Outdoor bench slats recommendation

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

tsb

Established Member
Joined
2 Dec 2007
Messages
290
Reaction score
8
Location
Lancashire
I have a pair of cast iron bench ends and was wondering what timber you would recommend for the slats. I'm not bothered about the colour, I just want the best suitable timber
 

tsb

Established Member
Joined
2 Dec 2007
Messages
290
Reaction score
8
Location
Lancashire
I've been told iroko but no one has it in stock round here. Would oak be suitable and if so (I don't know if this is a silly question) but what moisture content does it has to be for outdoors
 

Daniel2

A Total Member !!
Joined
8 Jun 2020
Messages
764
Reaction score
492
Location
France
I've been told iroko but no one has it in stock round here. Would oak be suitable and if so (I don't know if this is a silly question) but what moisture content does it has to be for outdoors

Many a fine bench has been made from oak.
The moisture content will follow your outside ambient humidity.
 

tsb

Established Member
Joined
2 Dec 2007
Messages
290
Reaction score
8
Location
Lancashire
There is some oak local to me and the seller says it's 20% . Would this be suitable?
 

Jones

Established Member
Joined
5 Oct 2021
Messages
278
Reaction score
173
Location
Gwynedd
Oak would be fine and any outside now will be about 20% so no problem there. Oak may need a bit of oil to keep it from soaking up too much water and growing lichens, iroko or teak are better choices if available.
 

bobblezard

1 step forward, 2 back, 2 forward - rest - repeat
Joined
28 Jan 2013
Messages
231
Reaction score
51
Location
Uk
Oak is durable enough, tung oil will help keep it looking well. I'm planning on making oak slats for an outdoor table with cast iron ends. The only thing I was concerned about was staining from contact with rust/bare metal. I don't know if I'm worrying too much. I'm still going to try it using brass bolts and painting the ends properly first.
 

mikej460

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2019
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
935
Location
Daventry
Oak is durable enough, tung oil will help keep it looking well. I'm planning on making oak slats for an outdoor table with cast iron ends. The only thing I was concerned about was staining from contact with rust/bare metal. I don't know if I'm worrying too much. I'm still going to try it using brass bolts and painting the ends properly first.
If it's air dried and not green then the tannin level should be low enough not to rot metal or stain the oak but you could separate the two using plastic washers.
 

eribaMotters

Established Member
Joined
12 Feb 2010
Messages
584
Reaction score
251
Location
Formby, Merseyside
30 years ago I saved an old Teak park bench from going into a skip. At the time it was about 30 years old. I knocked it apart and replaced odd bits with Iroko and Oak. 5 years ago I had to replace an oak piece as it had rotted on the joints whilst everything else was solid. Over all this time it has sat outside unprotected and never had any surface finish applied. It gets a light jet wash once a year to remove algae, grime and bird muck. Over the last couple of years it has got a bit wobbly on some joints but I'm loathed to do anything as it is still rot free.

Colin
 

Sgian Dubh

Established Member
Joined
12 Oct 2004
Messages
2,657
Reaction score
496
Location
UK
European Oak would be ideal. Air dried would be a slightly better choice than kiln dried, but only because it will be wetter and therefore won't absorb as much moisture as kiln dried stuff. If using kiln dried and there are concerns with wood movement across the grain as it takes on moisture this can be accommodated for in the construction. Air dried will probably be a little cheaper than kiln dried. Oak is durable meaning it's got a long life when in soil contact, up to roughly 20 - 25 years, longer when not in ground contact.

Personally, I never apply or maintain a finish on outside furniture made of durable material such as oak. I just let the weather do whatever it feels like to the wood. Maintaining a finish in really good order is more time, effort and expense than I can be bothered with. If an unfinished surface gets rougher than I care for it to be due to exposure to weather I'll perhaps knock off any raggedy bits with a bit of sandpaper before use, but that's about it.

Below is a table I made several years ago. I did slap a bit of linseed oil on it when it was made, but that was only so the wood looked pretty(ish) for the snap. It's never been touched since and the pretty colour had all gone within a few months. So, top picture as new, and the lower picture of the table's top maybe seven years later looking suitably gnarled and grungy, but we still eat off it when the weather's nice and warm. Where the table sits faces south-west, so that spot is a good hang-out spot on sunny days. Slainte.

Oak-Al-Fresco12-700px.jpg


320-outdoor table.jpg
 

tsb

Established Member
Joined
2 Dec 2007
Messages
290
Reaction score
8
Location
Lancashire
Thanks for all your advice. I'll have another look for some iroko first, then if I can't find any local I'll go with the oak. First of all though I'm going to have a go at stripping the old paint from the cast iron ends. Will have a go at electrolysis, while I've got an empty wheelie bin. Should be fun over the weekend
 

eribaMotters

Established Member
Joined
12 Feb 2010
Messages
584
Reaction score
251
Location
Formby, Merseyside
Have a search for local Architectural Joiners workshops. You may well find they have something in you could buy off them, or they could tag what you want onto one of there orders. This is how I used to source the majority of my timber.

Colin
 

bobblezard

1 step forward, 2 back, 2 forward - rest - repeat
Joined
28 Jan 2013
Messages
231
Reaction score
51
Location
Uk
I'm using timber I've resawn from offcuts of green oak beams that I sourced locally. They've been air dried for about 15 months since resawing. I've no idea whether its native oak or european.
 

Henniep

Established Member
Joined
15 Feb 2019
Messages
92
Reaction score
77
Location
South Africa
What is the most popular timber for outdoor decking? If it survives there, it should work for your bench? Just a thought.
 

Woody2Shoes

Impressive Member
Joined
5 Jan 2015
Messages
2,133
Reaction score
405
Location
Sussex UK
Thanks for all your advice. I'll have another look for some iroko first, then if I can't find any local I'll go with the oak. First of all though I'm going to have a go at stripping the old paint from the cast iron ends. Will have a go at electrolysis, while I've got an empty wheelie bin. Should be fun over the weekend
Word to the wise - you'll need to get all the paint off before any electrolysis.
 
Top