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Synthetic Decking for 'Fine' Exterior Woodworking Projects? Yes.

October 22, 2016

Composite decking machines smoothly, joins well, and resists weather with the best of 'em.

"Earlier this year, I was asked to build some frames for some granite plaques, for outdoor use.

I was really reluctant to use wood because these are going to be shown in a prominent public place.

If anyone forgot to maintain those wood frames properly—it would look pretty bad".

—Steve Maxwell

So Steve turned to composite decking as a test. Overall, he was impressed for a few reasons:

  • It machines very well with hand tools and power tools. Jointer, miter saw, router with cope-and-stick bits, hand chisel: all tools glide through the material smoothly.
  • The joints are strong and tight. It is very difficult to see the joint line in the cope and stick joint. This is partially because of the 4-hour epoxy, and also because the material "machines so crisply, that the parts come together with no gaps."
  • It looks great and continues to look great for many years.

Before working the wood, flatten the boards on a jointer. Composite decking has an intentional crown built in to the top face of the board, designed to shed water. The bottom is usually dished.

The bottom line:

"Composite deck materials machine every bit as precisely as fine hard woods. They weather very well outside, you can join them with epoxy, and they help out where regular wood just would not be able to handle the weather."

Steve Maxwell is a home improvement contractor in Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada.His website and YouTube page offer many informative videos, articles, and photos.

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