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I am going to build a brick BBQ similar to something like the below BBQ picture.

The position will be against the house and will get wet from rain. I only plan to cover the BBQ.

Would I be ok to have a wooden counter top?

What types of wood should I look at?

How to protect?

enter image description here

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would recommend something that is dimensionally stable, resistant to rot and easy to work, like cherry, chestnut or walnut - for an outdoor food preparation surface, any tight-grained hardwood will work. (See also the "Wood Picker" app)

Fine woodwork that's meant to be kept exposed to the elements should be protected with a marine-grade spar varnish. This requires a bit more effort and care to apply, and will require periodic maintenance - google "brightwork", which is the art of applying finish to wooden structures on boats. There have been entire books written on the topic, but here's an article to get you started.

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wow what a link the wood picker is. I edited your post to correct the link too. – Valamas May 15 '12 at 21:08
excellent second article too. – Valamas May 15 '12 at 22:03

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