appropriate wood for outdoor benches.

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Forum topic by donaldmee posted 03-15-2011 05:01 PM 8995 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View donaldmee's profile


65 posts in 3107 days

03-15-2011 05:01 PM

hi there everyone, I am trying ti get some feed back on some benches I have an opportunity to design and build. My agent has approached me with an opportunity to build 4 benches for a city near my studio. They are looking for some interesting wood with a live edge, and a steel base similar in style to the tables and furniture I make. I am wondering if anyone has some suggestions as to different types of wood I could use that would last outdoors. I am in Indiana so we have seasons to consider. any input would be much appreciated, and any links to dealers of said wood.

-- donald mee

8 replies so far

View skippyland's profile


158 posts in 2929 days

#1 posted 03-15-2011 05:15 PM

Hey, Don. Of course, if money is no object( yeah right…dream on) you might consider redwood and cedar…but in most cases I think you and the customer would be best served with white oak. I think you will find this choice as a value and quite durable. Good luck with the project.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4456 days

#2 posted 03-15-2011 05:15 PM

Have you thought about cypress?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View chewbuddy13's profile


150 posts in 3522 days

#3 posted 03-15-2011 05:18 PM

I know Teak is a good one for outdoors, you could also try Cypress, and Mahogany. I would think you might have some problems finding those locally with live edges. You might want to try an online dealer. Where are you in Indy? I grew up in the Decatur area, then moved to the NE side, and went to Lawrence North. I live in St. Louis now, but my dad still lives in Avon. Go Colts!

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 3014 days

#4 posted 03-15-2011 05:22 PM

White Oak can be good for out doors.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3312 days

#5 posted 03-15-2011 05:35 PM

Perhaps the best wood for outdoors is ipĂ©. May people who know about it use it for decking because it will virtually last forever. Treating it is optional. Without treatment it will turn gray (which some people like). With a preservative added ever 2 years it will retain it’s brown look. It will not rot, insects cannot infest it and it will not splinter. It is a little hard on your cutting tools, especially drill bits.

I have built my deck (400 square feet) and all of my outdoor furniture out of it.

It is similar to teak but about half the price.

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

View jasoncarpentry's profile


148 posts in 2892 days

#6 posted 03-15-2011 06:28 PM

I have several old pieces of outdoor furniture made of teak, with no plans to use either the furniture or the wood. If you’re interested, let me know. I live in East TN, so transportation might be a problem.

-- Jim in Tennessee

View chrisstef's profile


17799 posts in 3244 days

#7 posted 03-15-2011 06:36 PM

Im working with cypress right now and it seems very friendly to work with and not terribly expensive either … $3.50 a bf in new england.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View EPJartisan's profile


1122 posts in 3363 days

#8 posted 03-15-2011 06:45 PM

My favorites for outdoor furniture and construction are ~ in hierarchal order:
1) Ipe ~ great colors that can be kept with outdoor epoxy coatings or allowed to silver with exposure.. expensive and hard on tools and hard to find with a natural edge
2) Black Locust ~ a greatly under-apreciated domestic wood that is heavy, rot resistant.. local to Southern Indiana and across the south Midwest and across the mountains into the Carolinas.. and has beautiful figure and color which ages amazingly (it is the last remaining “tropical” tree in North America), problem is the sap wood has less stability if you are looking for a natural edge.
3) Teak ~ but it is god awful expensive and honestly is not as impressive looking as the other two above.
4) Redwood ~ great for outdoor structures, but it is very soft and unless you are making thicker benches, it doesn’t hold up as well to wracking stresses. I have used it for jungle gyms and for outdoor planters.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

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