Cedar, Western Red (British)


Wood Type:

Softwood

Durability:

Moderately durable

Treatability:

Extremely difficult, Difficult (Sapwood)

Moisture Movement:

Small

Abrasions:

Medium

Density (mean, Kg/m³):

390

Texture:

Coarse

Availability:

Available at specialist timber merchant

Price:

Medium

Chemical Properties:

Fine dust may be irritant, an acidic timber which may corrode metals under damp conditions and cause iron staining

Use(s):

Cladding

Colour(s):

Reddish brown (Ages to silver grey if left unprotected)

Notes on terms used navigation-arrow

Introduction

British grown western red cedar generally has similar properties to material imported from North America. The only notable difference is the natural durability which is rated as moderately durable (imported material is classified as durable).

 

Environmental

Not listed in CITES. Believed available from well-managed sources. Check certification status with suppliers.

 

Distribution

UK.

 

The tree

The largest of the so-called cedars, it grows to a height of 45m to 75m with a diameter of 1m to 2.5m.

 

The timber

The sapwood is narrow and white in colour, and the heartwood is reddish-brown. When freshly felled, the heartwood often displays a marked variation in colour; that from the centre of the log may be a dark chocolate-brown changing to salmon pink nearer the sapwood, or the wood may be variegated with alternate dark and light zones. After drying, the wood assumes a uniform reddish-brown tone, but after long exposure to weather the colour is lost, and the wood becomes silver-grey. This weathered appearance is sometimes purposely sought by architects, but a further peculiarity of the wood is its ability to take and hold stain of the finest tint without discolouration. The wood is non-resinous, straight-grained, somewhat coarse- textured and exhibits a fairly prominent growth-ring figure It is soft, rather brittle, aromatic, especially when wet and light in weight, about 390 kg/m³ when dried.

 

Drying

Thin sizes dry readily with little degrade, but the timber generally tends to hold its moisture at the centre and care is needed with thick stock to avoid internal honey-combing and collapse. The timber holds its position well after drying with practically no tendency to warp and check. while movement due to shrinking and swelling in changing atmospheres is small.

 

Strength

Its light weight and soft timber contributes to low strength properties and compared with European redwood (Pinus sylvestris) it is some 20 to 30 per cent inferior in bending strength, and about 1 5 per cent less stiff. It is also much less resistant to splitting and indentation on side grain than redwood.

 

Working qualities

Good - The timber works easily with both hand and machine tools, but its relatively brittle nature, which can cause splintering during some operations, and its soft character, which can lead to chip-bruising, usually means that care is needed in order to obtain the best results during mortising, planing and moulding. A good finish can be obtained, but cutters must be kept sharpened.

Timber grown in Britain contains frequent small knots which can cause tearing in planing and moulding. Furthermore, the wide bands of soft springwood can be difficult to work with hand tools.

Suppliers

Benchmark Timber Ltdnavigation-arrow

High Wycombe

Capricorn Eco Timbernavigation-arrow

Stafford

English Woodlands Timber Ltdnavigation-arrow

Midhurst

iWood Timber Ltdnavigation-arrow

Stafford

Vastern Timbernavigation-arrow

Swindon

W. L. West & Sons Ltdnavigation-arrow

Petworth

Suppliers

W. L. West & Sons Ltdnavigation-arrow

Petworth

Vastern Timbernavigation-arrow

Swindon

iWood Timber Ltdnavigation-arrow

Stafford

English Woodlands Timber Ltdnavigation-arrow

Midhurst

Capricorn Eco Timbernavigation-arrow

Stafford

Benchmark Timber Ltdnavigation-arrow

High Wycombe