Rebuilding an outdoor bench (dumpster dive)

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Forum topic by Simpleman1775 posted 07-21-2016 08:10 PM 744 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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39 posts in 1594 days

07-21-2016 08:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cypress bench

I saved a wood and wrought iron park bench from the landfill. Its similar to one that you could buy at a big box store for $100- $150. I sanded, scraped and repainted the metal. The back is almost all metal except for the 1” boards holding it in place. My issue now is that I bought 1” cypress to replace the wood. The slats will be 48” x 3” x 1”. The original wood was an unknown hardwood. I live on the water (brackish) so I need something that will not rot and is somewhat inexpensive. Cypress fills both those needs but I don’t know how strong it will be. Should I try something else? Will cypress be strong enough? If not cypress, what should I use? I see quite a few people down here using cypress to build chairs, swings, rockers… Thanks in advance.

9 replies so far

View jwmalone's profile


769 posts in 845 days

#1 posted 07-21-2016 08:33 PM

I’m about to do the same thing to an iron bench for a customer. I grew up in s.w. La. But not real sure about cypress my customer wants cedar. So what I thought about was placing a slat on top and bottom notch for the thickness of the iron basically making a 2 inch board should be more than strong enough, actually over kill. So if you find a better idea to sure that up I will keep a watch on this post. If I find something ill post for you, A 4 foot stretch for 1 inch board seems long to me so I have the same concern. Also thought of mounting a 2 inch wide strip under each one sideways that would work for the board itself but you still have the very end that attaches to the frame to worry about.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1542 days

#2 posted 07-21-2016 08:47 PM

I have no idea if Cypress is strong enough, though there is this.
Just compare the modulus of rupture with that of woods you know to get an idea.

View BurlyBob's profile


5914 posts in 2408 days

#3 posted 07-22-2016 12:05 AM

White oak might be a good option.

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2835 days

#4 posted 07-22-2016 12:10 AM

Cypress will be strong enough used as you described. It’s probably one of your better choices of which wood to use.

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

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1063 days

#5 posted 07-22-2016 01:17 AM


I do not know whether 1” thick cypress is strong enough for your application. I bookmarked a web site posted of a LJ, whose handle I do not recall, to a calculator of sag for shelving. This can perhaps be of some help…

Alternatively, or in addition to the calculator, and perhaps a lame idea is to arrange a set of cypress boards supported a few inches off the floor where the supports are 48” apart could give you an idea of cypress flex under load. Sitting on the center of the planks would probably give you some idea of the strength of cypress. However, if cypress is indeed too weak in this application, a few boards otherwise usable in some other application could crack or break rendering them useless.

I would think one or two floating center braces attached to each seat slat would add a little strength to the seat slats, since the floating braces would cause the slats to share the load.

I doubt there are any issues with the back slats, since load against the back slats would be typically small.

View tealetm's profile


97 posts in 1000 days

#6 posted 07-22-2016 03:40 AM

I did a bench like this a few months ago- I used some mahogany of some variety. It sagged a bit in the middle, especially if your weight was only on a few slats.

My solution was to tie all the slats together in the middle with a metal strap on the backside/underneath.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5222 posts in 1863 days

#7 posted 07-22-2016 12:25 PM

1” Cypress should be strong enough provided it’s not abused or asked to hold up a couple NFL linemen. If you’re still worried about strength, you could get Cypress in 1.5” and taper the ends down to 1” to fit better to the sides. Another thing I would be worried about is the iron, what are you coating it with? Have you considered getting it blasted and powder coated?

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2150 days

#8 posted 07-22-2016 01:17 PM

I did a similar project a few years ago. But I went a different route. I cut the back down narrower and made a chair. Took me almost 3 weeks because I put about 8 coats of clear poly on the poplar wood I used. The frame was painted with Rust-Oleum. Here’s a couple pictures of what I did. The lady whose name was drawn was thrilled to get it!



-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View jwmalone's profile


769 posts in 845 days

#9 posted 07-22-2016 01:22 PM

sweet, next one I find I might try that

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

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