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Cedar, Aromatic

Common Name(s): Aromatic Red Cedar, Eastern Redcedar Although Aromatic Red Cedar is included in the cypress family (Cupressaceae) which includes many species of cedar, it’s perhaps more closely related in junipers in the genus Juniperus. In tree form, it is more commonly called Eastern Redcedar, while the wood itself is usually referred to as Aromatic Red Cedar.


Though Eastern Red Cedar trees are widely distributed throughout the eastern half of the United States, it is a very slow-growing species, and most trees harvested tend to be fairly small in diameter. Because of this, Aromatic Red Cedar boards tend to be knotty and narrow.

Distribution

Eastern North America

Scientific Name

Juniperus virginiana

Specific Gravity: Basic 

0.44

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.53

Janka Hardness

900 lbf (4,000 N)

Colour/Appearance

Heartwood tends to be a reddish or violet-brown. Sapwood is a pale yellow colour, and can appear throughout the heartwood as streaks and stripes.

Grain/Texture

Has a straight grain, usually with knots present. Has a very fine even texture.

Endgrain

Resin canals absent; earlywood to latewood transition gradual, grain moderately uneven to moderately even; tracheid diameter small to very small; zonate parenchyma (double ring).

Rot Resistance

Regarded as excellent in resistance to both decay and insect attack, Aromatic Red Cedar is frequently used for fence posts used in direct ground contact with no pre-treating of the wood.

Workability

Overall, Aromatic Red Cedar is easy to work, notwithstanding any knots or irregularities present in the wood. It reportedly has a high silica content, which can dull cutters. Aromatic Red Cedar glues and finishes well, though in many applications, the wood is left unfinished to preserve its aromatic properties.

Odor

Aromatic Red Cedar has a distinct and tell-tale scent: the wood is commonly used in closets and chests to repel moths and other insects.

Allergies/Toxicity

Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Aromatic Red Cedar has been reported to cause skin and respiratory irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability

Large and/or clear sections of Aromatic Red Cedar are much less common, but smaller, narrower boards with knots present are readily available at a modest price.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.
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