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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So a friend in Missouri is now a single dad with a too-cute-for-words four-year-old daughter. He has stepped up to become "super dad" in every way he can.

The plan for this Fall, is to build a wooden deck behind his home, so they can step outside without sinking into snow and slush, etc. The current wooden deck is the cheapest "Build it to sell the home" style of cheap construction made from cheap wood. It has to be removed, if only for the child's safety. I suppose the wood could be used for arts and crafts, but not much else.

So I got to thinking ... it is always dangerous when I get to thinking ...

I have all of these Red Oak church pews here, and the thick wooden planks that make up the seat portions. His step-dad is a lifelong friend of mine. He asked me if it would be possible to build the deck out of this wood.

Knowing absolutely nothing
about how Red Oak would stand up to the Missouri summers and winters, I am asking you PROS for the answer. I cannot recall EVER seeing Red Oak used OUTDOORS.

I have built several decks, so the design is not an issue. I can make it stunning, with all of the under framing and foundation it could ever need. I tend to OVERBUILD things.

I have ALL of the tools, two table saws, radial arm saws, cordless tools, and even a CNC router table for the Compass Rose that might end up in the center, made out of different wood, or maybe colored resin with glitter poured into the pockets!

But I don't want to build a deck and discover that Red Oak FAILS in freezing temperatures, or sweltering summers, or it is particularly tasty to termites, or wood eating microbes, or it cannot handle heavy rains, etc.

What is YOUR advice on this topic?

Joe

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Sorry I can't answer your question, have no experience. But when you said in another post that you had a whole lot of church pews, you weren't kidding!
I note that one of the (seats, I think?) is laminated. I don't know whether that will make a difference to outdoor longevity.
Is that your Toyota forklift as well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry I can't answer your question, have no experience. But when you said in another post that you had a whole lot of church pews, you weren't kidding!
I note that one of the (seats, I think?) is laminated. I don't know whether that will make a difference to outdoor longevity.
Is that your Toyota forklift as well?
Yes, I LOVE my forklift! with a typical American "bad back" it was worth every penny of the $14.7K purchase price!

The seat portions of the benches are laminated wood strips, like a cutting board. I am assuming I can lay them down and they would provide a good deck, since they are about 1.75" thick. But I might use the backs instead, turned down so the curved lumbar support is on the bottom side of the deck boards, leaving the flat back side as the top surface.

I can cut these backs to lengths. They are between 8 and 16 feet in length and weigh about 110 lb. each. It took five guys THREE DAYS to disassemble some 130 church pews, and they were all GIVEN to me! I did pay my helpers, so I do have about $1,500.00 into the wood now. Still, to BUY all of this at Lowe's ... WHEW! That would be 'Spensive, Lucy!

I want to do something with this wood. I could build a thousand cute birdhouses and sell them at the 2022 Christmas Craft Faire in Nashville, but I am a REALIST. Am I REALLY going to build them? Probably not!

So this deck project might be the answer.

Joe


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry I can't answer your question, have no experience. But when you said in another post that you had a whole lot of church pews, you weren't kidding!
I note that one of the (seats, I think?) is laminated. I don't know whether that will make a difference to outdoor longevity.
Is that your Toyota forklift as well?
It is AMAZING how many churches are GIVING AWAY their solid wood church pews now, or trying to SELL them for a small price, trying to comply with the STUPID "social distancing" seating of individual chairs instead. Imagine what they paid for these benches, EVEN 50 years ago! All you have to do is search Craigslist for the ads. Churches all across the country are looking for people to haul the old wooden church pews away!

NOTE: Craigslist is a local personal ad site, but you CAN search the entire country's Craigslist ads all at once HERE!

Search for "FREE CHURCH PEWS"

You're welcome!

