Western Red Cedar
Historically, native people of the Pacific coast have used the wood and bark from cedar trees for most of their building needs. Prized for its long-lasting qualities, evidence of cedar’s durability can be found in the many historical artifacts still in good condition today.
If properly finished and maintained, cedar will deliver decades of trouble-free service, but if it’s exposed for prolonged periods to conditions where decay could be a factor, especially when the wood is in contact with the ground, cedar should be treated with suitable wood preservatives.
Western Red Cedar has good fastening properties, but its natural preservatives can have a corrosive effect on some unprotected metals when in close contact, causing a black stain on the wood. Fasteners should be corrosive resistant such as: aluminum, brass, silicon bronze, hot-dipped galvanized or stainless steel.
Nails and screws used to fasten Western Red Cedar should be about one-third longer than those used to fasten hardwood species.
Because it is free of pitch and resin, Western Red Cedar also has excellent gluing properties, comparable to those, for example, of old growth Redwood and American chestnut. It works well with a wide range of other adhesives as well.
Although cedar is a naturally durable species, leaving it untreated is not recommended. A finish or protective coating will greatly increase its service life. Because it is free of pitch and has a high degree of dimensional stability, cedar is the best of the soft woods for accepting paints, stains, oils and other types of coatings.
Its straight grain and uniform texture make Western Red Cedar among the easiest and most rewarding woods to work with. Cedar takes a fine finish in all hand and machine operations, can be fastened without splitting, and is easily sawn (sharp cutters are still recommended). Western red cedar also one of the most popular for milling, exterior and interior siding, and trim.