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Dado joint in white oak for the outdoors-help
I’m making a wooden cross out of white oak for my cousin’s grave marker. This cross will be outside. The white oak is not quarter sawn, the pieces are basically half rift sawn with the rest being flatsawn. The horizontal cross piece is 15 “ long by 3” wide by 1 1/8” finished thickness. The vertical piece is 36” long by 3” wide” by 1 1/8” thick (with one foot of the bottom being buried into the ground, essentially making the cross 24” tall by 15” wide). The bottom tip of the cross will have a point on it so we can hammer it into the ground.
I’m connecting the two pieces by cutting a wide 3” wide by 9/16” deep dado in each piece where they intersect and then using Titebond III waterproof glue and 2 stainless screws.
I will be finishing and sealing the wood with a finish of some sort (haven’t decided yet).
My questions are these:
- Should I make the dado slightly wider than 3” to allow for expansion of the wood? I don’t want a tight fit to cause it to crack if in case the wood swells. If I do make it slightly wider, by how much do you think?
- I know screws in oak will tend to cause black marks when they react with the tannins in the oak. Should I leave the screws out? Will using stainless screws not cause black marks as opposed to non-stainless screws?
Thanks to all in advance.