Superior Cedar Properties in a Glance:
- The heartwood ranges from a pinkish to dark chocolate brown when first cut, but weathers to silver gray.
- The wood has a natural oil that acts as a preservative, ideal for the outdoors
- Naturally resistant to fungal attack and insects
- Western red cedar is a lightwood, but it is more durable than many other commercial softwoods.
- Very durable wood easily worked with hand and machine tools and negligible blunting effect on cutters.
- Cedar is free of pitch and resin
- non-toxic, safe for all uses
All of our patio furniture products are made from natural Western Red Cedar with non-staining hardware. We choose to use Western Red Cedar over other types of wood. Western Red Cedar gives our patio furniture and gazebos strength, beauty and decay resistant to the elements & insects. Western Red Cedar requires no chemical treatment unless the wood is in direct contact with the ground, in which case a protective sealant will protect against moisture.
Stability: Cedar is lightweight, dimensionally stable, and naturally resistant to splitting, cupping, and warping. Cedar is easy to handle, and can be cut, shaped, and accepts screws easily. It remains flat and stays straight - cedar warps little to none compared to other woods. Which means Western Red Cedar resists the natural tendency to crack and check, as you might find in many other wood species.
Natural Wood Preservative: Cedar's natural preservative oil eliminates the need for further chemical treatments, unless the wood is in direct contact with the ground. Western Red Cedar fibers contain oils that act as natural preservatives to help the wood resist rot and decay making it excellent furniture material for moist or humid climates. Many folks prefer to allow their cedar furniture to "naturally age" outdoors without any finish at all. Over time the color will weather to a handsome silver-gray highlighted by darker streaks, and the grain of the wood will become slightly raised. Western Red Cedar is superior to White Cedar, as contains much more of the natural acidic tannins that help to preserve western red cedar. This means that Western Red Cedar lasts naturally longer. These properties also make Cedar a very popular material for hot tub, Jacuzzi and sauna areas.
Insect Repellant: There are a number of natural organic compounds – including thuja plicins –that give off that distinct cedar aroma that makes the wood highly unattractive to insects, moths and other pests.
Finishing: It's freedom from pitch and resin makes it an excellent base for protective coatings. The use of a quality finish can enhance both its good looks and its natural characteristics. Please see our Cedar Finishing Section for suggestions.
Native American Uses: Western Red Cedar has been called "the cornerstone of Northwest Coast aboriginal culture," and has great spiritual significance. Traditionally, Pacific Coastal Indians used all parts of the tree. They used the wood for dugout canoes, house planks, bentwood boxes, clothing, and many tools such as arrow shafts, masks, and paddles. The inner bark made rope, mats, nets, clothing, and baskets. The long arching branches were twisted into rope and baskets. Various parts of the cedar tree were also used for many medicinal cures.
"The Other Guys"
White Cedar vs Western Red Cedar: Although White Cedar possesses similar properties of western red cedar, (which makes them both the desired woods for outdoor use), it contains much less of the natural acidic tannins that help to preserve western red cedar. Therefore white cedar will not last quite as long as western red cedar unless properly finished.
A NATURAL ALTERNATIVE TO CHEMICALLY TREATED WOOD.
- pressure-treating DOES NOT claim to prevent UV damage from the sun, nor warping and splitting, due to shrinking and swelling caused by water, sun and air contact. Treated lumber distorts the look of finishes, many processes have a green tinge in the wood (some folks think this is mold or dirt - but this look is actually the finished product). Treated lumber is great for a deck or fence, but just doesn't finish well for furniture use. Cedar is naturally decay and insect resistant, so there is no need for it to be pressure treated with harmful chemicals. Because it is not pressure treated, there is no need to paint your gazebo to cover up the look of pressure treated wood.
We do not use Chinese Cedar or Fir, which looks similar, but not related to Western Red Cedar.
- Western Red Cedar is grown and milled in the Western US and Canada.
- Using Western Red Cedar keeps jobs locally in the mills and furniture manufacturing - supporting families and local communities.
Cherry, oak , other hardwoods, and softwoods are not normally recommended as exterior woods - they just don't hold up to the elements, but instead are used primarily used as interior wood projects and finish beautifully with an interior finish. These woods have problems with warping, cracking, and splitting problems. Insects can be a problem. The same can be said of pine and fir, these softwoods are used primarily as building materials, or as material for inexpensive interior furniture.