which wood for a garden bench

We have a garden bench that has cast something for the ends (with legs). The back and seat were wood. The wood, whatever it was, is completely rotted. I'd like to replace the wood slats and use the cast ends. But what kind of wood will survive sun, rain. etc. I'd like to avoid pressure-treated preserved wood. And of course, the finish; I've not had much luck with urethane even if it says it's made for exterior work.
The bench can be put into a gazebo for the winter.
You folks seem to know different woods very well; what you suggest?
Joe Ontario
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Western red cedar and redwood, cypress if you're in the southern US. Ipe, a tropical hardwood seems to be gaining favour. Those woods are know for their resistance to rot. Cedar is probably what is most readily available to you in Ontario.

Paint is best. But if you want a transparent finish, IME, polyurethane flakes off. I've had success with Behr Super Rawhide, used on the best log cabins in the Yukon (which the Yankees can't get anymore 'cause of some stupid lawsuit) and Cetol TGL, but both those finishes might be too soft for using on benches.
http://www.nam.sikkens.com/product-category.cfm?product_category=exterior
You could also try an exterior oil finish with UV protectants, but you would have to reapply every year. Anyway, don't expect a clear finish to last more than 3 years or so. You could also let the wood weather to a nice silvery grey.
Luigi Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address
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funiture. Aside from that, red cedar will do just fine.
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White Oak (not Red) is also a candidate.

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White oak is wonderful for outdoor furniture, and usually much less costly than cedar/redwood/etc. It weathers to a nice gray.
Mike

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Ipe has does well out doors with about a 50 year life expectancy.

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Joe wrote:

Yeah, I say forget finish unless it's paint. My bench similar to yours looks incredibly nasty now. Instead of weathered gray wood, I have some nice looking wood here and there, big yellow sheets of stuff flaking off here and there, and all kinds of black mildewy looking patches all over the place.
I might paint it green.
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Personally I would go with Ipe.
Just be aware however that there is a new formulation for pressure treated lumber that is slowly making its way into stores now. Look for a small plastic tag on the end of the piece. The old formulation will be marked CCA for something that I can't remember but the A is for ARSENIC - nasty stuff. The new stuff will be marked ACQ for A-something?Carboquat, carboquat being the active ingredient and MUCH less nasty than the arsenic.
-Chris
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Chris suggested Ipe, but I've not worked with it so I don't know the benefits of it. It is getting popular for decks though.
Other good woods for outdoor use are cypress, white oak, redwood. With no finish these will take on a gray patina over time. Personal choice comes into play also. My last bench was cypress, but my next will probably be oak. Ed
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