Best thin wood for small outdoor sign?

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Forum topic by nomercadies posted 03-25-2014 05:36 PM 1246 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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534 posts in 1378 days

03-25-2014 05:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: resource question wood type adhesive

Our organization ( is putting together some items for a Butterfly Garden for a local library. We want to make small 3 inch by 5 inch signs for the individual plants that are to be planted there. A picture of what we are shooting for is attached. We are going to cut the stakes from a 2 by 4, but what thin wood could I use to make the sign part? Plywood that separates or wood that bends wouldn’t be the best example of our work or organization.

. I would also like ideas on how to attach the sign part to the stake. An adhesive would be great, but then again, the type of adhesive might depend on the materials used. This is the best place to get answers, and I surely need guidance.

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

11 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

17942 posts in 1377 days

#1 posted 03-25-2014 05:45 PM

For what you are doing, any type of wood with the proper finish on it should work.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View mrjinx007's profile


2737 posts in 807 days

#2 posted 03-25-2014 05:50 PM

I also work with people with intellectual disabilities. You can use 2×6 instead. Cut 2-1/2” off it to make in into 2X3.
Slice the 2×3 into 2 or 3 and cut them at 5” lengths. The 2-1/2” piece should provide you with the stakes.
Use adhesive caulk or Gorilla glue to attach them.


View Underdog's profile


692 posts in 1075 days

#3 posted 03-25-2014 06:02 PM

For long term outdoor use, woods of choice would be:
Spanish Cedar
Osage Orange
White Oak

For short term outdoor use, then just about anything will do.

As for the stakes and signs. you could also use your 2×4 (which are actually 1-1/2” x 3-1/2”) and just slice them into thin pieces 1/4” or 3/8” thick, then cross cut into 3-1/2”W x 5”L sections. You could continue to make your stakes of the same material.

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View nomercadies's profile


534 posts in 1378 days

#4 posted 03-25-2014 07:00 PM

Thank you for the thoughts on how to re-saw dimensional lumber Mr. Jinx and U.D. I may re-saw some wood. I fear slicing even regular wood to expose different levels of moisture to the point of the finished piece warping on me. As I think of that and the environmental objections of anyone that would be putting in a butterfly garden, I rule out anything pressure treated. I also have terrible experiences with pressure treated lumber keeping its shape even if I don’t cut it. Thank you for a nice list Underdog. What finishes and procedures would you advise Mr. Pittman?

Everyone … Is there a plywood that would work, thin and relatively able to withstand the outdoors?

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

View mrjinx007's profile


2737 posts in 807 days

#5 posted 03-25-2014 07:30 PM

Certainly treated wood is not for a garden of any kind. Cedar maybe your best bet ; no need to put a finish on it.


View Dallas's profile


3555 posts in 1526 days

#6 posted 03-25-2014 07:34 PM

Don’t know of any plywood that will stand up long term.
My choice would be white cedar fence boards.
5/8” thick 5 1/2” wide, 6’ long.

Finish with poly or oil based enamel paint.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

2933 posts in 1532 days

#7 posted 03-25-2014 07:36 PM

If you can use 1/2” thick material, Menard’s (I see you’re in Michigan) may have smaller pieces of MDO plywood. MDO is made for outdoor signs, so has good weather resistance and a very smooth surface made of some kind of fiber overlay. Paints well since that’s what it’s made to do and should serve you well. There may be some thinner, I’ve not seen it but I’ve bought some 1/2” at Menard’s…I think they may have it in cut down pieces, like 4’x4’.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View stnich's profile


113 posts in 1963 days

#8 posted 03-26-2014 12:39 PM

Why not use something like Azek. PVC sheets are available in many different thicknesses.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

14014 posts in 2144 days

#9 posted 03-26-2014 06:18 PM

Cedar or white oak!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View DrDirt's profile


3549 posts in 2781 days

#10 posted 03-26-2014 06:33 PM

I would use 3/8 marine plywood

For what you want to do it will be cheap and waterproof

-- “The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.” ― H.L. Mencken, Minority Report

View nomercadies's profile


534 posts in 1378 days

#11 posted 03-27-2014 02:26 AM

Thank you all. I have many things to think about. Such a wealth of knowledge.

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

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