Milling Cypress for a Deck

      Advice on how to process Cypress timber for use on an outdoor deck. July 30, 2009

Question
A customer has asked me to build an outdoor deck with small stair with handrails. A local sawyer has a large quantity of clear cypress cants that have been air drying for a year or so. I am thinking of re-sawing them to 8/4 and using untreated for deck, treads and railing. This will see light residential use. How well will cypress weather? Is there any advantage to planing it rather than leaving rough?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor N:
Well cypress is a pretty nice material and I have seen it hold up near a 100 years as a siding, I have not seen it in any deck older than 15-20 years or so, possibly itís not the best decking material. I would be cautious to use the wood in the rough and not planed. For one planing the lumber does slightly close the grain, a rough board absorbs much more water than a planed board. Two, I would hesitate to walk barefoot on a rough deck. And in the rough is going to weather faster and more than likely crack and splinter faster. For a railing I think it would be totally acceptable.



From the original questioner:
Thank you for your comments. Good points about planing to reduce water absorption potential. I should add that this cypress appears to be old growth - very clear and mostly 20 or more growth rings per inch of growth. The cants are boxed around the heart and are virtually all heartwood. (I am aware that second growth does not have the same decay resistance as old growth.)

For once, I have plenty of time for this job so I'm thinking of getting the material and re-sawing to rough dimension and letting it air dry for 6-10 months in an environment that approximates its final location. I will plane to final dimension as I build the assembly. The price is excellent ($700/1000 bf) so I can saw and plane for extra large dimensions, say 12/4 on stair treads and solid 16/4 on railing posts, etc.



From contributor C:
Cypress tends to produce false growth rings so aging it by growth rings is not accurate.



Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: General


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2018 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article