It is essential that the right materials are used for outside work, and this applies not only to the choice of wood but also to the choice of hardware and adhesives. If the appropriate materials are used, then outside furniture will give years of maintenance-free service.
Of the home-grown species oak, macrocarpa, yew, cedar of Lebanon and sweet chestnut are all ideal; similarly from the imported timbers, Burmese teak, iroko and Western red cedar are eminently suitable. They can be left with no finish whatsoever and they will mature over a period of time to a lovely silver grey. Alternatively, if it is felt desirable to preserve the richness of colour of the original wood, it is advisable to use only cedar type preservatives
537 Garden or patio tables in various diameters in dyed and natural oak. Designed and made by Lucinda Leech
which enable the timber to breathe, and to avoid varnishes and polyurethanes which require regular maintenance. There is. however, no need to use a preservative as such unless the wood itself is not naturally resistant, for example, normal construction softwood.
All glues used should be of the waterproof resin varieties favoured for boat-building, and all screws and hardware should be corrosion resistant.
These two visually striking tables and matching benches in elm illustrate that preciousness and fine cabinetwork are not the only areas of interest for the furniture-maker. Designed and made to commission in both cases by Ashley Cartwright, 539 shows a 6 ft (1800 mm) square table for the English National Trust, and 540 a 9 ft (2750 mm) table and chairs for a private client.
538 Circular bench with laminated curved rails commissioned by Gray's Inn. London. England. Designed and made by Luke Hughes
539 (facingpage, above) Large outdoor table made from elm. with metal understructure. Four cantilevered legs provide support for four separate top surfaces. Size 6 ft (1800 mm) square. Made for the English National Trust by Ashlev Cartwright
540 (facingpage, below) Large rectangular table and benches in wych elm. Size 9 ft (2750 mm) long. Made by Ashley Cartwright
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