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Softwood or Hardwood?
West African Idigbo timber is a yellow-brown coloured hardwood used for joinery including windows and doors etc. Idigbo timber is a light and moderately durable hardwood, it is commonly used as an inexpensive alternative to Oak due to its likeness when stained the same colour. Idigbo may have discoloration and/or sticker marks, this is in part due to kilning and is not considered a defect. It may also have signs of 'pin-hole' caused by a common African and Asian ambrosia beetle.
Oak has great strength and hardness. Extremely attractive in its natural state, with a clear treatment. Naturally very resistant to insect and fungal attacks because of its high tannin content. Very attractive grain markings and looks great with a OSMO oil, natural finish although it can be stained and painted. Matches traditional ‘old’ look but also great with modern houses. If treated correctly oak can last up to and above of 40 years!!
Iroko is a strong, very durable Hardwood of attractive appearance and small movement. Durable, but will benefit from a regular protective coating of OSMO oil. Iroko Gates can also be painted. Iroko is a highly durable timber with a medium oily texture. It is frequently referred to as African Teak due to its durability and appearance. The wood colour is initially yellowish-brown, darkening to a much richer, golden brown over time.
Redwood is a moderately hard wearing timber suitable for outside use. All redwood gates will need looking after at least twice per year for the whole of its life, and will need close attention during its first year.
If you leave this timber outside, untreated and allow it to get very wet, it could result in the timbers turning black, the boards expanding in their frame to such an extent that they can warp and buckle off the main frame.
The effect of water damage in Redwood can be greatly reduced by the application of the stabilizing solution which stops moisture entering the timber too fast, or loosing it when the weather turns very hot. This coating will last for up to 6 months, where the gate will need to be protected with a good few coats of oil, or a similar coating.DO NOT USE MICRO POROUS FINISHES .
American Douglas Fir timber is a very popular softwood species due to its strength and versatility. Stock from North America is slower growing (although the best 'old-growth' trees in America which used to be imported have Government environmental restrictions). French and UK grown Douglas Fir timber is also offered in 'construction' grades and mainly used for exterior joinery (if preservative treated) or roof trusses etc.
Western Red Cedar timber from Canada/North America is very popular because of its natural durability and pleasant aroma. When freshly machined, it looks variegated from a straw-colour up to dark brown/red, but becomes more uniform in natural light.
The Western Red Cedar timber is imported 'green' i.e. not dried, due to the fact that much of it is used externally, and it can be seasoned quickly if required for interior panelling.
If you would prefer to have a much more durable set of wooden gates, then perhaps you should think of investing in a Red Cedar, Douglas Fir or hardwood gates ie. Iroko, Idigbo or even Oak.