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Stabalizing Oak for outside use ?

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outcycling

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Hi all,

Got a request to build up a small set of steps for a gypsy caravan. Pretty easy job in general. The original steps were a soft wood but the owner suggested using Oak for the new steps so they can just let them age & not worry about maintenance. I was going to just use some tanilised soft wood & let them treat it accordingly but not sure with hardwood. I know when you are building for internal use you bring the wood in to acclimatize & stabilize before working on it. But what do you do if it is to be used outside ? If I go and buy some oak boards from Covers for instance & then build the steps, surely as soon as they go outside they'll start soaking up moisture and expand possibly splitting apart ?

Is there any rules/techniques to follow for building furniture for outside use ?

Many thanks.

Russ
 

jasonB

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If you buy air dried oak you should not have any problems and just leave the wood bare to weather to a natural silver grey.

Just make sure the sides are from straight grained boards as you don't want them snapping.

J
 

andersonec

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As Jason said, air dried is the stuff for outdoors, just try not to use the heartwood and if you have to, put in more screws than you think you will need (across the grain) every 50mm should be good and use stainless steel screws.
Personally, if I am using oak for a garden, I always give it a couple of coats of uv protector, what's the point of using beautiful timber and then let it go 'silver' (the word the salesmen use)
 

outcycling

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Hey, thanks guys, that is exactly the tips I was looking for.

Many thanks.
 

Sgian Dubh

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andersonec":3oqibmef said:
As Jason said, air dried is the stuff for outdoors, just try not to use the heartwood and if you have to ...
The first bit is right, use air dried material, but I'm completely bamboozled by the recommendation to avoid the heartwood. To avoid using heartwood for the job you'd need to throw away something like 90% of the wood purchased surely?

I suspect a typo because European oak heartwood is durable and the sapwood is not ... so I'm assuming you meant to say avoid using the sapwood. Slainte.
 

deserter

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Sgian Dubh":1b367zd8 said:
andersonec":1b367zd8 said:
As Jason said, air dried is the stuff for outdoors, just try not to use the heartwood and if you have to ...
The first bit is right, use air dried material, but I'm completely bamboozled by the recommendation to avoid the heartwood. To avoid using heartwood for the job you'd need to throw away something like 90% of the wood purchased surely?

I suspect a typo because European oak heartwood is durable and the sapwood is not ... so I'm assuming you meant to say avoid using the sapwood. Slainte.
+1 above.

But to expand the use of steel screws of any type in oak is not recommended, as oak will cause iron based metals to corrode, stainless steel will still corrode just not in the same way as mild steel, ideally a coated screw or better still brass screws are better in Oak.
 
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