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Woods Used for Outdoor Furniture

This page is cross-referenced with common and botanic names of the woods listed.  The first section is a table with common woods and their durability classification.  The second section lists the common and botanic names with a hyperlink to the third section.  The third section lists the botanic names and the various characteristics of the individual woods.

If you are researching a wood that is referenced by a common name, try searching using Ctrl+F to find the botanic name & more detailed information.

I hope this page provides information that is useful to you in the confusing area of various woods for outdoor furniture

General benefits of wood furniture: Maintains a moderated temperature compared to plastic or metal. Weighty enough to not be easily blown away by the wind.  Fits easily into the natural environment of plants, trees and shrubs.

Durability - the resistance to fungal decay
There are 5 classes based on an average lifespan of a 50 x 50mm section of heartwood in contact with the ground.

Very Durable ................... More than 25 years
Durable ........................... 25 years
Moderately Durable ........ 10-15 years
Non-Durable .................... 5-10 years


 Table:  Grouping of some domestic and imported woods according to average heartwood decay resistance

Resistant or very resistant

Moderately resistant

Slightly or nonresistant

Domestic

 

 

Baldcypress, old growth

Baldcypress, young growth

Alder, red

Alder, red

Redwood, young growth

 

Cedar

Pine, eastern white, old growth

 

    Atlantic white

 

 

    Eastern redcedar

 

 

    Incense

 

 

    Northern white

 

 

    Port-Orford

 

 

    Western redcedar

 

 

    Yellow

 

 

Cherry, black

 

 

Cypress, Arizona

 

 

Locust, Blacka

 

 

Oaks, white

 

 

Redwood, old growth

 

 

Walnut, Black

 

 

Imported

 

 

Balaub

Keruingb

Meranti, light redb

Greenhearta

Mahogany, African

Meranti, yellowb

Ipe (lapacho)a

Meranti, dark redb

Meranti, whiteb

Iroko

Teak, young growth

Seraya, white

Jarrah

 

 

Jatobaa

 

 

Kapu

 

 

 

 

 

Karri

 

 

Kempas

 

 

Mahogany, American

 

 

Purplehearta

 

 

Teak, old growtha

 

 

a Exceptionally high decay resistance.
b More than one species included, some of which may vary in resistance from that indicated.


 

 Arborvitae .....................................  Thuja occidentalis, aka simply as cedar, Northern White Cedar

 African Mahogany .......................... Khaya anthotheca & ivorensis

Bagtikan .......................................... Meranti, White Seraya; (Bagtikan - the word for White Seraya in the Philippines.)

 Balau ............................................. Balau, red balau & selangan batu - a group of species that are the heaviest of the 200 Shorea species.

Baldcypress .................................... Taxodium distichum, aka southern-cypress, red-cypress, yellow-cypress, white-cypress.  Commercial terms frequently used: tidewater red-cypress, gulf-cypress, red-cypress (coast type), & yellow cypress (inland type)

Bankarai .......................................... A common name for one of the Shorea  species.  (I have not been able to find in any forestry departments or journals.)

 Black Cherry .................................. Prunus serotina; aka cherry, wild black cherry & wild cherry

 Black Locust .................................. Robinia pseudoacacia; aka yellow or post locust

 Black Walnut ................................. Juglans nigra; aka American black walnut

 Blue Gum ...................................... Saligna, Eucalyptus grandis

 Boat-Cedar .................................... Chamaecyparis thyoides, aka Southern White-Cedar, Swamp-Cedar

Brazilian Cherry ........................... Hymenaea courbaril, aka Jatoba

 Cedar, Atlantic White .................... Chamaecyparis thyoides, aka Southern White-Cedar, Boat-Cedar, Swamp-Cedar

 Cedar, Northern White ................... Thuja occidentalis, aka arborvitae or simply as cedar

Cedar, Red (Eastern) ...................... Juniperus virginiana

Cedar, Red (Western) ..................... Thuja plicata

Cedar, Southern Red ...................... Juniperus silicicola

Cedar, Southern White ................... Chamaecyparis thyoides, aka Boat-Cedar, Swamp-Cedar

Cedar, White ...................................Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Port-Orford Cedar; aka Lawson-cypress, Oregon-Cedar

 Cedar, Yellow ................................. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana .............. Port-Orford Cedar; aka Lawson-cypress, Oregon-Cedar & White-Cedar

 Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ........... Yellow Cedar

 Chamaecyparis thyoides ................. Atlantic White Cedar, aka Southern White-Cedar, Boat-Cedar, Swamp-Cedar

Courbaril .......................................... Hymenaea courtaril, aka Jatoba, Brazilian Cherry

Cypress ........................................... Baldcypress, Taxodium distichum, aka southern-cypress, red-cypress, yellow-cypress, white-cypress.  Commercial terms frequently used: tidewater red-cypress, gulf-cypress, red-cypress (coast type), & yellow cypress (inland type)

Eastern Redcedar ............................ Juniperus virginiana

 Eucalyptus diversicolor .................. Karri

 Eucalyptus grandis ......................... Saligna

 Eucalyptus marginata...................... Jarrah

 Guayacan ....................................... Ipe

Hymenaea courtaril ........................ Jatoba, Brazilian Cherry

 Intsia hijuga ................................... Merbau, Kwila

 Ipe ................................................ Common name for the lapacho group of the genus Tabebuia, consists of about 20 species of trees.  Other commonly used names are guayacan and lapacho.

