Recommendation of Wood Species for Exterior Railing
#11
  
So I've been asked to reproduce sections of railing on a historic home here in Indiana.

This is just one of three sections that need to be reproduced.  Roughly 80 spindles need turned.

The existing spindles are 3 3/4"  x 3 3/4" square.

It will get painted to match what is there now.

So thinking either cedar by using clear knot free 2x material and laminating together to get the thickness or something like cypress.

Tough to find anything 16/4 in a species that would be good outside so I'm figuring on laminating stock together to get the spindles turned.

Thoughts?


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"This is our chance, this our lives, this is our planet we're standing on. Use your choice, use your voice, you can save our tomorrows now." - eV
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#12
  Re: Recommendation of Wood Species for Exterior Railing by KLaz (So I've been asked t...)
If you keep it painted, Douglas Fir stands up to the weather fairly well.  It is dimensionally stable and has few knots.  But you want properly kiln dried lumber and not the stuff used for framing if you are making turnings.

More information:

https://www.google.com/search?client=fir...r+vs+cedar
No animals were injured or killed in the production of this post.
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#13
  Re: Recommendation of Wood Species for Exterior Railing by KLaz (So I've been asked t...)
Mahogany or Spanish cedar would be the first two I would think about.  Turn easily, great durability and take paint well.  

John
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#14
  Re: RE: Recommendation of Wood Species for Exterior Railing by Cooler (If you keep it paint...)
(10-02-2019, 12:58 PM)Cooler Wrote: If you keep it painted, Douglas Fir stands up to the weather fairly well.  It is dimensionally stable and has few knots.  But you want properly kiln dried lumber and not the stuff used for framing if you are making turnings.

More information:

https://www.google.com/search?client=fir...r+vs+cedar

We tore out an existing one and sure enough they were Doug Fir.
"This is our chance, this our lives, this is our planet we're standing on. Use your choice, use your voice, you can save our tomorrows now." - eV
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#15
  Re: RE: Recommendation of Wood Species for Exterior Railing by KLaz ([quote='Cooler' pid=...)
(10-02-2019, 02:29 PM)KLaz Wrote: We tore out an existing one and sure enough they were Doug Fir.

My deck on my house was built from Douglas Fir in 1953.  When I replaced it in  2005 only the sistered-up joists were in really bad shape, the rest was pretty solid.  So it lasted 50+ years in the open.  Considering that it had not had much love or paint over those years, I think Douglas Fir is a pretty good outdoors species..
No animals were injured or killed in the production of this post.
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#16
  Re: Recommendation of Wood Species for Exterior Railing by KLaz (So I've been asked t...)
I'd go with cypress if it was my project.
Lasts forever & the bugs do not like it.
Don't ask me. I'm lost too.
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#17
  Re: Recommendation of Wood Species for Exterior Railing by KLaz (So I've been asked t...)
I would go cedar. At one time doug fir was much better. Old growth nonfertilized trees. Very close growth rings. About 30 years ago I bought a 30 acre farmette Northern Wisconsin. Home had been neglected for who knows how many years. Original part built in 1839 before Wisconsin was even a state. Added on to 2 times. Excellent bones as they say but otherwise in need of a lot of TLC. Not sure when the windows that were there were installed. Single glazed all wood. Guessing from early 1900's sometime. They were not factory made. If I had to guess, I think they were made onsite.Almost no paint left on any of them. When I removed them they were as solid as the day they were installed. Pine. The growth rings were so close together you could hardly tell they were there. Saved the lumber and some of it has found its way into new things. The wall and roof sheeting were also pine. Some clear boards over 20' long and 24" wide. This was a big lumbering area at the time. The pine now will rot in avery short time if it gets even only a small weather exposure.
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#18
  Re: Recommendation of Wood Species for Exterior Railing by KLaz (So I've been asked t...)
(10-02-2019, 11:21 AM)KLaz Wrote: So I've been asked to reproduce sections of railing on a historic home here in Indiana.

This is just one of three sections that need to be reproduced.  Roughly 80 spindles need turned.

The existing spindles are 3 3/4"  x 3 3/4" square.

It will get painted to match what is there now.

So thinking either cedar by using clear knot free 2x material and laminating together to get the thickness or something like cypress.

Tough to find anything 16/4 in a species that would be good outside so I'm figuring on laminating stock together to get the spindles turned.

Thoughts?

There are several species that fit the bill, depending on availability in your area. Cedar is easy to turn but needs a lot of sanding. I used white oak as it turns nicely without sanding and is a good wood outdoors. Do Not use red oak ,rots easily. Cypress is knotty so I would stay clear because you are turning the balusters. Both fir and pine will be fine, they both will last a long time if kept painted.
Another wood I have used but I have not turned it is Ipe  ( Ironwood). Very hard wood, probably will last 100+ years. I have a friend that uses Ipe only for outdoor decks etc. I went to a yard in Maryland to pick up load of lumber for several projects. I think they are called Ipe Outlet. They are in White Marsh MD. I think they deliver . J Gibson Mcllvain Co. 1 800 638 9100 and they probably have a website if you  are interested. 

mike
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#19
  Re: Recommendation of Wood Species for Exterior Railing by KLaz (So I've been asked t...)
Stay away from laminated cedar. Too many variables to trust that combination with glue, any glue. 

Douglas fir is probably your best bet for local sourcing. The maritime industry knew what it was doing. The big-little ring spacing issue is simply the habitat of the tree being responsible. Western WA trees grow faster than Eastern WA and Coast trees grow the fastest; that's gappy rings, tight-small rings, and really gappy spacing. Fertilizer is pretty costly and flushes away on our rainforest coasts.  Safest preservative is oil based primer. 

If you want to play devil's advocate order Alaska Yellow Cedar. It has the density of Doug fir, is a delight to work, will warp, and growth up to over 100 years per inch. There is a yard here that sells it up to 12" thick timber. Guaranteed, you'll never have another chance for it after big industry destroys our climate. for that matter, Ipe, too.
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#20
  Re: Recommendation of Wood Species for Exterior Railing by KLaz (So I've been asked t...)
If the budget allows, nothing touches mahogany IMO.

Doug
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