Western Red Cedar

western red cedar

Common Name(s): Western Redcedar, Western Red CedarScientific Name: Thuja plicata

Distribution: Pacific Northwest United States/Canada

Tree Size: 180 ft (55 m) tall, 10 ft (3 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 23 lbs/ft3 (375 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .31, .37

Janka Hardness: 350 lbf (1,560 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 7,500 lbf/in2 (51.7 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,110,000 lbf/in2 (7.66 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 4,560 lbf/in2 (31.4 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 2.4%, Tangential: 5.0%, Volumetric: 6.8%, T/R Ratio: 2.1

Color/Appearance: Western Redcedar is typically reddish to pinkish brown, often with random streaks and bands of darker red/brown areas.

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 is not resistant to insect attack.

Workability: Easy to work with both hand or machine tools, though it dents and scratches very easily due to its softness. Glues and finishes well, though as is the case with most softwoods with closed pores, even staining can be a challenge.

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. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

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.

Common Uses: Shingles, exterior siding and lumber, boat-building, boxes, crates, and musical instruments.

Comments: Western Redcedar is a commercially important lumber, used in a number of applications ranging from rough-sawn lumber for use in home construction to clear quartersawn material for classical guitar soundboards.