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9 mighty woods for outdoor projects

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Woods for outdoor projects
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Woods for outdoor projects

American softwoods, the traditional choice

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.

Continued on page 3:  Treated woods are common choices


Comments (9)
mmyjak wrote:

Wow.. you almost covered all the bases. WHAT about Thermo-Treated wood? Its the perfect, eco-friendly outdoor wood. No Poisons, plastics or problems.

7/19/2012 09:00:10 PM Report Abuse
mmyjak wrote:

You can use a clear vinyl sanding sealer on cypress. You should be able to topcoat w/out much problem.

7/19/2012 08:51:26 PM Report Abuse
dsoliah wrote:

I have used Cypress for years for Adirondack chairs - I have yet to find a finish that works well on cypress, contrary to the statement it accepts finish as well as cedar and redwood -

7/19/2012 11:19:07 AM Report Abuse
wetzelswoodshop wrote:

black locust is also another good out door wood along with sassafras. G.wetzel

7/19/2012 10:55:25 AM Report Abuse
mapleMoose wrote:

What about new-tech, non-toxic treated woods? - Glass wood (like TimberSIL) - Heat treated wood (like WestWood or Thermo Wood)

7/19/2012 10:35:59 AM Report Abuse
pfalzon wrote:

Oops! I meant the handle of the frying pan.

6/9/2011 03:29:43 PM Report Abuse
pfalzon wrote:

I used purpleheart to replace the one that broke off on a frying pan. It has been in and out of the dishwasher hundreds of times in the past 10 years. Still going strong!

6/9/2011 03:28:39 PM Report Abuse
keith.park wrote:

The wood that I used for a boat transom was purpleheart. Rot resistant and absolutely beautiful to look at. Found it better priced than the equivalent thickness in marine plywood. Tough to work with.

5/27/2011 03:42:42 PM Report Abuse

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