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post #1 of 13 Old 03-07-2017, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Best wood for potting bench

Not sure what wood would hold up best for an outdoor potting bench. I've seen cedar and cypress. Any ideas on what to get? Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-07-2017, 05:27 PM
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cedar is a bit softer and easier to work with. I used heart cedar for greenhouse benches - at 35 years and counting, they're just fine . . .

use mechanical dados/grooves/joints and hot dipped galvanized nails.
cedar does not glue well.
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post #3 of 13 Old 03-08-2017, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that. I'm thinking I probably should have made my post a little clearer. I am not a woodworker. My dad used to be but he's not here anymore to make me a new potting bench so I must resort to buying one. As he always made his items great, I know the market likely will not match what I'm accustomed to. So I'm trying to get the best and most affordable. I saw a cedar one I liked and a cypress one. The cypress bench weighs almost 50% more than the cedar. I was wondering if that would mean it would last longer. The cypress costs more too. If I do get the cedar, can it be treated to resist the weather like what can be done with the unfinished cypress? If you had to buy one, which would you buy? Thanks again.
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-08-2017, 10:42 AM
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I'd probably go with the cypress - and mostly because it's very hard to get good cedar anymore - a commercial kit or pre-built is not likely to have top quality cedar. cypress is in better supply.
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-08-2017, 10:49 AM
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For what it's worth, you can make one from old palettes worth little money, a few basic hand tools, and some time.

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post #6 of 13 Old 03-08-2017, 10:50 AM
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I would probably cover bench with sheet alloy. However, I used a poly bakers tray for years. It rested on alloy slatted bench.
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-09-2017, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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Iresq, that sounds like a great idea. Might you be able to provide a few more details on how that would work please? Thanks!
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-09-2017, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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Johnep1934, need help visualizing what you are saying. What is a poly bakers tray please? And alloy slatted bench. And sheet alloy. Do any of those things rust? Thanks
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-09-2017, 02:01 AM
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Really nice cedar and really poor cedar all look the same when covered with dirt and potting mud.
I live in the interior western red cedar/Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone. So cut or split cedar mills are side by side, just out of town
I can't see the point of nice benches for production. Maybe just me, but I can't.
I have many others to sit on and use for table space for BBQ. They all sit outdoors unprotected, 12 months of the year. Nice and gray now.

My outdoor benches are exactly that. Freight pallets with legs. I come from the land of freight pallets. We grow fresh freight pallets here.
I grow grapes. Well, since 2001. When I prune every spring, I save the best of the rubbish, cut it all up and start new grape vines from those garbage cuttings.
So I have maybe 100 - 150 x 750ml pots of wet muddy dirt all over the benches that I cannot afford to care about.
The rain will wash most of it off. The constant rock dust off the mountains is an equal mess all year long.

Kind of fun, actually.
I load up a few dozen and head off to the weekly farmers' market, visit with friends, eat lunch and sell new vines 2/$5.
Come and visit.
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-13-2017, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I decided to go with the unfinished cypress potting bench. Now what type of finish would be best for this bench that will live outside in all the elements/wet, dry, sun, dirt. Tung oil or clearcoat poly of some sort?
Thanks!
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post #11 of 13 Old 03-13-2017, 06:22 PM
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personally I'd go with mineral oil - and that only because it is 24x7 exposed to the elements. I'd strong advise against any "coating" like poly - it won't stick.
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post #12 of 13 Old 03-14-2017, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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TomCT2, How often would you think that should be reapplied?
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post #13 of 13 Old 03-14-2017, 10:39 AM
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ye olde' 'once a year' would be a stock answer - cypress is very weather resistant in its totally unfinished state.

strong sun will dry out the wood - that's what to watch for. when it starts to become dry and slightly brittle, time to give it another mineral oil soak.
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