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Cedar, Spanish

Heartwood is pale pinkish brown when first cut, becoming red or dark reddish brown. Sapwood pale pinkish beige. Grain is straight, sometimes shallowly interlocked with a moderately coarse texture.

Thicknesses

Subject to availability

4/4
5/4
6/4
7/4
8/4
9/4
10/4
12/4
16/4
20/4
1/2"
3/4"
1"

Distribution

Native to Central and South America and the Caribbean; also grown on plantations

Scientific Name

Cedrela odorata

Specific Gravity: Basic 12% MC

0.38

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.47

Janka Hardness

600 lbf (2,670 N)

Colour/Appearance

Heartwood is a relatively uniform  light pinkish to reddish brown; colours tend to darken with age. Random pockets of gum and natural oils are commonly present. Grain patterning and figure tends to be somewhat bland.

Grain/Texture

Grain is straight or shallowly interlocked. Medium texture and moderate natural luster.

Endgrain

Can range from ring-porous to diffuse-porous; medium-large earlywood pores, small-medium latewood pores; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; mineral deposits (red gum) occasionally present; growth rings distinct due to terminal parenchyma in diffuse-porous samples, or lines of larger pores in ring-porous samples; rays usually visible without lens; parenchyma banded (terminal), apotracheal parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates, paratracheal parenchyma vasicentric.

Rot Resistance

Spanish Cedar ranges from durable to moderately durable regarding decay resistance, and is also resistant to termite attack; the wood is also reported to have excellent weathering characteristics. Older, slower-growing trees from the wild tend to produce wood that is more durable than wood from younger, plantation-grown trees.

Workability

Spanish Cedar is easy to work with both hand and machine tools. However, due to its low density and softness, Spanish Cedar tends to leave fuzzy surfaces if not machined with sharp cutters; extra sanding up to finer grits may be required to obtain a smooth wood surface. Also, natural gum pockets can remain wet and may ooze out onto the surrounding surface, which can clog and gum up saw blades, and make finishing the wood a challenge.

Odor

Has a distinct, lingering, cedar-like scent; this characteristic of the wood makes it a favorite for cigar boxes.

Allergies/Toxicity

Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Spanish Cedar wood dust has been reported as a respiratory irritant. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability

Generally in adequate availability, Spanish Cedar is sometimes sold in thinner 1/4″ lumber for use in liners and other small craft projects. Spanish Cedar should be in the low to moderate price range for imported lumber.

Sustainability

This wood species is in CITES Appendix III, and is on the IUCN Red List. It is listed as vulnerable due to a population reduction of over 20% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation.
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