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Thread: Wood for community bench

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Seattle, WA

    Wood for community bench

    Our community has 2 benches with worn out board (2x4s). I have been asked to replace the boards. There are 12 total, with dimensions of 2x4x72.

    I am wondering what do I need to go purchase? Yes, it's lumber. Most of the western red cedar rails that I have purchased have some type of cosmetic defect that wouldn't look good. I'm looking to buy 12 boards without cosmetic defects.

    Wondering what this material would be called and where I would purchase it (lumber yard, wood store for woodworkers, etc).

    Have a budget of $120 for the 12 boards.

  2. #2
    This type of thing comes up often. Only thing I know that will work ,at low price, is 2 X 4s treated with solvent based
    copper naphthalate . Put the bark side up so that the pieces don't get splintery. Prime with 2 coats of Gripper Primer
    then paint. It's cheap ,works, and keeps squirils from chewing it up. Some would use pressure treated stuff ,but it
    would be my second choice.

  3. #3
    A good lumber yard will be able to sell you clear western red cedar 2x4s (1 1/2 x 3 1/2 actual). "Clear" is what tells them you want stock with no knots.

    However, your budget likely won't be enough. Around here (NE Ohio) clear WRC 2x4 goes for $5-$6 per lineal foot, so $30-$36 for one 6' long stick. It'll probably be cheaper in the west but not enough cheaper.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    Mel's got it: paint. For your budget, don't try to do it with pretty lumber with a clear finish on it. Paint is much better at resisting water and sun. In Seattle, you're living at ground zero of Douglas Fir production. You might find a lumberyard which will sell you clear doug fir 2x4s. If not, sort through the pile looking for the best-looking sticks. Cut them to the lengths you need, then paint them on all faces and ends, then screw them to the bench structure. If you're feeling particularly obsessive, wait a few months, and put another coat on.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Northwest Indiana
    If looking at Douglas Fir, you might consider 2 x 12, then ripping the 2 x 4's off the outside edges to remove the pith. If you can find 12' clear length, you'd only need to mill 3 boards (maybe even buy 16' so you can select where to make the 6' cuts).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Modesto, CA, USA
    I have read that modern Douglas fir is just as resistant to rot as modern day redwood lumber.
    Bil lD

  7. #7
    Sap is not a defect in Doug. Fir. Doesn't matter to them that the sap is worthless outside. So you need more
    than you need. The 2by 4 fir usually has a lot of sap wood, paint does not stop the sap wood from rotting. The copper naphthalate I suggested is toxic stuff ,that's why it works. Wood treated with it will last a long time and deter squirrels. I won't assume you are a precocious 5 year old. If you don't want to use it I suggest just buying 2by 4 cheap studs, they
    will certainly last a year. When they rot you will have an established plan and some left over paint at the ready.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Hi Greg,
    Dunn Lumber has a nice selection of cedar stock. Clear is spendy--~$6 a bf-- and 2x4 decking--has knots--is~$2 a bf. Get 12'ers and cut in half for no waste. Dunn has great service and quality--stop by and ask the guys and gals at the counter and they will show you what they have--and cut if for you too. Good luck and thanks for giving back to your community. JCB.

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