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Forum topic by Jim posted 02-22-2011 03:45 AM 2877 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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32 posts in 2850 days

02-22-2011 03:45 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question cherry oak finishing joining sanding rustic

Another rookie question… I have some real nice cherry (5/4) that I would like to use to build a table to be used on our covered porch. We live in Western NC. A friend told me that cherry does not do well when used outdoors. The table will not be in direct sunlight. I also have some nice 5/4 red oak that I could use but like the cherry. If these are not good choices for a porch table, what would be? Also what is the best finish for the top coat?
Thank you.

-- All who wander are not lost.

12 replies so far

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3040 days

#1 posted 02-22-2011 04:04 AM

Your friend is correct, cherry is not a good choice for outdoors. Neither is oak. Your best bet is probobly Cedar but it depends on what’s available in your area. Any finish designed for an outdoor wood deck should be fine. Most finishes designed for indoor furniture are also not going to be a good idea for outdoors.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

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403 posts in 2989 days

#2 posted 02-22-2011 04:11 AM

Not sure how far western NC you are but if you can get some cypress it will do well outdoors also

-- Greg, Severn MD

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3074 days

#3 posted 02-22-2011 10:27 AM

or redwood

View Jim's profile


32 posts in 2850 days

#4 posted 02-22-2011 02:32 PM

Thanks guys! It seems that softwoods are the better choice…. I’ll re-think my original choice.

-- All who wander are not lost.

View McKinneyMike's profile


80 posts in 2628 days

#5 posted 02-22-2011 04:06 PM

White Oak is a good outdoor wood, but definitely not Red. White Oak capillary veins are naturally blocked while Red Oak’s are hollow and allow water to wick up inside the lumber. The best softwoods are Red Cedar and Cypress.

Red Oak (left) / White Oak (right)

-- McKinney Hardwood Lumber --Specializing in exotic and figured hardwood lumber -McKinney, TX

View 747DRVR's profile


199 posts in 3324 days

#6 posted 02-22-2011 04:10 PM

And although it is expensive,Mahagony is also good

View skippyland's profile


158 posts in 2659 days

#7 posted 02-22-2011 04:21 PM

Hi, Jim, sorry to be chiming in late on this subject, but you should have white oak in fairly good supply in your area. I know that there are alot of outdoor furniture vendors from NC that utilize white oak. Save that cherry for the next great project.

-- Skip from Batavia, purveyor of fine and exotic sawdust & chips.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3042 days

#8 posted 02-22-2011 04:24 PM

IMO, the very best outdoor wood is ipé. It is extreme weather resistant. Finishing it is optional. Without a finish, the wood will turn gray (some people like that). If you finish it, it will stay brown. It may be hard to locate, but it is not overly expensive when you find it. I had my local lumber yard get a special order of it for me.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2744 days

#9 posted 02-22-2011 04:35 PM

The heat altered wood, so I told, would be good.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3036 days

#10 posted 02-22-2011 05:32 PM

Another vote for Ipe. It’s pretty heavy, but it seems to be great for outdoor wood projects. I rebuilt this garden bench last year and replaced the ??? wood with Ipe. After a full summer and most of a wet winter, it’s just beginning to grey a little.

BTW, this new and improved method to post pics is a real winner!!

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View CampD's profile


1653 posts in 3454 days

#11 posted 02-22-2011 06:12 PM

”I have some real nice cherry (5/4) that I would like to use to build a table to be used on our covered porch.””

You certainly could use it for a table if thats the look you want, as long as it stays under cover you’ll be able to get many years of service from it.
I would use a marine varnish and be aware that it will darken rather quickly exposed to that much light.
But!! IMO i would use some of the woods mentioned above and save the Cherry for some nice interior pieces.

-- Doug...

View Jim's profile


32 posts in 2850 days

#12 posted 02-22-2011 06:13 PM

Thanks again guys! I just stopped at my local sawmill and picked some nice 8/4 red cedar, so I’m heading for my shop…..

-- All who wander are not lost.

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