To Treat or Not To Treat?

Last week, I purchased a car boot-full of PAR European redwood (joinery-grade softwood) for a garden gate I’ve been proposing to make for some time. It’s mostly 4x2in (finished at 94x44mm) for the ledge and brace framework with a load of tongue-and-groove (TGV or, sometimes, even TVG!) boards to clad over the front. I also bought two longer lengths of 4x2in to hang and close the gate between the two walls and two lengths of 2x2in to act as stops.

Overall, this gate will be about 2m high and just over 1m wide, between the wall plates. At a total cost of just over £70 inc. VAT and, considering the fact that this is all PAR wood, I think that’s pretty good value. The firm I used to work for would’ve been able to supply a gate like this for around £100, as part of a batch-production with all the jigs and tools to bang one out in half-an-hour… But then, that wouldn’t have included the wall plates or stops that I’ve added, nor any of the galvanised hinges or fittings, which probably cost <£25.

Obviously, as you can see from the above photo; all the timber I’ve bought here has not been treated. More often that not, pressure-treated (tanalised) timber is recommended for any softwood used in an external application – in a previous job batch-producing gates just like this, we also used timber that was pressure-treated before assembly.

Now, while I don’t doubt that the extra preservatives go some way towards prolonging the life of pine when exposed to the elements,  I’m also of the belief that, where the timber isn’t in contact with the ground, it can last just as long (if not longer) with regular care and maintenance. If we design something like a garden gate so that water cannot collect in any areas and simply runs off and away then, I believe that we’re achieving the same goal… That’s why I intend to “treat” this gate with nothing more than Sadolin’s Superdec although, I’ll probably give the end-grain of each component a good soaking in some end-seal (Ensele), particularly the wall plates and stops, which are both in contact with the ground and walls. It may have payed to have bought these components as treated lengths but, that would’ve meant an extra wait and cost, where I still intend to make a few cuts here and there; effectively ‘breaking‘ the seal of the treatment.

So, until the weather warms up just a little and I can bare spending more than thirty-seconds in my workshop again, I’m left with a pile of 2.1m lengths on my workbench in need of some knotting and paint before I can do anything else with them – or without! I now have the money to start sorting out the various problems within my workshop that I’ve been groaning about for months but, with these gate components in the way, I’ve got nowhere to store 3.6m lengths of 7x2in; let alone the 8x4ft sheets of 3in insulation I’ll need to insulate the roof…

Snow isn’t fun when it isn’t thick enough to lend you a couple of days off work! 😛

Thanks for reading.

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