The Tree and Forest
Western Red Cedar grows along the pacific coast from Northern California to southwest Alaska. The tree grows up to 60M in height and 2.4M diameter. British Columbia has an estimated standing volume of 750 million cubic M, over 50 million cubic M is in parks or protected areas.
Less than 1% of British Columbia’s growing stock is harvested each year. The amounts harvested each year must be within the Annual Allowable Cut, the volume of timber that the Chief Forester determines can be sustainably harvested is regulated. After logging areas must be reforested with mixed species. Variable retention is a system which requires leaving the forest structure intact, groups of trees are often left un harvested. About 8 million seedlings are planted in British Columbia alone.
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Physical properties of Western Red Cedar Timber
Sapwood is white with a slight yellow tinge. The sapwood width is typically 22mm thick
Heartwood is variable in colour ranging from light straw, pinkish brown to dark brown.
Western Red Cedar is very light in weight
Kiln dried : 330 to 340kg/m3 (6-8%)
Air dried : 370 to 385kg/m3 (12% moisture)
Green : 430 to 535kg/m3
Western Red Cedar has excellent dimensional stability which means it shrinks and swells minimally in service due to changes in humidity. Western Red Cedar also resists absorption of moisture – in a test dried timber at 6-10% moisture content was left covered outside for one year and found to have a moisture content of 9-11% which then remained constant.
Coefficient of thermal conductivity (k): 0.11 W/m/degC @ 12% moisture content
Charing rate: 0.8mm/min
Flame spreading rate: 67-73 (class 11 rating)
Smoke developed rating: 98
Fixing and drying
Western Red Cedar reacts with ferrous materials and should therefore be fixed with stainless steel or hot dipped galvanised fixings.
The timber should be dried to match the service conditions, internal applications should be kiln dried to 6-8%
Western Red Cedar heartwood is naturally durable when left untreated and is in the highest durability category of any softwood listed in the European standard. . 60 year service life untreated can be expected.
Treatment is only necessary if the weathered silver grey colour is not desired.
Western Red Cedar is a sustainable resource which is particularly suitable for architectural timber cladding and decking. The attractive rich colours and grain, durability and physical properties make it the first choice for window blinds, saunas, panelling, wood cladding and mouldings.
Western Red Cedar will quickly weather to a silver grey colour. If this is not desired then treat with a Alkyd resin based stain.