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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have a customer who is asking me to build custom picnic tables for his outdoor deck (2nd floor) at his tavern business.

His biggest concern is decay and maintenance. In a perfect world, he would like them to last forever: never have to reseal or replace; warped, split, or decayed materials.

Stone is the first material that came to mind... But, due to the deck being on stilts on the second floor, we have a weight concern.

Composite materials claim long term durability and don't require sealing. My concern is how composites will handle the abuse from typical bar patrons (cigarette burns, knife carvings, graffiti).

The cost of materials, although always a concern, takes a bit of a back seat on this project...

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Greg

p.s. We are replacing 8' tables made of PT Pine. BTW - old tables are original picnic table shape, new ones will be octagon shape with open entrance seating and umbrella fixtures (umbrellas supplied by alcohol distributors)
 

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I know what you mean John, I just used up a bunch of leftovers on 3 picnic tables. 1 each for my grand daughters & one for me. All ready stained rsc 2x8's leftover from a pergola this spring.
 

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You know I am going to say use "Thermally Modified Wood" will last for long time and has added benefit of being chemical free. (looks good too)

Lorne
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for responding...

IPE sounds like the way to go...

We will plan to put an initial clear oil sealer on them when complete. The customer can decide if he wants to have them resealed or not in the future.

Am I correct in understanding it doesn't require regular sealing? It will weather over time to a gray color but will not deteriorate or be as susceptible to UV damage?

Thanks again for the advise,

Greg
 

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John Hyatt
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The S American lumber will go gray/silver left with no finish.It will last just as long with or without finish but it will host water marks from rain and of course stain up from Folks droping things on it like mustard hot dogs. Joe Wood likes to put a clear finish on for a little protection from things like that. The clear or natural finish has no uv protection so the wood will still go silver.

Garapa is a pretty good buy right now you might call East Teak and check it out. J.
 

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My vote is to match the customer's deck surface. Those picnic tables are going to see a lot of use, just like the deck they are sitting on. So, when the deck needs refinishing at some point, they can refinish the tables at the same time. Of course, I'd love to shamelessly plug my own outdoor furniture products made of composite materials (www.deccessories.com), but I don't think this is the right application for the my furniture. I think you'll find that most anything will see some wear and tear after years of regular use by bar patrons. I'd match the deck surface for a nice, clean, uniform appearance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update.

Spoke with customer about Ipe. He agrees this is what he wants the tables built out of. He also agreed to all stainless fasteners and a clear sealer.

He choked big time on the price for the octagon shaped tables :eek:. But, once we got him breathing again, he decided the traditional style tables with attached benches would be fine.;)

Once again, Thanks for all the advise from everyone. I'll post again when we get into this project (couple weeks out).

Thanks,
Greg

p.s. One concern I have is the excessive tool wear I should expect due to the density and hardness of this wood. We are using quality carbide tipped saw blades for the chop saw and 135 degree split point (self centering) m42 cobalt drill bits. I am yet to find a paddle bit that's worth a :censored: when it comes to counterboring holes for the washers and nuts... Any suggestions? I could use piloted c'bores or fostner flat bottom drills, but, they tend to run so much slower and cost alot more...
 

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I'd go with the fostner bits, much cleaner holes & they do last longer than paddle bits.

Ipe seems to be much harder on drill bits than saw blades.
 

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John Hyatt
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John agrees with Al,Fostner bit is the only way to go mine move pretty fast really I dont understand the slow part.

Octagons go pretty fast too, sometimes faster all the cuts are the same same glue up, all the seating cuts are the same. Remember no clear or natural finish has uv protection use them and the ipe will go gray/silver.

No need for bolts or washers ,at least in my shop anyway, pretty straight forward glueup. The legs/stands can be done in several ways but no real need for threaded harware with them either.

Octagons have a little seceret math thing that makes the cuts go really fast and dead on. J.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update...

Thanks again to all for the input on this project...

Going with fostner bits for c'bores...

Picked up enough Ipe for the first 8' picnic table today (almost 1k for materials - :eek:).

Once you get past the price and weight issues though...

This wood is incredible!

It's been years since I've been able to walk up to a stack of lumber, grab approx 14 boards (8 of which were 16' long), and only have to set one aside due to warpage... The guy at the lumber yard even told me their Ipe inventory had been sitting there for several years. Apparently, there isn't much call for Ipe in my area (yet :thumbsup:).

I'll post pictures as we get further...

Thanks,

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Update on Ipe picnic table project.

Job was delayed for about a month, then materials for remaining tables took almost two additional weeks to arrive...

All the Ipe is cut to size and almost all bolt holes are drilled and c'bored.

Tooling Results:

Used "BoreMax" fostner bits for c'bores, they work great.

After breaking alot of drill bits, found best results with parabolic high helix bits (M34 Cobalt, 135 degree split point, self centering). The parabolic helix design seemed to work best for pulling the wood chips out of the holes.

We are using #10 x 3" stainless steel screws to secure the tabletop and seat boards (2x4 & 2x6). The ones I ordered have a square drive head. In the future, I would much prefer a torx bit design (square drive strips out too easily).

I sealed each board within 24 hours of cutting it to size. The sealer I used which came recommended by my lumber supplier is not working as well as I expected. I am still getting some end checking (and I applied it extra thick on the ends). Does anyone have any experience with "AnchorSeal"? I am thinking of ordering some and applying it only to the ends of each board (over the other sealer that didn't work so well...).

Thanks again for everyone's recomendations on this project.

I will post some pictures soon.


Greg
 

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We use anchor seal all the time on ipe cuts. Try not to get it on exposed surfaces, as it is hard to remove.

I know that it does some good. We will trim a deck back and seal the ends. Those ends don't check or check minimally. On the end cuts, that don't get sealed, the checking is much more noticable.

Just my observation.
 

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John Hyatt
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We use endgrain trim glued/screwed on,no need for the thined down wax at all. Over here anyway I just dont have surface checks come up with S American lumber that a person would notice anyway. The twp 100 series must be doing something right, after over 10 using it. J.
 

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We use endgrain trim glued/screwed on,no need for the thined down wax at all. Over here anyway I just dont have surface checks come up with S American lumber that a person would notice anyway. The twp 100 series must be doing something right, after over 10 using it. J.
Do you always sell the finish (TWP) along with ipe deck?

Personally I'd just as soon not fool with staining & only do it on jobs where customer wants the whole deal. I'll tell HO'er how to do it, where to buy, what to buy, everything just to keep from doing. Tell 'em if you want me to do it, it'll cost you. I hate smelling like twp for a week.

Far as anchorseal, I do put that on. Mainly cause all these HO'ers are internet savy & read you gotta you use it & think they're getting short changed if you don't use it. I don't like it cause it'll end up where you don't want it, like tipped over inside my trailer tool box.:sad: Or it gets spilled on the ground & I step in it then walk on the deck.:eek:
 
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