I just made two outdoor chairs using cypress. I love the unfinished
look. I'm told that it will weather ok without finishing the wood. Is
this correct, or will it start warping and splitting in the rain, hot
southern sun, etc.?
Thanks for any advise.
The Cross-eyed Barber
I have built quite a few items of outdoor furniture from cypress. The
wood is fairly stable and does not warp or split very much, although
you can expect a little checking at the end grain. But the cypress
available today should not be confused with your grandaddy's cypress.
The old growth cypress was rich in resin that made it naturally rot
resistant and established a reputation that today's cypress can't live
up to. The cypress they are cutting now is much younger and is mostly
sapwood. It has some rot resistance, but the furniture I've left
outdoors in Mississippi is generally ready for the trash after about
10 years. Attempts to stave off the rot with deck stains don't seem
to have helped very much. Next time I built outdoor furniture, I'm
trying white oak.
"In theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice they are
On Mon, 26 Nov 2007 06:37:56 -0500, The Cross-eyed Barber
It is OK to leave it complete unfinished. However, it will last more
years with a UV-applied clear coat. My redwood chairs are 12 years
old--no cracks, splits, or cups. I store them in the basement for the
short winter here (I'm in e TN). They are nice and dry come spring,
ready for another coat.
I've had a fair amount of experience with Cypress, mostly from an old house
with Cypress T&G walls and cabinets. It is pretty stable but I expect you
will get minor splitting over time no matter what if it is left in the
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