Eastern Cedar Question

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SkintKnuckle

New User
Martin
I've been thinking about building a cedar chest for my next project. Can anyone comment on how eastern cedar works? Also, looking at the websites, generally the moisture content in cedar seems to run higher than in many of the hardwoods, what should the MC be at before I begin. I do have access to a MC meter.

Thanks ahead for any comments.
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
E. Red Cedar is a very dry wood. I have heard that it is one that you can work with right off the mill. Could be a good old boys tale, I don't know. I have done a bit with it and find it very stable, but easy to chip out and dent. Your shop will smell wonderful after working with it, and you'll have red dust everywhere. I would guess that you would want the MC between 16% and 8%, like most other woods.
Dave:)
 
J

jeff...

I really don't know much about cedar. But I can tell you the last time I was around it (a few weeks ago) my eyes started watering and burned like fire. I had cut off a ~ 1/4" from a 4/4 post and brought it into my office, because I love the smell. Not more than 15 mins later, I had the reaction. After a few hours I finally figured out it was the cedar, I took it out of my office and my reation cleared up in a matter of mins... Could have been a fluke too, I don't know but will watch myself next time I'm around it and see if I have the same reaction. 8-O
 

rbdoby

New User
Rick
E. Red Cedar is pretty dry and easy to work. Dents and chips out easy. Back it up with a piece of scrap when using a router to control chipout. It's soft like pine so be careful when attaching hardware. It carves easily and smells great.
 

Sweetgum

New User
Brad Keisler
ERC is a beautiful wood, where sapwood can and sometimes does intermingle with heartwood (picture a sliced red velvet cake--haha).

I can be and usually is rather knotty, and those knots will and do fall out when planing/jointing, so be careful. The red coloration will turn a chestnut brown if exposed to direct sunlight, FYI.
 

WoodWrangler

New User
Jeremy
I've built several outdoor projects with ERC and Western Red Cedar. I have to say that the WRC is much nicer to work with (in my opinion) and the ERC seems more "hollow" and dry. They both smell great.

I would recommend using Aromatic Cedar though if you are doing the inside of a chest. It is nicer looking, stronger smelling, and easy to work with.
 

cpowell

Chuck
Corporate Member
I am not sure about Eastern cedar...is that aromatic red cedar? If so, I found some at a great price from a local sawmill a while back. It was AD and had been drying outdoors for a year. I began using it immediately.

I like the way it smells and used it for drawer stock on my first dresser/nightstand. It had quite a few knots, which I saw as character. The knots sometimes don't play very well with the jointer/planer...and the jointer/planer always wins! :lol: :lol:

I've built some outside projects using western cedar and it is significantly easier to work with but the stuff I used didn't have the beautiful colors/grain of the aromatic cedar.
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
IIRC, Juniperus virginia is Eastern Red Cedar also known as Aromatic Cedar used a lining for chest and closets to keep moths away. Western Red Cedar - Thuja plicata is actually an Arborvitae, and then there is Spanish Cedar - Cedrela odorata that is commonly used for the linings of humidors. Eastern Red Cedar is the only one native to these parts and is known by a very characteristic red color. The others are more tan-brown color with Spanish Cedar being a little more to the red side of that range.
Dave:)
 

mkepke

Mark
Senior User
In a desparate and vain attempt to catch up on DaveO's post count, I will add that Eastern White Cedar (Thuja Occ.) is also native, but localized to the mountains.

Interesting that all the native "cedars" aren't cedar at all !

-Mark
 

Handturnedbowls

New User
James Holland
I recently aquired some cedar. Its aromatic cedar I know, but not sure if this is the same thing as eastern. I did notice there can be spots in it that are very soft almost like sponge. But if you buy it this will not be present.

I do recommend you take care around knots. They dont seem to behave like the wood surrounding them. I know the knot takes longer to dry than the clear wood, and sometimes the knot will reveal cracks and checks long after you have finished the piece.

Not saying this will happen, but just be aware of it.

I finished a vase from A. Cedar a few weeks ago, heres a pic.



I was amazed at how beautiful the grain pattern was as it revealed itself during turning. Notice the big knot. This knot actually developed a hairline crack after I had finished it.

cad
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
Cad, that is a beautiful Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) vase. I love the color of that wood. What did you finish it with?
Dave:)
 

Handturnedbowls

New User
James Holland
Thanks D L, glad to have the time to be back.

I have been inundated with work. I have been 4 times as busy since I have been unemployed, than I was when I worked full time for someone else.

Some of this time I have been making items like this for an upcoming exhibit I will have at a museum.

cad
 

Handturnedbowls

New User
James Holland
You got that right, Matt.

But instead of fighting the cracking I know will occur, I incorporate it in my bowls from cedar.

When I have a finished shape, I sand down smooth to 320, then keep using the fillied strip of sanding cloth as a strope to induce as many cracks as I can without disturbing the integrity of the wall.

Then I fill each crack with CA glue, let it get hard, sand it smooth with light pressure, and begin my laquer/poly coats.

It adds a very interesting effect to the bowl.

cad
 
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