Wood selection for outdoor furniture

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Forum topic by mds4752 posted 10-14-2013 10:27 AM 1154 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 2094 days

10-14-2013 10:27 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar

True noob here. Just finished making my new workbench; used the New Fangled Workbench plans. Very happy with it so far.

Want to build some adironack chairs for family members, so I bought those plans too. The thing is, the plans call for western red cedar or cypress. Most of it is 4/4, but the load – bearing sections are 5/4. I checked at the Woodsmith store here in town (Des Moines, Iowa, USA) and they don’t have the cedar but they do carry cypress. Unfortunately, it’s all either 4/4 or 8/4. They’ve never seen cypress in 5/4.

So my question is: should I substitute another wood for all or portions of this project and go with pine or something I can find in 5/4 or should I keep looking? I like the idea of making them in a material that will stand up to the elements yet be somewhat lightweight. I don’t like the idea of going all 4/4 either because I’d like for them to hold up. Anyone else run into this problem?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions and I apologize for the ignorance.

-- "Live each day as if it were your last; one day you're sure to be right." -- Lt Harry "Breaker" Morant

7 replies so far

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3263 posts in 3060 days

#1 posted 10-15-2013 01:46 AM

Do you know someone that has a good band saw. Buy 5/4 and re-saw it to 4/4.

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17912 posts in 3391 days

#2 posted 10-15-2013 01:56 AM

I would just alter the plans to accept thicker stock for the legs (load bearing) and glue together 2 4/4 boards if you dont have access to a planer

The first adirondack chairs i built were done out of pt decking and tubafores. Theyve held up fair exposed to new england weather for 5 years and will come in 5/4.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

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50 posts in 2094 days

#3 posted 10-15-2013 11:15 AM

Thanks for the replies gents. For whatever reason, it took nearly 3 weeks for my post to show up on the forum. In the meantime, I found a wholesale lumber store that stocks a much bigger variety than the big boxes here in town. They stock 5/4 and 4/4 cypress, so I was able to pick it up there. I’m about 1/2 way through cutting the pieces to their final dimensions. I like the look of this cypress; sure hope it holds up in the elements of Nebraska OK.

Next challenge: figuring out how to put a 1/4” taper on a 2 1/2” x 36” board with no jointer! Thinking about building a jig for my table saw or router…...solving challenges is part of the enjoyment though, isn’t it?!

-- "Live each day as if it were your last; one day you're sure to be right." -- Lt Harry "Breaker" Morant

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169 posts in 2594 days

#4 posted 10-15-2013 11:52 AM

The cypress here in Louisiana (new growth v. old) requires treatment to lessen the probability of rot. I understand that the term “cypress” varies from area to area. I build a lot of outdoor furniture and use 5/4 western red cedar that is purchased from Washington state.

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1 post in 2069 days

#5 posted 10-15-2013 12:37 PM

Recently i remodel my frontward now my focus on to outdoor furniture so give me an idea that which wood furniture is good for outdoor and also enhance the beauty of my outdoor with that furniture…


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50 posts in 2094 days

#6 posted 10-15-2013 05:30 PM

kajunkraft—I bought some spar urethane (or spar varnish, I can’t remember which) to finish it. I’m hoping that will keep it preserved a bit longer. There’s cedar available here too and that’s nearly what I used for the project, but in the end I found the cypress. It’s surprisingly lightweight and pretty soft.

kellyspringe—I’m a real novice in this area, but from doing this project, I’ve learned that some of the most common recommendations of wood for outdoor furniture are: cedar, cypress and mahogony. I didn’t price it, but I’ll bet mahogony is significantly higher than the price of the other two!

-- "Live each day as if it were your last; one day you're sure to be right." -- Lt Harry "Breaker" Morant

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20276 posts in 2241 days

#7 posted 10-15-2013 07:01 PM

Mahogany or teak?

I have two adirondack chairs that I built at least 10 years ago out of cypress. Originally I used exterior spar varnish. It cracked and peeled off within a few years. I then sanded and refinished with some sort of deck stain which has not peeled at all. No hint of rot and they sit out in the weather in MO all year. I would use a deck finish. It is more of a waterproofed and is more flexible. Cypress is great to work with. I have cypress floors(kind of soft for that) and cypress trim in my house.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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