Which wood would you use?

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Forum topic by TomFran posted 05-30-2012 02:16 PM 2575 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2957 posts in 3988 days

05-30-2012 02:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: swing

A friend of mine is building this swing (with plans from Woodcraft Supply) and it is recommended that fir be used for the wood which will support up to 4 adults. Since fir is not locally available, which wood do you think would be best for the components of the swing which will need to be the strongest?

We have select cypress, white pine, oak, and treated wood available. I believe the treated wood is yellow pine.


-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

19 replies so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3691 days

#1 posted 05-30-2012 02:40 PM

Tom treated is fir or spruce here.
Pine very small maybe, oak no way for outside.

The treated wood that we use for porches and deck is all fir or spruce which is really the same wood.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4399 days

#2 posted 05-30-2012 03:02 PM

sure is pretty. I wouldn’t go to all that trouble to build it using treated wood, or anything that would have a short life outdoors. I’d pick white oak, or redwood, or cypress, or teak, or Ipe. Red Oak is not recommended for outdoor use.

I sat in one sort of like this that was probably from the 1920’s one time, sitting on the covered porch of an historic hotel. It worked great and I think it was made of fir or some time of soft wood, but it was under a roof and didn’t get wet from rain nor hit by the sun. It also had quite a few steel gussets and connectors in the critical areas. Rain and sun changes everything for wood life. I might even consider building a little roof over such a pretty swing to protect it, or expanding the design to spread that roof in the design to spread out to four wider spaced posts, and put a pitch on the roof section.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View shopmania's profile


701 posts in 3176 days

#3 posted 05-30-2012 03:13 PM

Tom, I built a single swing similar to half this project, and did it using treated lumber. It has been outside over a year and is holding up well so far. They make what they call a 1×2 in treated that makes nice slats for the seat b/c it is rounded over on all the edges. The treated 5/4 decking is also rounded over and sanded/finished nicer, which makes for great armrests. Cedar is really the only others thing readily available (big box stores) around here that would work well outdoors.

Anchor Hardwoods in Wilmington could be a source if you decide on another lumber. Good Luck!

Here is my swing project page.

-- Tim, Myrtle Beach, Just one more tool, that's all I need! :)

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8006 posts in 3369 days

#4 posted 05-30-2012 04:13 PM

Cypress, cedar, white oak, teak, mahogany, Ipe, red wood…..

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2393 days

#5 posted 05-30-2012 04:39 PM

Tom, Cypress or white oak would both be strong and withstand the elements well. Oak would be stronger and cypress would last longer.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

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Mainiac Matt

8029 posts in 2322 days

#6 posted 05-30-2012 04:53 PM

Most construction grade lumber is stamped SPF, wihich stands for Spruce-Pine-Fir. Because these softwoods have similar strengths, they are all lumbed intot he same category for general framing. Don’t confuse the Fir in SPF with Douglas Fir, however. Doug. Fir comes from the Pacific north-west, and is very straight grained and strong.

Most of the PT you’ll see is Southern Yellow Pine, as it readilly absorbs the ACQ “juice”.

Here’s an idea for you….. build your frame out of PT and then stain it with an opaque stain (I really like the Baehr stuff sold for siding) then make your deck, seat and seat backs boards out of Cedar. and stain them clear.

The natural stained Cedar on a cream or yellow colored frame might look very nice.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2280 days

#7 posted 05-30-2012 05:13 PM

I’d make the frame, the part that has the stress, out of treated wood if it was dry enough. Work it with several grits and make the rest from western red cedar. Be sure to use a pre color conditioner like Charles Neil, two coats to prevent blotch, then use Australian Timber oil on the whole thing. It comes in several colors and is a one coat process which you could repeat if needed.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View slotman's profile


115 posts in 2450 days

#8 posted 05-30-2012 08:33 PM

There is a local guy doing some river logging & bringing up “Sinker Cypress”. I haven’t called, but heres a link to his Craigslist listing:

-- Roger

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2629 days

#9 posted 05-30-2012 08:38 PM

You could make the roof a little bigger and then there wouldn’t be as big of a concern about the wood underneith

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2754 days

#10 posted 05-30-2012 09:07 PM

Cypress would be my wood of choice.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

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Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4293 days

#11 posted 05-30-2012 10:09 PM

Cedar would be my choice. You don’t even have to treat it, because it ages a beautiful silver,

but you can stain it if you wish.

Get some thats knot free for the seats, because the knots tend to bleed sap.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2195 days

#12 posted 05-31-2012 12:21 AM

Mix it up a bit and throw in some Santos Mahogany…...

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 3988 days

#13 posted 05-31-2012 12:40 AM

Thanks to all of you for your excellent information!

I believe we have what we need to move forward with the project.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 2829 days

#14 posted 05-31-2012 01:24 AM

Yes, but what wood would a woodchuck chuck?

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View kizerpea's profile


774 posts in 2361 days

#15 posted 05-31-2012 11:49 AM

tom treated would b good..i sometimes order it from lowes..K.D.A.T KILN DRYED AFTER TREATMENT..try it one time an u will b spoiled.easy to work with an takes stain better…also if u need cypress, marsh lumber co in pamplico has lots of it in stock…they are a saw mill.


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