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What type of wood is best?

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  • What type of wood is best?

    I was reading a thread someone posted about the thickness of wood for building stalls and it got me thinking. One day I hope to be able to build my own barn and was wondering what wood does everyone prefer? There seems to be a lot of types to choose from and some are softer then others. Is it better to get softer wood like pine or something stronger like oak? I would like to read others thoughts on this.

  • #2
    We prefer hardwoods and in particular, rough cut Oak. Pine is way too soft unless it's pressure treated. Pressure treated hardens pretty well to deter the chewers, but Oak is my favorite (also is usually the most expensive). When we moved to the place we have now, over 13 years go, we lined most of our stalls with rough cut oak and there has been very little chewing on them because the oak is so hard.
    Susan N.

    Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


    • Original Poster

      Yeah, I think oak would be the way to go. About how much more is oak over the cost of pine. A couple of dollars?


      • #4
        We also used the rough cut Oak for inside the stall. We got ours green from the sawmill. You need to use galvanized or stainless steel nails, to prevent the heads rusting from the tannin in the boards. Fun to watch the boards pop loose! Also with the green stuff, it will shrink over time, no matter how tight you fit it during construction. So some small gaps between boards are going to happen with ANY green lumber.

        You would have to call the sawmill, get prices from them. Prices can change. Sometimes a quantity discount is available, so they have the work for employees with assured sale of wood. Rough is cheaper than smooth, less work involved. Sawmill is usually less expensive than a lumberyard or chain store. Tree to boards, no long distance shipping to add to costs, because you pick wood up or have sawmill deliver to you. Rough cut is also thicker boards, not shaved down to reach smooth sizes. Still not a true 2" x 10" or any of the sizes used, but closer to actual measurements than more smooth lumber will be. Thicker wood takes horse abuse better in most cases, though I always recommend double walls between stalls.

        Our green boards had the rough finish and tasted bad with the tannin in them. We still put metal edging around the inside of window to prevent bored horses working on the wood.

        Aisle here is finished in smooth faced lumber, no horse can reach that wood, which is soft pine.

        White Oak has a tighter grain and seems to be harder because of that, than Red Oak. Both are common trees around here. Other Oaks might be more available for lumber in your area.


        • #5
          We used rough cut hemlock for our shelter.
          VERY hard!


          • #6
            Oak is way more expensive than pine. We used 3/4" OSB plywood on the interior of our stalls never had a problem. My husband is a contractor and builds barns he said using oak would be 10 times more.
            Ms Robin
            Farm Websites & SEO, Low Prices, Barter available!
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            • #7
              We used our own hemlock off the farm.
              Cheryl in WNY
              Horse Kids Kit & Bobby


              • #8
                I use White Oak that I cut off my farm and take to a saw mill.
                Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


                • #9
                  "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


                  • #10
                    We used rough 2" Hemlock. It is holding up excellent to the abuse of the drafts... much better than the PTS the hubby used at the previous barn.

                    However, do not believe them when they tell you that horses will not chew hemlock, they can and will if inclined

                    Oak was incredibly more expensive in our area than any other lumber... especially at the thickness needed.


                    • #11
                      I'm using spruce, but I've reinforced it considerably (see posting in 'thickness of wood' thread). Hemlock is strong, but can be splintery. Ash would be very strong. If I were doing this again, I would likely go to a local sawmill instead of the commercial lumber yard, so as to get full thickness wood.
                      My Equestrian Art Photography page


                      • #12
                        I use Oak for everything- fencing, stalls, you name it. I do have 6 by 6 pressure treated posts for my fencing, but then I have four oak boards on the fencing.

                        My stall dividers are over 2" thick oak, about 42" high, with custom made metal on top. The powder coated metal section has a channel bottom, which was measured to fit over top of the oak. The bars are 4" on center- meaning that a horse cannot get a hoof in there, even when rolling.

                        I can buy Oak at the Amish mills in this area for considerably less than I would pay for pine. There is simply no comparison in durability.

                        BTW...I work for a builder, and the SO is a builder.
                        When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou


                        • Original Poster

                          It looks like Oak seems to be the preferred wood choice. I was wondering, is hemlock dangerous to horses or is that just walnut?


                          • #14
                            Rough-cut Oak. Make sure it's been properly dried.
                            The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                            Winston Churchill


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bellyache View Post
                              It looks like Oak seems to be the preferred wood choice. I was wondering, is hemlock dangerous to horses or is that just walnut?
                              Hemlock wood (tree) is not dangerous. The hemlock plant, which grows in wet areas, is deadly.
                              My Equestrian Art Photography page


                              • Original Poster

                                Originally posted by draftdriver View Post
                                Hemlock wood (tree) is not dangerous. The hemlock plant, which grows in wet areas, is deadly.
                                Oh, thanks. I didn't know that.


                                • #17
                                  Cypress - very bug resistent
                                  Now in Kentucky


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by draftdriver View Post
                                    I'm using spruce, but I've reinforced it considerably (see posting in 'thickness of wood' thread). Hemlock is strong, but can be splintery. Ash would be very strong. If I were doing this again, I would likely go to a local sawmill instead of the commercial lumber yard, so as to get full thickness wood.
                                    100% agree with you. Our lumber came from a mill, considerably cheaper and much thicker than buying at the local lumber yard. We have everything capped with metal, never thought some of them would figure out how to chew from the underside up.

                                    Ash is not available locally in board lengths, but they make an awesome tongue for the wagon ... I'd buy this over oak if I could.


                                    • #19
                                      We used 3/4 inch tongue n groove ash and I love it!

                                      Its a very hard durable wood, it is smooth milled so the grain is evident and beautiful in the wood, we treated it with a turpentine / linseed oil mix before the horses got there which really brought the grain out

                                      No one has chewed even one smidgen of it so far, it has withstood kicks and cast horses beautifully and because of the oil mixture on it, it also cleans up easily and well

                                      We have the ash above mid height level and laminated white puckboard on 3/4 inch plywood below to make clean up as easy as possible plus it really brightens up the whole look of the stalls

                                      Here's what they looked like BEFORE horses!


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