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I am 60 years old and brand new to wood working. I have been making garden benches for my own use, and they are rough, but look nice. I cut these from SPF 2 x 4's, prime them, assemble them, and finish with 2 coats of high-quality gloss paint.

I am now being told that in spite of the priming and 2 coats of paint, I am using the wrong wood and they won't last. Which kind of puts a damper on my thoughts of selling them (at cost). People have remarked that they are "beautiful", but if they won't last, they won't sell.

Is that true? Would treated pine be better, and if you use treated pine do you still prime and paint?

It seems to me that there are much better woods for this, but I wouldn't know where to find them, wouldn't know whether or how to finish them (prime? paint?), and I suspect the cost would be much higher (I pay about $4 for an 8' 2 x 4, premium SPF).

Thoughts?
 

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I once made a patio table from SPF 2x4's, 2x6's and 4x4's. Primed and painted, then re-painted each spring. That was over 15 years ago and its still going strong.

A lot of exterior decks are made from SPF 2x6's and 2x8's They stand up to decades of use.

How long do you want your benches to last? If you are all that worried about it then go ahead and use pressure treated lumber just be aware that stuff is more likely to bow and twist than the non treated.
 
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