Personally I would use IPE for outdoor furniture, but other good woods
would include TEAK, Cypress, Redwood. Even some of the plastic/fake
wood used in decking - like TREX would be a good choice as well
Trex is OK for chairs? It sure would solve the problems associated with my lack
of maintenance. I have a picnic table outside that somebody pointed out needs a
new top. Of course, it's been out in the rain since 1986 and I've yet to put a
coat of anything on it. Treated pine from the borg, as I recall....
Trex would stay straight at least. My table changes contours with the seasons.
Solid plastic "fake wood" decking should be fine for chairs and would
be a good choice for the top of that table as well. If REAL WOOD is
the ONLY choice, I think I would go with IPE decking wood, would last
a lifetime with minimal or no care
On Wed, 13 Apr 2005 11:21:22 GMT, "Mortimer Schnerd, RN"
Ipe is one of the several names given to South American hardwoods of the
tabebuia genus--"lapacho" is another common name, sometimes you'll also see
It's becoming popular in the US as deck material--it is highly decay
resistant and in addition it is very hard, very strong, and has pretty
decent stability as well. Its only real downsides are weight, the copious
amounts of fine yellow dust it produces when you work it, and its
unwillingness to absorb much of anything including finishes and
preservatives, not that it needs preservatives.
Tropical hardwood, do a Google search to find more than you ever
wanted to know. Harder than most american hardwoods, very bug and rot
resistant, used a lot in guchi decks. Not as expensive as teak, but
not the cheapest wood out there. Use sharp blades in your saw, and
expect it to wear the blades more than typical hardwoods
If you want zero maintainence and are willing to accept the gray color,
then good quality teak or old growth Cypress would be a choices to consider.
If you are willing to do some maintainence such as painting, then white
oak does well.
Once you select the wood, consider the fasteners.
In this application, S/S would be my 2nd choice, I'd use silicon bronze.
Would not consider anything else.
Think Jamestown Distributors for the fasteners.
BTW, I like the NYW versions, but their selection of fasteners SUCKS, IMHO.
I have built dozens of the NYW chair using galvanized screws, nuts,
bolts, and washers and have not had a problem. What do you find to be
a problem with them? The first couple of chairs were built using
finish nails to attach the back slats to the back support as the
instructions called for. It didn't take long to realize that screws
were the way to go with the heads countersunk and the holes plugged.
SS is so much better than galv, I just removed some SS screws from a
door sill installed 15 years ago; they look like new.
Isn't your work worth the minor cost increase? Compared to the rest of
the material & your labor the cost of SS is small
McMaster.com has a huge selection of SS fasteners (18-8 or 316, if the
environment is marine).
I use SS fasteners in my 16 gage & 18 gage nailers for any outside work
but you have to buy them is large batches. :(
They rust, especially if they are exposed to coastal air (salt).
The cost difference between silicon bronze and galvanized gets lost in
the wash, especially if you are going to build several chairs.
I built NYW chairs too and the nails on the back slats have held
tightly so far (after 10 years). I used redwood, and near every
galvanized fastener the wood has a "dripped" black stain. I
re-tighten the fasteners every couple years.
You might want to take a look at <http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/wdpick.htm .
Plug in the properties you want and it will have some useful suggestions.
Note however that its coverage is not comprehensive. Ipe for example would
be a very good choice, albeit heavy, but it is not one of the woods in the
My dad built his out of white oak in the early to mid 1980's. I am not
real sure what he used for a clear finish, but I last summer finally
refinished them for the first time since at least 1995 (the year he
died). They were in perfect condition except for a little dirt. They
sit on concrete in the weather and even the legs where they touch the
patio were in great shape. I gave them a light sanding to brighten
them up and then a couple of coats of spar varnish. These sit outside
year round, but in the winter they are somewhat protected by the deck
over the patio where they sit. BTW they are in West Virginia so I
would assume the weather is a little more of an issue than in NC.
I notice a lot of folks suggesting teak, which is one of the most expensive
woods around, and few who mention teak mention ipe, which out-teaks teak in
most regards and is cheap enough to build decks out of. Heart black walnut
or black cherry are also surprisingly decay-resistant.
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