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Wood for a park bench?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 05-17-2011 06:55 PM 3161 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Brett

621 posts in 1338 days


05-17-2011 06:55 PM

I have a 15-plus-year-old park bench that looks a little like this:

I’d like to rebuild it using new wood, and since all the boards are straight, uniform width, and 3/4-inch thick, it should be a good beginner project.

My question is, what wood should I used? I’d prefer to either leave it natural or possible clear-coat it, rather than cover the wood with paint. I thought some cedar boards from the local big box store might work, but they felt too flimsy. Any suggestions? If I decide to finish the boards, should I use an oil or something like polyurethane?

-- More tools, fewer machines.


5 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3781 posts in 2318 days


#1 posted 05-17-2011 07:59 PM

I have used cedar (western red) with spar varnish … looks good for 3 or 4 years, but starts checking pretty badly if left out in the sun. Some guys use white oak. If available in your locale, you might consider cypress.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Loren's profile

Loren

7556 posts in 2303 days


#2 posted 05-17-2011 08:06 PM

Cedar won’t hold up on that span in that thickness. Just my opinion
but I’m pretty sure the seat will sag in the middle when it’s sat on
and the wood may break.

I’d use something springy and resilient like ash or oak.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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TheDane

3781 posts in 2318 days


#3 posted 05-17-2011 08:08 PM

Loren is right … all of the benches I have built with cedar have supporting frames with laterals every 30 inches or so.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1723 days


#4 posted 05-18-2011 03:45 AM

I rebuilt two similar benches using Ipe. Hard and very dense, but it’s supposed to last for years in the weather.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View McKinneyMike's profile

McKinneyMike

79 posts in 1316 days


#5 posted 05-18-2011 02:40 PM

If it is outdoors look at Ipe. Ash and Red Oak would not be suitable for exterior use. White Oak would work also, but Ipe is perfect for a project like this IMO.

-- McKinney Hardwood Lumber --Specializing in exotic and figured hardwood lumber http://www.mckinneyhardwoods.com -McKinney, TX

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