i'm just trying to get into woodworking, so i'm a little green. i'm on a
budget and want to make some patio furniture which i hope to get 5-10 yrs
use out of. what's the cheapest wood i could use for this?
I'd try douglas fir or cedar. They will both weather well outside if
treated with BLO & water seal and are nice and cheap. You can even go
to your local BORG and pick out 'premium' grade studs (2x4, 2x6, etc).
They will typically be douglas fir and can actually look quite nice
after they have been crafted and finished if you pick pieces with nice
Fir studs? Lucky you live whereever you do, all I've seen for years is
"white wood" :(
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The cost of wood varies with location and supply. For example,
redwood is 3x the price of cypress here in the south-east, but redwood
is comparatively inexpensive in California. To find the cheapest
wood, you'll have to shop around suppliers in your area. I shop for
low cost wood, and avoid the higher-priced wood except for smaller
You will save money by going to a local discount store and purchasing
finished furniture. The reason to get into woodworking is to make
quality products or to be creative. If you want cheap, don't make it
You can get some pretty good plastic chairs for $5. Wood products will
I agree completely. I've used pressure treated wood for all kinds of
outdoor projects. Adirondack chairs, benches, tables and planters.
Prssure treated dogeared fencing is very cheap and works well if you
don't mind a rough surface or sanding a lot. You can also whitewash
pressure treated wood or apply an outdoor stain to improve apprearance.
Good luck to you,
IMO Pressure treated wood for furniture is probably not a great idea --
unless it is finished in a way to prevent bleed-out of the chemicals
(assuming that is possible). See the google search. If you still feel
comfortable with PT wood after a bit of research then be my guest. If
you have guests, some may feel uncomfortable on PT wood furniture.
IMO Stick to wood which doesn't need treatment - then you can sit on it
more often instead of painting or finishing it.
People have already suggested good woods - cedar, cypress, white oak,
Think you are attacking the wrong cost center.
The material of a project is hardly ever more than 30% of the total project.
Use the cheapest garbage material you can find that maybe costs 50% of
quality material and you save 15% of the project cost.
I can't get excited about 15% on a project that may represent me for
IMHO, my time deserves the best material.
You only go around once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
For outdoor furniture ?
If we discount labour, capital costs and tool wear, I'd expect around
75% to be on timber for making something like an Adirondack.
For some stuff it would be 100%, except that a lot of my timber is
free anyway. I make green-wood outdoor furniture that simply doesn't
have _any_ direct costs on it - it's just me, a toolbag and a coppice.
You're making some assumptions about purpose here. Some people make
furniture for fun and do other things to make money. Sometimes they make
furniture to keep what they do to make money from driving them insane.
If you're in the shop for fun and the finished product is just an excuse to
be in the shop then free lumber or free anything else is goodness.
......and in reply I say!:
But be very wary that it's not treated wood. I have som palletsa that
are going to stay as pallets. They have a smell that si chemical.
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Resinous softwoods like larch. The "red deal" softwoods will work too;
eastern red cedar, some grades of douglas fir.
If it's local, sweet chestnut is a good outdoor timber too. White oak
will work and can be affordable if you find the right sources (you're
not looking for furniture-grade). There are a few other US hardwoods
that are usable.
the basic rule for buying timber is that good wood from a cheap
supplier is still cheaper than rubbish from the expensive retail shop.
Find the right source to use !
It's a lot cheaper if you buy it sawn, not planed. If you can scrounge
access to a thickness planer, this can save you a lot of money.
I wouldn't use anything pressure-treated for furniture.
I agree with not using PT wood - although I used to. CCA treated was
fine, IMO, for outdoor furniture. It wasn't nearly as bad as the stuff
they now sell in my area. When a treated board will eat a galvanized
fastners, it's full of some pretty nasty stuff. I have my doubts about
how well it will hold up too.
Last stuff like that I recall was fire retardant wood. The treatment
was so nasty that a splinter in your hand was a disaster. I didn't
like it, couldn't believe it when they put it in as code for townhomes
around here. I was not surprised to find that it rotted out in under
10 years. I wouldn't be surprised to find the new, 'environmentally
friendly' treatments have similar issues. If it eats up metal, I just
don't see how the wood will last with it. Hope I'm wrong or there will
be a lot of very upset people in a few years.
Hm. I've become quite the dumpster diver of late, frequenting new
construction sites. I tend to hit them when they're putting up decks, and
acquire quite a lot of cedar that way. I've got quite a few 2x2 spindles
ranging anywhere from 2-8 feet in length, a goodly amount of 2x lumber
(mostly 2x6 or 2x8) in widths up to 12", and post cut-offs in 4x4, 4x6 and
6x6 sizes (good for trestle or pedestal tables). Cost? A bit of your time,
effort and willingness to get dirty, but monetarily, $0.00.
No one really seems to care if you take the stuff - just make sure not to do
it late at night, or you'll attract attention from the local constabulary on
the lookout for construction-site thieves (DAMHIKT).
All told, I've probably got about 300 board feet of cedar stacked to and fro
that I've accumulated in just the past couple months, and construction
season is just getting into full swing around here. I've started building
in earnest - this week's project was a kids' table for outdoors. Next week
it'll be four chairs for the table, and my kids will have a patio set of
their own. After that, I'm thinking of some planters for Mother's Day.
Cheapest to buy is the "seconds bin" at Home Depot. Cheapest to use is free
wood from dunnage, pallets, crates, etc. Right now I have a lot of 3 x 3 x
7' wood that came from shipment from Korea. You may need a planer to make it
usable though. You can get rough cut pine from saw mill rather cheap,
especially the lower grades.
I use cheap and low cost wood where I can, but I don't compromise quality.
My time and effort is the same with crap wood as it is with good wood.
Where do you live? Maybe someone can give you a tip to a local source.
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