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Old 05-28-2007, 05:07 PM   #1
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Alternative to PT Lumber for Garden Benches


Hi, I am building 4 benches for the garden at my high school for my boy scout eagle project. The posts will be buried in the ground and I am concerned about longevity of the benches. I have recently discovered that the school has regulations against pressure treated wood and other toxic chemicals and that I would need to find an alternative to complete this project. What kind of wood would you recommend and is there anything I should coat it with. I need something easily obtainable and not too much more than my budget which includes pressure treated wood.
Thanks (this is for Los Angeles)
Here are the plans I am using:
http://www.treatedwood.com/project/pdfs/bench.pdf

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Old 05-28-2007, 05:35 PM   #2
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I would say redwood is the next best thing, but it will probably be quite a bit more expensive.

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Old 05-28-2007, 05:53 PM   #3
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Alternative to PT Lumber for Garden Benches


How about sections of PVC fence posts filled with concrete for the supports and use TapCons to attach the braces? It's a little more labor intensive but should keep your project within budget. Add a couple of #3 rebar or a single #4 or 5.

I was a Cub, Boy and Explorer Scout, ever hear of donations?
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Old 05-29-2007, 09:51 AM   #4
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Cedar. It's naturally rot resistant.
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Old 05-29-2007, 10:11 AM   #5
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Alternative to PT Lumber for Garden Benches


Some lists of naturally durable wood species:

http://fcg.cof.orst.edu/rc/RC22.pdf

http://www.ironwoods.com/ComFeatures.asp

http://www2.hawaii.edu/~entomol/research/r_durable.htm
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Old 05-30-2007, 03:15 AM   #6
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the woodshop teacher at my school suggested Cedar or Redwood, like many of you have suggested. since Redwood is less expensive than cedar, i am thinking of using that and filling the hole with peagravel so water can drain and attaching a plate or footing to the bottom of the 4x4 so the bench cannot be pulled out by some of the nastier students at the school. The garden teacher would prefer not to have too much cement in the garden area as it affects the plants.
thank you all for your suggestions.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:05 AM   #7
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Cypress is great. Mahogany is quite rot-resistant. Teak is extremely rot resistant, but extremely expensive. The others are not too rich. Redwood is rot-resistant, but will it really hold up very long when buried? I'd be concerned about that. I'm not sure about Mahogany under those circumstances either. I've seen cedar last fairly well in direct ground contact, but I'd say we're talking years, not decades, and that's not the way I'd like to build something.

I think your best bet would be to bury footings of some kind, and bolt the wood bench to the footings. That's what you'll see in most outdoor benches. The wood is rarely buried, because it will eventually rot. Any of the species that have been mentioned above will last a very long time if installed on footings, instead of underground. You're going to put a lot of time into this bench. You should make sure it's going to last.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:18 AM   #8
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I would not attach a plate to the bottom since this would help water collect at the bottom of the post and cause it to rot out but instead make your hole like this one in my pick.
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Old 05-30-2007, 12:13 PM   #9
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Alternative to PT Lumber for Garden Benches


Quote:
Originally Posted by bscout View Post
Hi, I am building 4 benches for the garden at my high school for my boy scout eagle project. The posts will be buried in the ground and I am concerned about longevity of the benches. I have recently discovered that the school has regulations against pressure treated wood and other toxic chemicals and that I would need to find an alternative to complete this project. What kind of wood would you recommend and is there anything I should coat it with. I need something easily obtainable and not too much more than my budget which includes pressure treated wood.
Thanks (this is for Los Angeles)
Here are the plans I am using:
http://www.treatedwood.com/project/pdfs/bench.pdf
If it were me, I would build a design that was movable, not set on posts.

If I had to use the design you provided I would still build the posts with pressure treated lumber. You can get a newer style that is non toxic (ACQ) treated. use that for your posts only. Then used cedar or redwood for the rest of the bench. If ACQ is still a no go then use your cedar or redwood all throughout.
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:32 PM   #10
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Just scatter a few of these around and send them the bill for $5000.00:

http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B000KEK0MY
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:14 AM   #11
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Just scatter a few of these around and send them the bill for $5000.00:

http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B000KEK0MY
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Old 06-08-2007, 08:53 AM   #12
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depends where you are I suppose. Sounds like you are on the west coast because here in upstate NY Cedar is much cheaper than redwood (although it has went up). In fact I just bought a whole pickup truck load of 1x rough cut for fascia for $200.
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Old 06-08-2007, 09:50 AM   #13
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Use 5/4 composite decking material. No splinters, sanding or decay.

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