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Best timber for gates

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Jeremy Colman19/01/2016 12:09:45
3 forum posts

I need to replace one single and one double gate that have now rotted away. I have seen pictures on this forum of some lovely gates, some from hardwood and some from softwood. My 1912 edition of Paul Hasluck's "Woodworking" recommends oak but notes that larch is cheaper but must have been felled at the right season. Does that advice still hold good? If I use oak will I need to apply wood preservative? Is anything wrong with using pressure treated softwood?

Derek Lane20/01/2016 11:27:04
3218 forum posts
1004 photos

Oak would be a great wood and last for years. As for other woods for outside the best person to ask would be Mailee who makes loads of things like that.

Give him a PM. HERE is one he made

Big Al20/01/2016 21:37:47
1599 forum posts
73 photos

The only problem with using oak is that you would need to use stainless steel fixings, normal zinc coated or steel ones will react with the tannin in the oak and stain it black.

Good alternatives are sapele or iroko, both are excellent timbers for external usage and if untreated will go silvery grey in time. Personally my own preference would always be to make a gate from hardwood, however there is nothing wrong with pressure treated especially if your on a budget or can't prepare the timber yourself.


Mike Jordan25/01/2016 17:00:35
160 forum posts
17 photos

Hi Jeremy

As suggested, Iroko is ideal. I have some garden furniture in iroko which is over 20 years old, has spent all that time standing on a soggy lawn and getting neglected. Still no sign of rot! The drawback is the need to glue joints in iroko with epoxy glue, the oil content of the timber prevents many commonly used glues getting a grip.

There is nothing wrong with the suggestion of using treated timber but i do worry about breathing in the dust from this during the making. If the chemical content kills off bugs and rot spores it can't be good for you and I.


Jeremy Colman25/01/2016 22:34:46
3 forum posts

Hi Mike

Thanks for your reply. I don't like treated timber either for just the reasons you give. Iroko looks promising.


Mike Jordan26/01/2016 08:37:19
160 forum posts
17 photos

Hi Jeremy If you prefer to use softwood and make a saving, I suggest you have a look under the "articles" heading at the top of the page and look under outdoor projects for an article on making a stable door. This contains a section on a method called painting together, this is a rather old fashioned but effective way of making your external joinery last longer.





Edited By Mike Jordan on 26/01/2016 08:38:43

Jeremy Colman26/01/2016 09:08:25
3 forum posts

Thanks again Mike. I had read the original article but the bit about painting together had passed me by. I think that I am inclined to hang the expense and go for hardwood. Painting together sounds like a good idea if one is the "foreman joiner" but not much fun if one is a member of the "rebellious elements in the shop". In my one-man shop I combine both roles and so could not win.


Keith Smith30/01/2016 09:03:37
83 forum posts
5 articles

Iroko is a difficult timber to use for the hobbyist as the dust it creates is very bad for your health as it can cause cancer. For a very durable and easy to use timber I would choose Accoya, this is a specially treated softwood but it doesn't contain any harmful chemicals. This is the best option but the downside is that it is expensive. Other than that oak is a good option as long as you make sure you don't have any sapwood as this is not durable at all. Larch is variable in its durability and is often pressure treated, however pressure treatment today is not anything like as toxic as it used to be. For a tropical hardwood I would choose Sapele, it's relatively easy to work and reasonably durable.

Good luck with your project.

Katharina Wallace10/02/2017 04:54:57
1 forum posts

I sent a sample of this timber to The Center for Wood Anatomy Research; who has kindly identified this as Spanish Cedar (Cedrela Odorata).

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