oak that I could use but like the cherry. If these are not good choices for a porch table, what would be? Also what is the best finish for the top coat?
Thank you.
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Your friend is correct, cherry is not a good choice for outdoors. Neither is oak. Your best bet is probobly Cedar but it depends on what's available in your area. Any finish designed for an outdoor wood deck should be fine. Most finishes designed for indoor furniture are also not going to be a good idea for outdoors.
Not sure how far western NC you are but if you can get some cypress it will do well outdoors also
Thanks guys! It seems that softwoods are the better choice…. I'll re-think my original choice.
White Oak is a good outdoor wood, but definitely not Red. White Oak capillary veins are naturally blocked while Red Oak's are hollow and allow water to wick up inside the lumber.
The best softwoods are Red Cedar and Cypress.

Red Oak (left) / White Oak (right)
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And although it is expensive,Mahagony is also good
Hi, Jim, sorry to be chiming in late on this subject, but you should have white oak in fairly good supply in your area. I know that there are alot of outdoor furniture vendors from NC that utilize white oak. Save that cherry for the next great project.
IMO, the very best outdoor wood is ipé. It is extreme weather resistant. Finishing it is optional. Without a finish, the wood will turn gray (some people like that). If you finish it, it will stay brown. It may be hard to locate, but it is not overly expensive when you find it. I had my local lumber yard get a special order of it for me.
The heat altered wood, so I told, would be good.
Plant Furniture Flowerpot Outdoor bench Wood

Another vote for Ipe. It's pretty heavy, but it seems to be great for outdoor wood projects. I rebuilt this garden bench last year and replaced the ??? wood with Ipe. After a full summer and most of a wet winter, it's just beginning to grey a little.

BTW, this new and improved method to post pics is a real winner!!


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""I have some real nice cherry (5/4) that I would like to use to build a table to be used on our covered porch.""

You certainly could use it for a table if thats the look you want, as long as it stays under cover you'll be able to get many years of service from it.
I would use a marine varnish and be aware that it will darken rather quickly exposed to that much light.
But!! IMO i would use some of the woods mentioned above and save the Cherry for some nice interior pieces.
Thanks again guys! I just stopped at my local sawmill and picked some nice 8/4 red cedar, so I'm heading for my shop…..
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