Splinters are the bane of outdoor furniture projects. Outdoor furniture is more likely to throw splinters than any other type of woodworking project because out in the weather where new checks and splits – the defects in wood that throw splinters – develop constantly.
You can not absolutely “splinter-proof” your outdoor furniture. However, you can decrease the risk of splinters by following a few simple guidelines.
– Use a good grade of lumber. Choose stock that is relatively free from defects – cracks, case hardening, loose knots, any irregularity where water can soak into the interior of the wood.
– Sand the end grain smooth. Next to defects, a board is most likely to throw splinters from a cut end. Sand the end grain that will be exposed on the finished project perfectly smooth. Water will run off sanded end grain, since it cannot cling in the saw marks. There is less swelling at the cut ends, and fewer checks and splits develop.
– Break or round over all bard corners and edges. After you have completed the project, round the cornes with a rasp, block plane, or sandpaper. Rounding the corners helps the water to run off and helps absorb impacts so that the wood is less likely to chip or split.
– Store your outdoor furniture in an outdoor environtment. Store outdoor furniture on a covered patio in your garage, or in a storage barn. If you bring it inside your home, the extreme change in temperature and humidity will distort the wood and cause it to check and split.