I make camp furniture. I have been using pine for quite some time, but would like to shift to hardwoods. My questions is thus: How do I determine the equivalent strengths between 2 boards? For example, how does a 1" X 8" piece of red oak compare, strength and durability wise to a 2" X 8" piece of pine over the same distance?

I know how the pine holds up, I have been using it for over a decade. I'd just like to know how to determine if going to the thinner oak is practical before I drop a lot of money on a design/material combo that isn't going to work. Thanks for your help.

  • By using the sagulator. – Darrick Herwehe Jul 30 '15 at 13:02
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    I would float this question by the boys at the WoodWorking SE. They know this a bit better than the Home Improvement people (generally, although there is lots of overlap). I believe a similar question has already been tackled also. – BrownRedHawk Jul 30 '15 at 13:05
  • There are tables for that. Locating them is off-topic. – Dan D. Jul 30 '15 at 20:41
  • Unfortunately, the Sagulator is for shelving or table top spans, whereas I am interested in determining the feasibility of using the smaller boards as side rails for a bed frame. The stresses are different. I'll check over in the woodworking area for further info. Sorry for the incorrect tags. – Dennis West Jul 31 '15 at 15:12

As Derrik mentioned, the Sagulator is probably your best bet. The topic has been covered fairly well in the woodworking stack exchange. The Sagulator is designed for static loads, e.g. shelves, whereas chairs are going to be taking dynamic loads, but the relative strengths should still apply: if you put in your yellow pine vs red oak, the ratios should apply for dynamic loads as well.

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