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Mark Lesch 08-04-2019 10:02 PM

Help
 
My son is redoing 3 very old benches for his Eagle Scout projuct what wood is best to stand up to the weather in St Louis Mo and best to seal weather out

GeorgeC 08-04-2019 10:13 PM

Is he redoing the benches or building new ones? Are these benches totally outside or under some shelter?


The more/better information you can provide the better answer you will get.


George

Steve Neul 08-04-2019 10:39 PM

If it's the kind with cast iron or aluminum ends with wooden slats then oak is the common wood for that purpose. White oak is a much better wood for exterior use than red oak. If you want a film type finish then finish the wood with a marine grade spar varnish. The best is Epifanes which is normally found at places that sell boat supplies. An easier and cheaper spar to get would be Cabot spar varnish. It's available at the Lowe's in my area.

If you want an oil type finish then use any fence or deck stain. Just don't let anyone sit on the bench for a week or so until it penetrates or dries or the stain might transfer to clothing.

Tool Agnostic 08-05-2019 09:50 AM

Can you post photos of the benches? It would help a lot.

Can you provide a better description of the benches? How are they made? All wood? Metal and wood? Concrete and wood?

What type of finish will be on the wood? Paint? One that shows the natural grain in the wood? (... which is more challenging than paint!)

DrRobert 08-05-2019 10:19 AM

White oak + several coats of a either epoxy or a marine varnish.

BigJim 08-05-2019 11:03 AM

I would suggest Cypress or Red Wood, my third choice would be Western Cedar and my last choice would be southern Aromatic Cedar.

woodnthings 08-05-2019 11:18 AM

What kind of benches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Lesch (Post 2065103)
My son is redoing 3 very old benches for his Eagle Scout projuct what wood is best to stand up to the weather in St Louis Mo and best to seal weather out




Are these for sitting, working on, shooting from?

White Oak will last forever whether stained with oil or not.
Cypress is another good choice and I've used it for barn doors.
Red wood is quite soft, not so durable.
White Pine weathers nicely, but I'd oil stain it.
Yellow Pine is more durable and would hold up well.



Do not use a varnish or poly on horizontal exterior surfaces, it will just crack and peel off eventually. Some oil based deck stains will work fine.

Quickstep 08-05-2019 11:31 AM

Paint will hold up better than any clear finish. If you want a clear finish, a genuine marine grade spar varnish is the ticket, but even the best of those will be peeling after a year or two of sun exposure. Varnish really needs to be recoated annually.

Mark Lesch 08-05-2019 09:02 PM

They are cast iron legs with a cast-iron inlay in the back they will be out in the park indirect sunlight they are 4 ft long originally we were going to use plastic wood but can't find anything that will span for feet and not sag so we are looking for a wood that will weather for a long time and a finish that will hold up

gmercer_48083 08-06-2019 08:35 AM

Mark, You would be happy with the durability of white oak. It will machine well, it is very strong, and will hold up to the weather. You may find it available from a saw mill near you that is air dried at a lower cost than kiln dried. Mention it is for a eagle scout project...and you might get it for less. I can't recommend a finish...others will chime in. By the way tell your son congratulations, Becoming an Eagle Scout is quite an accomplishment!

Bob Vaughan 08-08-2019 08:51 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Here's one I did for a friend. I used red birch that was close to 15/16" thick. The thicker the wood the more rigid the seat.
Note that on most of these I've seen, the bottoms of the ends needs to be beveled to fit the casting or the whole thing gets wonky after a few years.
There is no better finish for outdoor exposure than some of the premium acrylic paints one can get these days.

Scurvy 08-09-2019 03:32 AM

The white oak gets my vote, unless you can find Ipe in sufficient thickness for a humane price. Beware: Ipe requires pilot holes and stainless steel fasteners, but it is a wood tested extensively by the US Navy for its durability under severe conditions, and has been dubbed, “iron wood. "

Any wood will decay eventually, largely due to its tubular cell structure that is designed to take up water. Water is the enemy here for sure, and to impede its effects, I suggest the use of a 2-part penetrating epoxy to seal any and all end cuts prior to application of any other finish.

Scurvy 08-09-2019 03:36 AM

Oh yeah, 2 more things: Apply the epoxy to any bored holes too, and I am concerned about Ipe because I have seen some of the thinner pieces warp and twist if they weren’t well dried/cured.

Pineknot_86 08-09-2019 08:56 AM

Cypress?

Trivia- Amish craftsmen in Lancaster, PA are now using synthetics for outdoor furniture. No painting, many color choices and lasts forever.

gj13us 08-09-2019 09:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pineknot_86 (Post 2065723)
Cypress?

Trivia- Amish craftsmen in Lancaster, PA are now using synthetics for outdoor furniture. No painting, many color choices and lasts forever.


Those Amish. Always on the cutting edge. :grin:

What about locust? I've wanted to try locust for outdoor projects because they say it's extraordinarily durable.

TobyC 08-09-2019 01:31 PM

Black Locust (not honeylocust) will outlast any other North American wood for outdoor use. Hard, heavy, strong, and stable, it's traditionally used for fence posts, and even in the ground it will last for generations. I would finish and protect with; http://www.totalboat.com/product/teak-oil/

Pineknot_86 08-09-2019 02:39 PM

Used locust posts for fences on the farm.

Pineknot_86 08-09-2019 02:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gj13us (Post 2065727)
Those Amish. Always on the cutting edge. :grin:

What about locust? I've wanted to try locust for outdoor projects because they say it's extraordinarily durable.

As long as the cutting edge isn't powered with electricity.:hammer:


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