Three kinds of wood are well suited for outdoor uses Redwood, Western Red Cedar, and Bald Cypress. The heart wood of all three of these s|>ecies has a high natural resistance to decay, which makes them ideal for outdoor projects. Redwood and Bald Cypress are also termite resistant (the little rascals just don't like the taste of the natural extratlvcs in the wood)
I'd like to make a few comments about each of these woods First, rrduixxl. I don't think you can beat clear, all heart redwood for building outdoor furniture, it just has a natural beauty that seems to say "outiloors".
California Redwood comes in seven grades, though most lumher yards carry only two: Clear, All Heart (sometimes called finish gradei. and Construction Common. Clear. All Heart redwood is the top of the line. It's cut from the heart of the tree and should contain no sapwood and no knots on the face side (though there may lie one or two on the reverse side). This grade is quite expensive (it runs about SI.20 a board-fool around here) and to my way of thinking should be reserved for furniture building.
Construction Common contains knots, and some sapwood (cream-colored streaks). This grade is best used for planters, fences, and small projects where "looks" are not so important.
Western Red Cedar is a beautiful, light-weight wood that's very' easy to work with It's one of my favorite woods to saw just because of the aroma. Cedar is particularly suited for planters and fences, though it should be treated with a wood preservative for both these applications.
One last point about redwood and cedar. Most redwood comes surfaced (smooth) but it is also available with a resawn (or textured) finish. Cedar is available surfaced, resawn, and rough-cut. Resawn (textured) cedar is quite nice for projects where a rustic or "outdoor" look is wanted Rough-cut cedar ha« a very rustic look, but you want to be careful where legs or small hands could pick up a splinter.
As far as Raid Cyprrx* goes, I have to admit that I haven't had the chance to work with it Cypress is widely available in the South, but hard to find in the North and West Those of you in the South probably know more about working with it than I do.
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