Using green wood for outdoor structures (like wood shelters)

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Established Member
17 May 2012
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South West Wales

Apologies if I've chosen the wrong sub-forum, I wasn't sure which was best.

I have a larch in the garden which needs to come down...

And I'm in the process of building several wood shelters (along with other outdoor projects I have on the to do list)...

I was thinking to use the larch for some of the posts etc, either as is, or splitting the thick parts of the truck to make better sized more useful timbers. What I don't know is whether there are major drawbacks to using green wood for such things. On the one hand, I see these bushcraft types and "Life in the Wild" types building all kinds of things including houses, with the freshly cut wood from trees around them. Yet on the other hand, I know green wood will move a lot as it dries/seasons, and more obviously when you buy wood for such projects it has been kiln dried, treated etc.

So if anyone has any info in and around these questions please, I would love to read and learn.

Many thanks
I'd assume most of the bushcraft activities assume that wood to be essentially disposable. I know larch is a fair choice for outdoor use, as it's quite resistant to rot, that said, you would probably be better off seasoning it for a while, others may disagree but I'd assume the most significant movement, cracking, splitting would happen in the first weeks / months after cutting, so therefore (for rough outdoor use) you could probably stack the wood, covered and vented, and then start work a couple of months later. you'd probably be better off anticipating a good degree of movement and joint accordingly, either the ability to wedge tenons etc or tighten bolts in the future
I suggest you find out the larch species that you have before you decide to use it. European larch is durable - resists rot. Japanese & other ornamental species are less so, in spite of what some 'timber' blogs say. You will find photos online to help with the species.......needles & cones help.
As Adam says, you will probably find it too knotty to split with wedges but if it has been grown in shady surroundings it may have grown tall without too many knots....then again.......good luck.

Well, the tree came down back in March but has sat unused since then (on pallets, and poorly covered). I need to get it out of the way soon-ish though, so am back to thinking how best to put it to use.

Species... Rather stupidly I didn't take any photos specifically while it was standing, although I'm sure if I went through old photos I might find something. But I've taken some now which might help identify it? I'll post them below. I'll also have a google to see if I can work it out, if it's not obvious from the photos.

How to build with anticipation of movement in mind? So the thinking would be to not use screws but rather bolts so that they can be adjusted and tightened as movement occurs? Any other tips or techniques to allow for movement, shrinkage etc?

Many thanks


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my experience is with green sawn larch building gates. mine dried fine over summer. planed it up fine and it didn't shrink much. it wasn't like oak that seems to stay wet for a long time.,
Splitting it would be backbreaking work. For making fences and garden furniture consider investing in a set of round mortise and tenon makers. Never tried myself but it relies on round green wood drying into oval tenons so it's essentially self tightening. A powerful drill is pretty much essential. !

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