Reply by devann

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Posted on Material Choice for Kid's Picnic Table

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2246 posts in 2932 days

#1 posted 05-07-2016 09:02 PM

Bill, it’s more of a personal preference. I like the color without treating the wood. I like it when the wood turns that silver/gray color. Reminds me of the driftwood at the beach on the Northwest Pacific coast. However most folks like the way cedar & redwood looks when it’s new. For that I use boiled linseed oil. Need to reapply has the wood dries out refilling the cells that once had water with oil. It also helps to minimize the exposure to direct sunlight to keeping that “new” color.

The Thompson product does have an UV inhibitor, which helps maintain the natural color, but I’m not sure what else is in there that I don’t want on a table I’m eating off of. The tables I built for the youngsters I just let nature take her coarse, I didn’t want anything on there that might effect a child. I have cleaned them with a wire brush and water on occasion.

Redwood is another good choice. It and cedar share their rot & insect resistant qualities. Both will turn a nice silver/gray color left untreated. The reason I recommend cedar is cost. I’ll build a cedar picnic table for almost half the cost of redwood. I charge the same price for labor for ether species, there is that much a difference in cost. Cost can vary by region. It’s going to be higher on the East coast than out west. The same can be said for western red cedar too. The shipping cost have a big effect on cost.

Redwood can get really expensive buying the better grades (older growth). The older the tree, the closer to the center, the darker the red color, was the more it cost. Example: The cheapest redwood for a board that cost, say $20, expect prices to nearly double and then quadruple has the board gets closer to the center of the tree. Clear (knotfree) redwood or western red cedar, expect astronomical prices.

Here’s a project link to one of a pair of redwood picnic tables I built that sold for $500 each. I priced the labor for these tables slightly higher because they were an eight board top as opposed to a simpler six board top. My goal was to build a table that the person sitting at the end wouldn’t have to sit straddling a table leg. That and I wanted to see how far I could extend the table top out past the frame/legs trying to make a wheelchair compatible picnic table.

I have built redwood picnic tables for customers that purchased their own redwood. A good portion of it was the younger wood, there will be streaks of sapwood ( it’s actually white in color). I mixed Minwax Sedona Red stain with wipe on poly to even out the color and give it a protected finish.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

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