Western Red Cedar is a naturally rot-resistant wood. It’s used as siding, shingles, lumber, tongue and groove, millwork, decking, fencing, fascia, and decorative elements. Specialty uses include landscape chips, gazebos, pergolas, boat building, boxes, crates and musical instruments. The durability and distinctive color and odor of the wood are the main reasons for its popularity. It grows all along the West Coast and as far inland as western Montana.
Like many woods, cedar comes in several grades. Two of the most common cedar grades are clear and knotty. Clear cedar has few flaws such as knots or splits. As it is carefully selected and generally thought to be higher quality, it’s more expensive. Knotty cedar is more common and less expensive, but desirable for a rustic look.
Cedar must be seasoned to use, either by kiln drying (the most common commercial method) or by air-drying. This reduces shrinkage and allows finish to take better. Make sure the moisture content is below 15% to apply finish.
Cedar works well with hand or power tools, but it may dent easily as it’s soft and may discolor if metal fasteners are used.
Another cedar choice is texture. Smooth, rough sawn, and even “hand-hewn” looks are all available, depending on how rustic or sophisticated you want your project to look.
One popular use of cedar is siding. Cedar siding comes in many different patterns. One is the horizontal bevel or clapboard (either straight-edged or with the natural “wane” [rough edge]). Other types include tongue and groove, channel rustic and shiplap, which all may be installed horizontally, vertically or diagonally as you please.
Beyond regular lumber products, cedar logs can also be used for creative architectural decor. Peeled logs, in particular, make excellent mantle pieces and column logs. Cedar architectural millwork and reclaimed cedar are unique and extra-rustic. Cedar has even been used for log and timber-frame homes.
Visit our lumber page for more information on all the types of lumber we offer. Come by your local WBC to pick up your cedar.