oak or cedar for outdoor furniture

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Forum topic by inchanga posted 12-16-2012 07:21 PM 10982 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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117 posts in 2113 days

12-16-2012 07:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: furniture outdoor durability weather oak cedar

I live in a part of the world that gets more than its fair share of rain and am wondering what the best timber to use for outdoor furniture i.e. benches ,chairs, tables etc is I like white oak and know it is durable but notice that a lot of commercial makers use cedar. Ignoring cost factors does anyone have any feedback they can let me have.

-- chris, north wales

9 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117093 posts in 3577 days

#1 posted 12-16-2012 07:25 PM

They both hold up to weather well just don’t use red oak.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2147 days

#2 posted 12-16-2012 07:27 PM

I’ve used Western Red Cedar for some planters. It holds up pretty well, but I don’t like the way the color is changing as it ages. It almost looks like bone. Can’t say I’d recommend it for anything you want to look good with time.


View madts's profile


1862 posts in 2340 days

#3 posted 12-16-2012 07:38 PM

I like to use cypress. It does not rot but can get heavy as it soaks up water.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

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2099 posts in 2188 days

#4 posted 12-17-2012 12:15 AM

Oak is a lot harder and will take knocks better. As a1Jim says, don’t use red oak, use white oak. Western Red Cedar is light and very rot resistant but it crushes easily. Also, its dust is fairly toxic.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

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2752 posts in 2025 days

#5 posted 12-17-2012 12:21 AM

Red cedar heartwood is fairly rot resistant, but not the sapwood. Also, most cedar available nowadays is second growth, not old growth, and does not have the same durability. The old stuff is almost gone, but it is beautiful wood when you can find it. And I live in a part of the world (Pac N. W.) where it used to be abundant.
Oak, on the other hand, has a tendency to turn black with exposure to water. You’ll have to decide whether you prefer the gray of weathered cedar, or the black of oak. Teak is another worthy wood for outdoor furniture, though mighty expensive, and then there’s black locust, which is one of the most decay resistant woods of all.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View inchanga's profile


117 posts in 2113 days

#6 posted 12-17-2012 12:22 AM

Thanks guys. On balance it looks like oak is the best choice

-- chris, north wales

View annaseth's profile


4 posts in 2045 days

#7 posted 12-20-2012 05:03 AM

If budget is not really a concern, I would have to choose Teak. It is resistant to extreme weather conditions and is very much durable. You can be sure that the furniture you will build now will last until the next generation.

If it will just be between the two options above, I would go for Oak especially white oak. Cedar is soft and requires yearly maintenance. It’s cheaper but if you would consider the cost you will be doing each year, it’s actually not cheaper. ;) – Anna

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2355 days

#8 posted 12-20-2012 10:17 AM

I would be more inclined to recomend something along the lines of spanish cedar. Mostly because of climate differences and oak’s sensitivity to water, and I mean water not humidity. Iffen I’m right, it rains a good bit in wales, and well like here the rain wears down on the oak, not to mention bugs like oak.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View joseph000's profile


346 posts in 2027 days

#9 posted 01-24-2013 09:55 AM

Oak is a widely used timber which is considered one of the best choices of wood for outdoor furniture. It is a hardwood that can better stand outdoor weather conditions.The life of your outdoor furniture all depends on your ability to maintain it.

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