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Oak offcuts?

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Chris152

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I'm looking to buy 3 x 10" (approx.) x 10" (approx.) x 48" lengths of oak, or whatever wood would be good for an outdoor sculpture (they'll remain whole and un-carved, just joined at right-angles toward one end). Buying from timber merchants looks pretty expensive. Couple of questions:

1. Is oak good for this in terms of durability? Or a resinous softwood like cedar? (And I'd like them to stay fairly straight - is air-dried best?)
2. Are those the sort of dimensions I might be able to get as offcuts from larger structural/ building work?

Thanks
C
 

custard

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Chris, most timber yards won't have a clue how to deal with an order like this, and they may have quoted you a daft price to make you go away. You need to go to a yard who buys and processes the entire log. In my part of the country that would mean a yard like Tylers or English Woodlands Timber, or a smaller specialist like SC Scoffe who serves the agricultural fencing and timber framed building markets. I don't know their equivalents near you but they'll certainly exist.

Oak has a great reputation for exterior durability, but there are plenty of alternatives. One obvious option is Sweet Chestnut, which has all the durability of Oak but is about 30% cheaper.

With dimensions like this your only option is air dried or more likely wet, you'll very rarely find anything over about 100mm thick that's been kilned.
 

Argus

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Oak is traditionally used outside (Teak being almost unobtainable, nowadays). It lasts, but will eventually rot away. Otherwise, Chestnut.

I notice that some coastal groynes and other woodwork are being replaced with Greenheart which is rot-resistant enough for semi-immersion in the sea.
So........... on a non-ecological note, (it comes from South America) Greenheart may be the way to go, if you can get some off-cuts. It usually comes in huge baulks.

Happy hunting.
 

profchris

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As you're not carving them, why not find your local green oak building company? Mine (a neighbour) would probably plan you those as offcuts for sensible money.

The wood will move a bit, and maybe crack, but by the sound of it that might not be a problem for you.
 

Chris152

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Thanks all. I made the maquette for this over a year ago and have just waited to see if the right wood turns up, but nothing so far.
custard":1mpdgk1q said:
You need to go to a yard who buys and processes the entire log.
- I think that's the route, there are some small-scale yards not too far that might be able to cut what I need. I did find some off the shelf (https://www.uk-oak.co.uk/product/250_x_ ... _Oak_Beams) but transport's an issue (cost, I mean) as well as the cost of the wood.
I plan to join them with oak dowels/ pegs, so will be back at some point for advice on that!
Thanks again, Chris.
 
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