Joe
 

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although Red Oak is admired by many for INdoor projects, it is not the best choice for outside projects. It is porous and once the finish coat is compromised, water, mold and mildew gets inside of the wood and failure is in the very near future. We know the budget is small, but, using the wrong materials from the start could be more costly later. There is nothing wrong with using pressure treated pine from the Box Store for a back deck that will last 10-15 years - especially for kids that don't really care what wood is used - as long as it presents a safe place for family time to make memories with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
although Red Oak is admired by many for INdoor projects, it is not the best choice for outside projects. It is porous and once the finish coat is compromised, water, mold and mildew gets inside of the wood and failure is in the very near future. We know the budget is small, but, using the wrong materials from the start could be more costly later. There is nothing wrong with using pressure treated pine from the Box Store for a back deck that will last 10-15 years - especially for kids that don't really care what wood is used - as long as it presents a safe place for family time to make memories with.
I kind of figured as much ... since I have not seen Red Oak being used outdoors, ever.

I know about the usual outdoor woods, but none of them are FREE :cry:

Well, we may have to rethink this whole thing. I want to build something spectacular, but lumber prices are through the roof now. IF ONLY I had listened to my little voice many years ago, and STUFFED my FrankenBarn with 2x4s, 2x6s, plywood, OSB and other stuff. I could pull it all out NOW, and sell it for HALF of the current price, and STILL make a fortune!

I guess the SAME thing could be said about AMMO!

Now where did I put that WAYBACK machine?

I believe we may go with the composite decking instead. It is a bit costly, but very low maintenance. The sub-frame could be treated lumber, with the composite decking on the top "bare feet" surfaces. I guess it would handle rain and snow better also. I have built some amazing redwood decks in the past, when I was younger ... and thinner ... and healthier. I may still have one or two decks left in me.

I want to build one at my own home here in Kentucky, but I don't know. I look at all of the homes around here, and sprawling multi-level decks with a sunken jacuzzi and ornate railings are not a "thing" in this part of the country.

I have a 35 foot flagpole that needs a nice low deck around it, perhaps round, perhaps octagonal. I also want to build some wrap around benches around huge oak trees here. Summer projects ...

Joe


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Forgive me for asking, but how come timber has gone up so much in places that produce it? No surprise in my country, as almost all hardwood is imported, but Canada and USA? I thought demand had gone down in lockdown?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Forgive me for asking, but how come timber has gone up so much in places that produce it? No surprise in my country, as almost all hardwood is imported, but Canada and USA? I thought demand had gone down in lockdown?
I could answer you, but I do not want to drag POLITICS into this forum.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hay Joe... try one of the local Sawers and see if they have some locust or white oak. See if they will trade for some nice dried red oak! Tim
Hmmm .... local mills? There is one run by the Amish nearby. Probably another one ... somewhere.

I may just design the deck and order the composite decking (not real wood 😥 ) and have it available for pick up in Missouri, rather than trying to drag it all up there from Franklin, Ky.

This puts me back at Square One. What to do with these benches? I think I am going to have to find SOMETHING clever and cute ... artsy-fartsy, and make a thousand of them for the Christmas show in Nashville.

I really do like clocks. I might default to some Red Oak/CNC metal clock faces with the battery operated mechanisms in a pocket on the rear side. This is March already, so I don't want to fall into the "I've got a lot of time!" trap. I have to figure out what to do with them NOW, and begin turning them into something that will sell at the Christmas Crafts Fair in ...October?!? September?!?

Joe


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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am waiting for David to send me some photos and measurements of the rear of his home in Missouri. Then the magic can begin.

I tend to go overboard on things. Have you seen my FrankenBarn?

David sent me a sketch of what HE thinks we are going to build. I replied ...

"What? No Jacuzzi? No Heli-Port for the DRONE? No Fire Pit?!?"

We are definitely NOT on the same page yet.

Joe


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I agree with John that there is a better use for the red oak. If it was white oak, it would stand up to the weather, but I don't believe red oak will. You would be getting rid of one product that didn't perform to replace it with another. We have a 10 x 20 deck with pressure treated wood that still looks great after 18 years with periodic staining. No personal experience with composite stuff, but the people I know who have it like it. I wouldn't argue with that choice - nice appearance and less maintenance. Don't worry; you'll find a very fitting use for that red oak.
 
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