Cedar (Southern White) Softwood

Cedar (Southern White)

Southern White Cedar is an ideal timber for a variety of uses, with its light brown heartwood often tinged with pink or red, and its thin whitish sapwood. It has a distinct cedar scent, and a slightly bitter, spicy taste. The grain is even and straight, and the wood is typically of a fine texture. It is an excellent choice for shingles, cladding, fencing, and much more. It is a sustainable and legal source of timber, and is known by its botanical name Chamaecyparis thyoides (Cupressaceae). This timber is truly a versatile choice for your woodworking projects, with its distinct scent and characteristic grain.

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Also Called:
Atlantic White Cedar, False Cypress, White Cedar, Chilopsis

Durability Notes:
Cedar (Southern white) wood is a durable timber.

The drying and seasoning of Cedar (Southern White) is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Cedar (Southern White) - dries readily with little impact on the grade and quality of the wood, but care is needed with thicker timber sections to avoid defects such as internal honeycombing and collapse. Cedar is dimensionally stable in service. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Southern White Cedar is a soft wood, which is weak with low stiffness and a medium resistance to shock loads. Crushing and bending strength also rate as medium but its steam-bending classification is poor. The wood works nicely. Cedar has only a minimal blunting effect on tool blades and it holds screws and nails well. Southern White Cedar finishes well.

Typical Uses:
Fencing, Decking, Siding, Shingles, Outdoor Furniture, Gazebos, Arbors, Planters, Trellises.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about Southern White Cedar Wood

Is Cedar a hardwood or a softwood? Cedar is a softwood. It is the same for; is Southern White Cedar hardwood or softwood? - Southern White Cedar is a softwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Cedar family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is Southern White Cedar? Southern White Cedar can be described as light brown, white/cream (very light brown)

Is Southern White Cedar good for outdoor use? or is Southern White Cedar good for exterior use? Southern White Cedar is most suited for exterior/external use. Southern White Cedar can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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