Cedar wood is generally light, easy to work with, has reddish tones and has a characteristic fragrance. These are general characteristics of the species, however, we must consider that under the name of cedar it refers to several subspecies, each one with its particularities.

Depending on the species, this tree can measure between 50 and 20 meters in height, and some specimens are more than 2,000 years old.

Cedar species

There are several species of cedar, each with its own characteristics and peculiarities. Some would be: Atlas cedar, Cyprus cedar, Lebanon cedar or Himalayan cedar.

From a logging and commercial point of view, American cedar stands out (Cedrela odorata), whose characteristics are described below. It is typical of southern North America, Central America and northern South America.

It is found in Appendix III of the CITES Convention, therefore its trade is controlled due to overexploitation.

Note: It is common to find some species that are called by the name of cedar and, although they are not strictly, they have many similar characteristics. For example, Pacific red cedar, also Canadian cedar, whose scientific name is Thuya plicata, belongs to the genus Thuja and not to Cedrela or Cedrus, to which the cedars belong.

Features of cedar wood

Color: The color varies from light pink to yellow in the sapwood. And from yellow to reddish brown at the heart.

Odor: They present characteristic aromas. They are due to the resin emanating from its interior.

Fiber: Straight, occasionally interlaced.

Grain: Medium.

Density: It is light, weighing between 490-520 kg / m3 at 12% humidity.

Toughness: This is a soft wood with 2 in the Monnin test.

Durability: Cedar wood is naturally resistant to fungi and insects, so it is classified as durable. It is due, as with the smell, to the resin. It is suitable for outdoor use.

Dimensional stability: It is a stable wood.

  • Volumetric shrinkage coefficient: 0.34% somewhat edgy wood.

Mechanical properties:

  • Compressive strength: 415 kg / cmtwo
  • Static flexural strength: 753 kg / cmtwo
  • Modulus of elasticity: 90,000 kg / cmtwo

Workability: It is generally easy to work with both hand and mechanical tools.

  • Sawn. Easy.
  • Drying. Slow. Low probability of deformations. High risk of resin exudation.
  • Brushed. Easy. Some repellency problem when there is an interlaced fiber.
  • Glued. No problem, unless resin appears.
  • Nailed and screwed. Easy.
  • Finish. No problems, except those derived from the resin aspect.

Price: Moderate.

Uses of cedar

  • Manufacture of quality furniture, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Interior carpentry: doors, frames, baseboards …
  • Natural wood veneers.
  • Construction of houses. It is one of the most used woods in North America for this purpose.
  • Musical instruments.
  • Crafts: cigar boxes, toys …
  • Manufacture of boats.
  • Manufacture of coffins. Cedar resin was even used for embalming.
  • The use of this tree is not limited to registration. It is also used as an air freshener, infusions, incense, in traditional medicine …

Cedar and its outdoor use

One of the great virtues of cedar wood is its excellent outdoor behavior. It is used both for the manufacture of structures and for outdoor furniture. It is very popular for these uses, not because it is the best option, but because of the high quality / price ratio.

There are better woods and there are also cheaper ones. But we will hardly find a better option for exteriors at the price of cedar wood.