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Cedar, Western Red

Western red cedar is one of the most commercially available species. The heartwood varies in colour from light straw to pinkish red to deep, rich brown. The wood is straight-grained and non-porous and has a distinctive aroma. Weather resistant and highly resistant to decay, western red cedar is ideally suited for exterior applications where durability and dimensional stability is required. Its unique properties make it ideal for weather-resistant applications including roof shingles, exterior siding and cladding, decking, doors, outdoor furniture, portable buildings, poles, posts, fences, ship and boat building, as well as boxes and crates.

Thicknesses

Subject to availability

4/4
5/4
6/4
7/4
8/4
9/4
10/4
12/4
16/4
20/4
1/2"
3/4"
1"
Lengths

Subject to availability

4-6'
7/8'
9/10'
11/12'
13/14'
15/16'
17-20'
7' and longer
Applications
Boatbuilding
Doors
Exterior Millwork
Interior Millwork
Musical Instruments
Windows

Distribution

Pacific Northwest United States/Canada

Scientific Name

Thuja plicata

Specific Gravity: Basic

0.31

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.37

Janka Hardness

350

Color/Appearance

Heartwood reddish to pinkish brown, often with random streaks and bands of darker red/brown areas. Narrow sapwood is pale yellowish white, and isnt always sharply demarcated from the heartwood.

Grain/Texture

Has a straight grain and a medium to coarse texture.

Endgrain

Resin canals absent; earlywood to latewood transition usually abrupt (or gradual if growth rings are widely spaced), color contrast medium-high; tracheid diameter medium to medium-large.

Rot Resistance

Western Redcedar has been rated as durable to very durable in regard to decay resistance, though it has a mixed resistance to insect attack.

Workability

Easy to work with both hand or machine tools, though it dents and scratches very easily due to its softness, and can sand unevenly due to the difference in density between the earlywood and latewood zones. Glues and finishes well. Iron-based fasteners can stain and discolor the wood, especially in the presence of moisture.

Odor

Western Redcedar has a strong, aromatic scent when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity

Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Western Redcedar has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye, skin, and respiratory irritation, as well as runny nose, asthma-like symptoms, and nervous system effects.

Pricing/Availability

Should be moderately inexpensive for construction-grade lumber, though higher grades of clear, straight-grained, quartersawn lumber can be more expensive.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.
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Cedar, Western Red
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