Teak alternative for outdoor furniture project

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Forum topic by Blindhog posted 09-30-2016 06:08 PM 1561 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Blindhog's profile


132 posts in 1554 days

09-30-2016 06:08 PM

I would like to use Teak for some planned outdoor furniture builds; but the cost and availability does not seem practical. After checking with various sources in the area (Austin, Tx) it has come down to cypress (sinker or new growth) or spanish cedar.
I would greatly appreciate some advice on which would provide the best product with regards to ease of workability and longevity. I plan to leave the pieces unfinished and want to achieve a silver patina over time. The location is in the shade but exposed to weather but not direct sunlight.
Any tips would be most appreciated.
Thanks in advance for your time and response.


-- Don't let perfection get in the way of plenty good enough

14 replies so far

View pontic's profile


697 posts in 1114 days

#1 posted 09-30-2016 06:19 PM

Might I suggest Locus wood. It is a North American hardwood. It works like a Teak but you can glue it. Very rot resistant. It’s got your silver patina as well. The oriental lattice work in the picture is Locus wood.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1407 days

#2 posted 09-30-2016 06:22 PM

For your application I would try new growth cypress , I cant speak for the silver patina that you are after. Cypress is often pretty easy to work with and easy on tools. check out norms Adirondack chairs that he revisited after many years. I believe its in the Adirondack bench video.

View Aj2's profile


2478 posts in 2303 days

#3 posted 09-30-2016 06:28 PM

All woods turn silver gray from the sun.
I vote for cypress.
Only because I have never worked Locus before.
I have heard good things about it.


-- Aj

View pontic's profile


697 posts in 1114 days

#4 posted 09-30-2016 07:03 PM

Heres a picture of a locust board. The poorman’s teak. Some of the original poarches on pre cival war homes in North Carolins are still holding up. Disclaimer, better have a sharp blade on your saw.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View Blindhog's profile


132 posts in 1554 days

#5 posted 09-30-2016 09:41 PM

Thanks for the feedback!
pontic, Am I correct in that being black locust? Did a little web search and I like the sustainability and the fact that it is a domestic species. Contacted Black Locust Lumber USA and they seem to be amenable to selling small quantities.
Looks like this wood is just getting onto the commercial market.

-- Don't let perfection get in the way of plenty good enough

View JayT's profile


6292 posts in 2717 days

#6 posted 09-30-2016 09:50 PM

Black locust is very durable, but as pontic alludes to, contains silicates and can dull a blade very quickly. It’s pretty hard, but not that difficult to work other than those factors. One of the saywers I use has it available occasionally.

If you are in Texas, you might also see if there is someone in your area that cuts Osage Orange. It doesn’t meet ease of workability you are after, but if you make something out of it, that piece will be there long after you are dead. There are Osage Orange fenceposts in my area that are decades old. It withstands just about anything. I know it’s native to Texas, but not many sawyers handle it and it can be difficult to find longer and wider pieces because of how the tree grows.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View pontic's profile


697 posts in 1114 days

#7 posted 10-01-2016 12:05 AM

Yes you are correct. It is black Locust. Use carbide tipped blades. Helical head planers and Jointers. Goslow and youwill dowell. Osage orange is mighty durable stuff but doesn’t come in large legnths like the mighty Black Locust does. Your wife will like the look and feel of Locust better than Cyprus pine. Which ain’t that durable.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 1992 days

#8 posted 10-01-2016 12:34 AM

using cypress for outdoor furniture is the norm here in south Louisiana. great stuff. Is rather soft and light but still has excellent strength. Can’t really comment on black locust but it sounds like great stuff as well. I’d probably use Osage orange if I had access to cheap stock.

Cypress still holds a place in this cold dead heart.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1958 days

#9 posted 10-01-2016 12:48 AM



-- Madmark - [email protected]

View Blindhog's profile


132 posts in 1554 days

#10 posted 10-01-2016 11:52 AM

Thanks again for your feedback. The black locust looks good but we’ll see what kind of pricing I can get because it will need to be shipped. I’ve got a good source for cypress (sinker/new growth) locally and I have some experience working with that wood.
MM, I built an large elevated deck with ipe 6-7 years ago that turned out really nice. While it is a great outdoor wood; it is hard to work and tough on tools, plus it is not domestic. I think I machined it more than worked it. LOL

-- Don't let perfection get in the way of plenty good enough

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 1926 days

#11 posted 10-02-2016 06:35 PM

have you considered apitong? It is a good wood for what you’re doing. It’ll turn grey like cedar will. It is bug resistant, & takes stains well. One of it’s main uses is flooring in semi trailers because of it’s durability. If you research it, it is also used in furniture. That’s what I use it for. Some will say it’s hard on tools, but I didn’t have any trouble with it. Neither on the lathe, nor hand working it. It is a heavy wood, so be prepared for that when you get the project finished. Its not all that expensive, either. I get it here in NW Kansas for $5.50/bdft. & wood prices in this part of Gods’ country can, at times, break the bank if a feller ain’t careful. jmo. And before ya ask about pictures, I’ve tried, & evidently I’m not doin’ somethin’ right, bcause it didn’t work

-- Sawdust703

View a1Jim's profile


117721 posts in 4083 days

#12 posted 10-02-2016 06:55 PM

Here are some choices for outdoor projects, of course, they are not all teak like.

View Blindhog's profile


132 posts in 1554 days

#13 posted 10-02-2016 08:27 PM

Sawdust703, not familiar with apitong. Did a web search, seems pretty durable but imported and I’m trying to use domestic whenever possible.
a1Jim, thanks for the link, I’ve seen that article; good info.

-- Don't let perfection get in the way of plenty good enough

View runswithscissors's profile


3071 posts in 2531 days

#14 posted 10-03-2016 04:12 AM

Iroko silvers up nicely. Used it for the drop boards in a sailboat cabin, and it’s been good now for around 30 years or so.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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