Recommended Wood for Outdoor Swing

I'm building a garden swing (the kind with two facing seats hanging from a frame with a platform connecting them) and was planning to use Redwood. I'm from the Northeast and Redwood is impossible to get here. One lumber yard suggested that dimensional cedar would be a good substitute but is cedar strong enough for such a structure? If not, what other species should I consider. I could use white or red oak but I was hoping to get away without having to mill my own dimensional lumber. How about Fir? This will be outside but not in contact with the soil. The feet will sit on concrete path stones.
Thanks,
George
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Georgepag wrote:

Fir would be a good choice structurally, but is prone to splinters.
Cedar is too soft/limber in my opinion for the purpose, which would require larger structural parts to compensate than would really have a nice appearance.
Oak, of course, is plenty strong but working with it is more difficult owing to it being much harder. That's not too much an issue if you have all the tools you need, but w/ hand tools only might be problematical if you're not an experienced woodworker. And, of course, if were to choose oak, for an exterior project you'll want to be sure to use white, not red, oak for weather resistance.
I'd suggest looking at cypress if you can find it locally.
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It's stronger than redwood. :-)

Cypress would be a good choice: usually easier to find than redwood, stronger, much less expensive.
If cost is not a consideration, look at teak or ipe.

White oak, ok. Red oak, not ok.

Cedar or cypress would probably be your best choice.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Cedar is a perfect replacement for Redwood. Not Fir unless it is treated (yuck). White Oak if you want a premium unit or even better Teak or Mahogany.

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I'm planning eventually to build some outdoor furniture and was hoping to use ipe. Unfortunately, it's non-existent around here so my next choice is going to be mahogany. Not the least expensive wood but should give me pretty good resistance to rot and insects. Cheers, cc
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I can't imagine that ipe is unavailable in most of North America. It's certainly for sale at most lumber dealers near San Francisco.
Doesn't the Internet go everywhere? ;-)
Save the mahogany for the Goddard repro...
Patriarch
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in

My nearest Ipe dealer is over 90 miles away. Too far to go with lumber sticking out the back IMHO. I just replaced a set of stairs off a covered back porch using Brazilian Teak (Cumaru) available by special order at Menards (borg). It was about $5 a board foot so it is not the cheapest but is comprable to composites. it was also the only option within easy driving distance. It is nice looking stuff. All the info I saw indicated it is tough on tools. That might be true if you only work with SPF or pressure treated but any tools that see maple, walnut or white oak will have no problem with it. At some point I would like to do a Titanic deck chair or two. Right now it is between white oak and this stuff for me.
Daryl
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:
> My nearest Ipe dealer is over 90 miles away.
That's why UPS is in business.
Just make sure there are no over length boards in the shipment.<G>
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

...
I'm sure any full-service lumber dealer/yard will order in anything he wants/needs...
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Well I haven't been able to find it anywhere in the state of New Mexico. I could order online but jaysus, shipping and all on a couple of hundred bf of Ipe would probably be unreasonable (although when compared with getting the mahogany locally, it might be in line). I could ask a dealer to order it in but their minimum is 5000 bf. No thanks. Cheers, cc
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wrote:

After calling a number of lumber yards this is where I'm at. I can get white oak easily but I would have to mill all my own dimensional lumber. Not a real problem, I've got the tools, but I don't know if I want to spend all that time. Forget Cypress, it's a lot more costly than the oak is here. I can get dimensional mahogany (2x4x8&10, 2x6x8&10) for a good price at a local yard.. I've purchased Mahogany from here before to do a deck railing and that is the quality of it. So, I think it will be either Cedar or Mahogany. I have to go to the yard and check on the quality of the Mahogany.
George
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Sounds like a plan. Whichever of the two you use I'm sure it will hold up better than the Adirondack chairs I built from soft 1" #3 Pine. All the ones I sold were totally painted with exterior house paint or oil stained with Thompsons or Penafin.
I set one unfinished Pine chair and footrest outside for the last two years, rain, sun, freez, 110 degrees; as a test. The wood has actually held up pretty well. Just this summer as the heat has come on the glue gave out and the staples are starting to come loose in some spots. I used 3, 1/4" x 2" stables at each 3x1 slat. I think I'll go all screws in the future or maybe just add one screw an drop to 2 staples at each end.
I had this brilliant idea I could make a business of these chairs. Using my gang ripper, pocket screws and some really cool fixtures (jigs) I could cut and build a dozen of these chairs in a day, easy. They were in 4 pieces, a base, two arm assemblies and a back. These pieces could be assembled by the buyer using 1/4"-20 x 2" galvanized carriage bolts. Also had a nice foot rest too and a table.
I assumed I could use a house sprayer and 5 gallon buckets of cheap exterior paint. Problem was spraying these out was a nightmare. The house sprayer laid down way too much paint, didn't get in the gaps and would have killed my profits. So I took to hand finishing them with oil stain or latex. Looked great in white and blue kind of chalky beach color stains. Again, labor was 3x the build time just to finish them.
I set up a road side stand right on a busy intersection with an empty lot in the town I live in. Sold out 20 sets (2 chairs, 2 foot rests, 1 table) in two days at $250 a set during a heat wave. Not bad since the material was less than $50 a set, much less if I recall right. But the labor on finishing killed me.
I finally found a good wholesale supplier of Cedar and will likely revive the business next season, to late to ramp up now. The cedar can go totally unfinished and removes my labor problem. I have a few nurserys that will take them on consignment, on my terms and once they sell a few I assume they will start buying them.

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SonomaProducts.com wrote: ...

...
Cut the pieces, then hang them on a large rack and paint before assembling. If making glue joints, spray the rough pieces and do the joinery on the finished pieces if too complex to cover/protect them.
For the stain/oil, dip instead of coat...
Other than that, sounds like a good plan... :)
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wrote:

Rot and insect resistance for white oak is almost as good, and the price is a great deal lower. Don't mess with red oak for outdoor use. You can probably find ipe if you look hard enough, but, in truth, it is too expensive for most uses, IMHO.
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Look into the Janka hardness scale. Cedar is much harder (stronger) than redwood.
redcedar, eastern Juniperus virginiana 4.0 900
redwood, old growth Sequoia sempervirens 2.1 480 redwood, second growth Sequoia sempervirens 1.9 420
http://www.sizes.com/units/janka.htm
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wrote:

Do not use red oak or fir. Good choices include:
PT lumber, inexpensive teak, expensive cedar cypress, fairly inexpensive white oak redwood
Any of these woods are strong enough. Use clear or wood with small knots. Avoid end-grain on the stones. Fasten pads where the wood will touch the stones.
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Phisherman wrote:

Other than the splinter tendency which can be accommodated by selection of grain direction and chamfering/rounding edges, etc., what's your reason against fir?
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have you thought about using round logs like debarked cedar for the frame work? ross www.highislandexport.com
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