Is totara sapwood durable enough to be used for outdoor furniture?
Totara (Podocarpus totara)heartwood is in class 1 (very durable) of the Australasian wood durability classification system. The sapwood of all species is rated as class 4 (non-durable). Although the sapwood of totara has not been specifically tested, it is likely to be non-durable.
While there are anecdotal comments in old references that the sapwood of totara was durable enough for use as exterior woodwork in buildings and that it was resistant to attack by the common house borer, that was at a time when lead based paints were common.
Totara sapwood is probably satisfactory for use in low-moderate decay hazard situations where there is some added protection from decay, but it is unlikely to be durable enough for outdoor furniture if a minimum service life of ten years or more is required.