Which wood for garden feature?


I am looking to construct an archway in the garden. I have the design all worked out and it will be lashed together with rope and secured to the ground with concrete footings - probably with some soil to cover the top of the concrete.
The question is - what wood do I use for the construction? I have found the following options :
"Grown from the Eucalyptus Grandis tree these poles have a natural taper over their length. They are also very strong, their density is similar to oak, and their natural appearance make them perfect for a variety of uses. All poles are stripped of bark, Tanalith E treated, and are far stronger than bamboo or machine round alternatives. They are strong enough to be used in building construction."
or
Telegraph poles - ACQ treated, new. A choice here appears to be either stripped of bark and supplied as is, or machined to give a uniform finish.
or
Chestnut from a managed woodland in East Sussex. Not treated, but can have the bark stripped if required.
My criteria would be (in order) Long lasting (Ie. not rotting through at the base) and natural looking. I am guessing the first option (Eucalyptus) is imported so would prefer something 'local' (at least from this country!). And I am lead to believe the heart wood of Chestnut is such that it will not rot for a long time without needing to be treated.
Any advice or opinions (or resources!) would be helpful!
Thanks, David.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

David - Some more info about your project may be useful. The lashed together part will have many scratching their heads. Also, the descriptions sound like logs/poles not lumber. Assuming thats the case.
The chestnut is pretty rare if it really is chestnut (American). I have a cottage that was originally built with American chestnut posts set right into the dirt. 100 years later they were still intact. All chestnut these days is really a different species I believe. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
Another good wood would be locust. It may be too wild looking for what you want. Your "telegraph" poles option - Those are usually pine or fir. ACQ treated makes them more rot resistant. This wood is commonly used on decks. I know nothing about eucalyptus wood.
So, tell us if you are looking for bark stripped poles, poles with bark or just lumber. If just lumber then redwood, cedar, mahogany, ipe would all be fine choices.
Also - You want to not use concrete. Gravel at bottom of hole and tight pack dirt around to hold it. Have you ever seen a telephone pole in concrete? Concrete will accelerate the deterioration.
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No wrote:

Don't forget cypress.
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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I don't think the OP is from the good ol US of A, unless there's and East Sussex somewhere that I don't know about.
His lumber/timber/log needs and choices may be different.

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Doug Brown wrote:

Yes, the chestnut available tohim is probably a European variety.
--

FF


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No wrote:

The lashings would be done in rope - so the whole structure would be tied together. So I am after a 'rustic' look, but it's difficult to descirbe how it will look. To try and give you an idea it will be 4 poles in total, about 6metres (20 feet?) long. Taking 2 poles, you lean the top in to give you a triangle, 90 degree angle at the top between the two, and tie them together at the top. Repeat with the other pair. Put the two 'triangles' together and then you seperate them at the top, keeping the feet together to form 90 degrees between the two 'triangles' and tie together. Around this frame you then create a rope latice.
The inspiration is drawn from a gateway I saw on a scout camp once, but I have never ever found a reference or picture of it since.

Ahh - indeed, as someone else has mentioned I am in the UK.

Not sure on the definition of lumber to be honest, but poles it should be. No real preference on being stripped or not.

Interesting - not thought about that approach, but the poles would be at an angle. on the plus side they will only need to support themselves, plus whatever plants I grow over it.
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On 12 Jun 2006 03:55:52 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Larch - no question. Cheap, usable and so chock-full of natural turpentine that it lasts well in the UK climate.
I would never use anything pressure treated, tanalised or tanalith treated. There's enough undisposable toxic waste around without making more of it. Also the stuff still rots if you ever drill holes through it.

Chestnut is very good for garden furniture, but not what I'd choose for a structure like this. You can do good work in it, but it's brittle in thin sections. Think about it for tables or seating though.

Telegraph poles last because of how they're treated. You don't want that smell in a summer garden (likewise railway sleepers).
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Haven't found a Larch supplier - the ones I have found have been difficult enough!!

No holes in the wood, but a natural product would get my vote if it will last.

doing now, so the poles would not be thin or split in any way.

Agreed - but the smelly ones are treated with Tar - which can leak, will smell, and will always look terrible!
So would you go with the Chestnut then?
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*** I suppose so. Lots of Chestnut used for outdoor applications. Your construction won't be load bearing, so it should be allright.
Do keep in mind that only the heartwood is durable, so if you start with a pole you will lose quite a bit of the initial diameter over time. PvR
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On 14 Jun 2006 16:21:36 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Bendrey Bros. if you're near Bristol http://www.bendreybrothers.co.uk /

Your poles sound thin, IMHO. Thin, as in I'd ideally be looking for coppiced poles that grew this diameter, and using them with the bark still on.
I probably wouldn't use chestnut here as I'd have to saw it down into such narrow sections (visually) that I could break one if I ever hit it with a wheelbarrow or even a hefty dog.
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