9 mighty woods for outdoor projects
Woods for outdoor projects
The three most widely available and suitable exterior lumber choices, not treated with chemical preservatives, include Western red cedar, redwood, and cypress. Your geographic location will determine the availability and cost of these materials. Redwood, for example, is widely available and used in the western United States. Western red cedar is commonly sold in the Midwest, and eastern U.S. cypress, which grows throughout the South and Southeast, often gets the nod in those locales due to its availability and economical price.
Western red cedar and redwood stock tend to appear straight-grained and are dimensionally stable and naturally decay resistant. Both, however, can split when driving fasteners. Also, both species bleed tannins that make using fasteners and painting more problematic. The tannins appear as stains around fasteners and can even show through painted surfaces. Proper prepping of the wood, however, lets it accept all wood stains and clear finishes.
The third major player, cypress, grows in swamps and has a conical base, with roots that seem to stand out of the water. Its sapwood is almost white, while the heartwood color varies from a light yellow brown to a reddish brown and dark brown. Inland cypress, like the sample shown here, has the lighter-colored heartwood. It features beautiful ashlike grain patterns and accepts finish as readily as redwood or cedar.
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