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I am looking to fix up this bench and trying to order replacement wood, but what type of wood is it?

It looks to me like white oak. Or is it just faded in the sun? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

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  • Do you have any idea how old this bench is and how long it has been sitting out in the weather unprotected? That could help identify the wood based on weathering patterns and what type of wood would typically have been used at the time. May 22 at 11:32
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    If there's a piece that's still good, perhaps you could cut it lengthwise to see what it might look like, unweathered. Having said that, though, unless you paint it afterward, nothing you get will match the rest of it.
    – Huesmann
    May 22 at 11:35
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    Looks a lot like teak but can't tell for sure.
    – Machavity
    May 22 at 12:36
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    Be aware that a bench with that much decay probably has more hidden decay. You're putting users at risk unless you inspect it very carefully.
    – isherwood
    May 22 at 13:08
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    Planning/scraping/sanding the weathering off one of the faces might also help identify it. Though I agree that if it's going to be painted a match doesn't matter, and that it needs a full inspection at least. Easier to replace lots of stuff now than to do it piecemeal over subsequent seasons.
    – keshlam
    May 22 at 13:58

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I think you're asking the wrong question. This wood is heavily weathered, so even if you get the exact same species, the new wood won't look like the old. Unless you paint it, in which case there's no reason to get matching wood. Here's what you should be asking instead:

  1. What's the best wood to use for outdoor furniture? If I was doing this, I'd probably use black locust, since it's tough, it's rot-resistant, and I know a local place where I can get it cheap. I'm sure other people can suggest some other type.
  2. Is this bench even worth repairing? If the surface pieces are rotten, then there might be more rotten pieces that you can't see. How much wood are you willing to replace before it starts to make more sense to just replace the whole thing?
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Could be teak, ipe, or several other similar tropical hardwoods that weather in this pattern. The rot is very plank-specific, and you can buy typical planks in a 2 foot length that will weather to this in a couple years. In the meantime, worth sanding it and sealing it with a UV-blocking water repellent oil; some of those have stains in them as well.

This probably is worth repairing.

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  • I think It was probably Teak, I had advice from someone who saw it too. The bench actually belongs to a friend's relative, and they decided that it was not work the material cost to repair/oil etc when it would cost only a little more to buy a new one. Very sad it seems that to be the solution so much nowadays. May 23 at 10:31
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    Sigh. I happen to have those planks sitting around. Fixing it would take less time than going to the store and assembling a new one.
    – gbronner
    May 23 at 20:08

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