 Ipil ................................................ Merbau, Intsia bijuga

 Iroko ............................................. Milicia excelsa [=Chlorophora excelsa] and Milicia regia

 Jarrah ........................................... Eucalyptus marginata

Jatoba ........................................... Hymenaea courtaril, Brazilian Cherry

Juniperus virginiana ...................... Eastern Redcedar

 Karri ............................................ Eucalyptus diversicolor

 Khaya anthotheca & ivorensis ...... African Mahogany

 Kempas ....................................... Koompassia malaccensis

 Kwila .......................................... Merbau, Intsia bijuga

 Koompassia malaccensis ............ Kempas

 Lauan ........................................ Swietenia mahagoni, Meranti

 Lapacho .................................... Ipe

Lawson-cypress.........................  Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, aka Port-Orford Cedar, Oregon-Cedar, White-cedar

Locust, Black ............................. Robinia pseudoacacia

Mahogany, African ................... Khaya anthotheca & ivorensis

Mahogany, American ................ Swietenia mahagoni

Mahogany, Macrophylla ............ Swietenia mahagoni  True, American or Honduras Mahogany

Mahogany, Philippine .............. genus Shorea; lauan and meranti groups

Mahogany, West Indies ............. Swietenia mahagoni

Melapi ..................................... White meranti

 Meranti .................................... Shorea, seraya, melapi

 Merbau .................................... Intsia hijuga

 Milicia excelsa [=Chlorophora excelsa] and Milicia regia ..... Iroko

 Northern White Cedar .............. Thuja occidentalis

 Nyotoah ................................... Palaquium species

 Oak (red) ................................. Quercus (red)

 Oak (white) ............................. Quercus (white)

Oregon-Cedar .......................... Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, aka Lawson-cypress, Port-Orford Cedar, White-Cedar

Peltogyne ................................. Purpleheart

Port-Orford Cedar ..................... Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, aka Lawson-cypress, Oregon-Cedar, White-Cedar

Prunus serotina ........................ Black Cherry; aka cherry, wild black cherry & wild cherry

Purpleheart .............................. Peltogyne

Quercus (red) .......................... Oak, red

Quercus (white) ...................... Oak, white

Red balau ............................... Balau, red balau & selangan batu - a group of species that are the heaviest of the 200 Shorea  species.

Redcedar .................................... Eastern (Juniperus virginiana)  

Redcedar ..................................... Southern (Juniperus silicicola)

Redcedar ..................................... Western (Thuja plicata)

Redwood ...................................... Sequoia sempervirens

Robinia pseudoacacia ................... Black Locust

Seraya ........................................... Meranti

 Shorea .......................................... Meranti

 Southern White-Cedar .................. Chamaecyparis thyoides ............... Atlantic White  Cedar, aka Southern White-Cedar, Boat-Cedar,  Swamp-Cedar

Southern Redcedar ....................... Juniperus silicicola

 Swamp Cedar ............................... Chamaecyparis thyoides ............... Atlantic White  Cedar, aka Southern White-Cedar, Boat-Cedar, Swamp-Cedar

 Saligna or Blue Gum..................... Eucalyptus grandis

 Selangan batu .............................. Balau, red balau & selangan batu - a group of  species that are the heaviest of the 200 Shorea species.

Sequoia sempervirens ................... Redwood

 Seraya, dark red ........................... Dark Red Meranti

 Seraya, light red ........................... Light Red Meranti

 Seraya, yellow .............................. Yellow Meranti

Seraya, white ................................ Meranti, bagtikan

 Shorea .......................................... lauan and meranti  groups

 Swietenia mahagoni ..................... Mahogany

 Tabebuia ...................................... Ipe

 Tanguile ...................................... Meranti

 Teak ............................................ Tectona grandis

 Tectona grandis ........................... Teak

 Thuja occidentalis ...................... Cedar, Northern White, aka arborvitae or simply as cedar

Walnut, Black .............................. Juglans nigra

Western Red Cedar .................... Thuja plicata

White Cedar ................................ Thuja occidentalis

White Cedar ................................ Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, aka Lawson-cypress, Oregon-Cedar

 White Oak .................................. Quercus (white)



Balau ........................................... Balau, red balau & selangan batu - a group of species that are the heaviest of the 200 Shorea species.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ........... Port-Orford Cedar; aka Lawson-cypress, Oregon-cedar & white-cedar.

Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ......... Yellow Cedar

Chamaecyparis thyoides ............... Atlantic White Cedar, aka Southern White-                                                            Cedar, Boat-Cedar, Swamp-Cedar

Eucalyptus diversicolor .................. Karri

Eucalyptus grandis ......................... Saligna or Blue Gum

 Eucalyptus marginata..................... Jarrah

Intsia bijuga ................................... Merbau (Malaysia), ipil (Philippines), kwila (New Guinea)

Hymenaea courtaril ......................... Jatoba, Brazilian Cherry

Ipe ................................................... Common name for the lapacho group of the genus Tabebuia, consists of about 20 species of trees.   Other commonly used names are guayacan and lapacho.

Juglans nigra .................................... Black walnut; aka American black walnut

Juniperus silicicola ........................... Southern Redcedar

Juniperus virginiana ......................... Eastern Redcedar

Khaya anthotheca & ivorensis ........... African Mahogany

Koompassia malaccensis ............... Kempa

Meranti ......................................... Shorea, Batu, lauan, Philippine mahogany, tanguile, red seraya, dark red seraya, yellow seraya

Meranti - common name applied to four (4) groups of species of Shorea from SE Asia, most is from Malaysia, Indonesia & the Philippines.  There are thousands of common names for the species of Shorea.  The common names Philippine mahogany and lauan are often substituted for meranti.
 These four (4) groups of meranti are distinct on the basis of heartwood color & weight.  About 70 species of Shorea belong to the light & dark red meranti groups, 22 species to the white meranti group and 33 species to the yellow meranti group.

Woods belonging to Shorea & Parashorea genera:

Name

Color

Density of air-dried wood

Dark red meranti (also called tanguile & dark red seraya)

Dark brown; medium to deep red, sometimes with a purplish tinge

640+ kg/m3 (40+ lb/ft3)

Light red meranti (also called red seraya)

Variable from almost white to pale pink, dark red, pale brown, or deep brown

400 - 640 kg/m3, averaging 512 kg/m3 (25 - 40 lb/ft3, averaging 32 lb/ft3)

White meranti (also called melapi; called bagtikan in Philippines)

Whitish when freshly cut, becoming light yellow-brown on exposure to air

480 - 870 kg/m3 (30 - 54 lb/ft3)

Yellow meranti (also called yellow seraya)

Light yellow or yellow-brown, sometimes with a greenish tinge; darkens on exposure to air

480 - 640 kg/m3 (30 - 40 lb/ft3)

Merbau ......................................... Ipil, kwila

Milicia excelsa, M. regia ............... Iroko

Nyotoah ........................................ Palaquium species

Peltogyne ...................................... Purpleheart

Prunus serotina .............................. Black Cherry; aka cherry, wild black cherry & wild cherry

Quercus (red) ............................... Red Oak; Q. rubra (northern red), Q. coccinea (scarlet), Q. shumardii (Shumard), Q. palustris (pin), Q. nuttallii (Nuttall), Q. velutina (black), Q. falcata (southern red), Q. falcata var. pagodaefolia (cherrybark), Q. nigra (water), Q. laurifolia (laurel), Q. phellos (willow).

Quercus (white) ............................ Q. alba (white), Q. prinus (chestnut), Q. stellata (post), Q. lyrata (overcup), Q. michauxii (swamp chestnut), Q. macrocarpa (bur), Q. muehlenbergii (chinkapin), Q. bicolor (swamp white), Q. virginiana (live).

Robinia pseudoacacia ..................... Black Locust; aka yellow or post locust

Sequoia sempervirens .................... Redwood aka coast redwood, California redwood & sequoia

Shorea ........................................... Meranti; Mahogany, Philippine

 Swietenia mahagoni & macrophylla........................ Mahogany

Taxodium distichum ...................... Baldcypress, aka southern-cypress, red-cypress, yellow-cypress, white-cypress.  Commercial terms frequently used: tidewater red-cypress, gulf-cypress, red-cypress (coast type), & yellow cypress (inland type)

Tectona grandis ............................ Teak

Thuja occidentalis ........................ Cedar, Northern White, aka arborvitae or simply as cedar

 Thuja plicata ....................... Western Red Cedar; aka canoe-cedar, giant arborvitae, shinglewood & Pacific redcedar.


 Durability - the resistance to fungal decay
There are 5 classes based on an average lifespan of a 50 x 50mm section of heartwood in contact with the ground.

Very Durable -             More than 25 years
Durable -                     25 years
Moderately Durable -  10-15 years
Non-Durable -             5-10 years
 

 


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