Cedar Wood

Cedar Wood

The types of cedar wood, their properties and characteristics, and information on finishing the cedars.

Craftsman Style

¶ Several kinds of cedar are used for various purposes in different localities. White cedar is used for exterior building construction rather extensively in some sections. A wood of light weight, soft, brittle, close-grain and compact character. And of course all cedars are durable woods. The sapwood of white cedar is light in color while the heartwood is brown. An easy wood to paint because it absorbs paint well and offers good penetration and anchorage. Considerable oil is needed to satisfy suction. Use thin coats. White cedar takes stains well.

¶ California and Oregon cedars are similar and are used for exterior construction. These woods are light in weight, soft, strong and durable. They are close grain and absorb paint well, offering good penetration and anchorage. At least three thin coats are needed and four coats of paint are much better in order to supply enough oil.

¶ Red cedar is used in a limited way for exterior lumber and extensively for making shingles, the very best lumber for this purpose. Lead pencils are made from this wood. A light-weight, soft, close, even-grained wood which is not very strong. The sapwood is white and the heartwood is red. Oil of cedar is made from this tree and that oil is a paint solvent. So unless the wood is well seasoned this oil will likely destroy the paint coatings. Red cedar doesn't absorb paint readily nor does it offer good penetration and anchorage. Paint dries slowly on it. Mix paint for it thin, with plenty of turpentine and allow plenty of time for each coat to dry. The dark color of the wood and the necessity for thin coats makes it imperative to use at least three coats on new wood.

¶ Washington cedar is considered a soft wood, but the trees produce wood which is both soft and fairly hard. This wood is very close grained but is light in weight. It absorbs paint rather unevenly. Thin coats well brushed out and with a little more turpentine than usual are needed. Allow plenty of time for each coat to dry.

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