Cypress wood

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Forum topic by PatP posted 09-05-2009 01:41 AM 12407 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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43 posts in 3383 days

09-05-2009 01:41 AM

Can somebody give me some info on Cypress wood? I have a place near me here in Fl that has quite a bit of it. I’ve never worked with anything except project grade lumber from home improvement stores so I’d like to expand my skills. What should I look for and stay away from. Thanks everyone.

-- Pat>>> A Man Don't Learn a Lesson Unless It Costs Him Blood or Money!!!!!

13 replies so far

View Karson's profile


35134 posts in 4543 days

#1 posted 09-05-2009 01:47 AM

Cypress has a natural oil in the wood so it can be a pain glueing. you probably need to wipe down the parts to be glued with Lacquer thinner to remove the oils.

It’s a soft wood and a light wood. I’ve made a couple of benches with it and I didn’t finish them, I’m letting them age in the weather. one is about 4 years old now and the other is 3 years.

In my part of Delaware they were used mainly for shingles in the colonial times.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View SuperDave02's profile


141 posts in 3373 days

#2 posted 09-05-2009 03:47 AM

it is very soft, scratches and dents easily. But its cheap, thats why I use it a lot.

-- David South FLorida

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Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 4038 days

#3 posted 09-05-2009 04:38 AM

Cypress is also used in some flamenco guitars. It is typically used for the back and sides, and has a beautiful yellow color. I have one and it has held up now for more than 30 years.

-- Sam

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3451 days

#4 posted 09-05-2009 06:28 AM

About 50 years ago my Dad, Uncle and I (as a 11 year old so-called helper) built a cypress Pirogue and it is still in use today. I have also built cypress outdoor furniture that weathers nicely to a grey finish without requiring a finish. I also have a cypress headboard I built that was under water for 3 weeks during the Katrina flood in 2005. All I had to do was let it dry out to about a 12% moisture content and refinish it. My wilfe and I still use it in our house. Although it is a soft wood and will scratch easily…it is most certainly durable.

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3864 days

#5 posted 09-05-2009 06:47 AM

Isn’t Cypress known for it’s natural resistance to bugs and rot because of the oils? Just keep the parts bulky and expect it to get dinged up. The rustic look is ideal for this wood.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View bruc101's profile


1243 posts in 3684 days

#6 posted 09-12-2009 05:54 AM

I have worked a lot of Cypress over the years. I hand carve all our outdoor signs out of Cypress. My home was built in 1974 of solid Cypress, studs, floor joist, beams that run the complete length of my home, ceiling,more or less everything except the finished floors and cabinets. We consider Cypress to unstable a wood to build kitchen cabinets with especially raised panel doors. Two things that do not like Cypress…water and bugs. My house has never had an exterminator in it and only on occasion do we see a bug crawling across the floor. I have no rot anywhere and it’s never had any kind of finish applied to it. I also build wood counter tops with Cypress, play with it a little and you would be surprised how you can stain or dye it and make the grain pop in your face and put a smile on your face.


-- Bruce Free Plans

View ShawnH's profile


90 posts in 4218 days

#7 posted 09-12-2009 06:09 AM

I am just finishing my first Adirondack chair using left over cypress fence boards. Does anyone know if it is safe to burn in a campfire and possibly roast smores over? I have several fence boards left that are so warped they can’t be used for much, but a I can’t bring myself to throw them out.

-- ShawnH "In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson

View bruc101's profile


1243 posts in 3684 days

#8 posted 09-12-2009 06:58 AM

Never roasted anything over it but sometimes I bring some of the scraps in and throw them in the wood stove and burns ok and not seemed to have poisoned anyone of our neighbors.


-- Bruce Free Plans

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3875 days

#9 posted 09-13-2009 11:06 PM

I seem to recall reading/hearing that the bug/rot resistant portion of cypress is either the sapwood or the heartwood – that the other isn’t nearly as resistant. Now if I could only recall which it was – the sapwood or the heartwood. I must have killed too many brain cells when I was younger – I now have CRS syndroms (Can’t Remember S*#&)!


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View BeeJay's profile


71 posts in 3330 days

#10 posted 09-14-2009 03:18 AM

Cypress reportedly has a natural resistance to termites etc. I find it very difficult to work due to its instability and high oil content. The tendancy to split and tear is not an attraction to me either. It has to be very very dry before it is really useable. Can be used when laying plies etc as the process helps to stabilise it. Not one of my favourites.

-- If you try to fail and succeed, what have you done?

View dpjeansonne's profile


72 posts in 3356 days

#11 posted 09-14-2009 04:12 PM

I use cypress in all my outdoor / patio furniture projects. Most people love the color or appearance of the wood. It does age to a dull gray if left unfinished and some people want that. A water sealer will do just fine at keeping the color almost natural. For indoor projetcs it is sensitive to moisture and will expand and contract all the time. You must allow for such movement.
It is a relatively soft wood that is a pleasure to work with.

-- Cajun Don, Louisiana

View FrankLad's profile


273 posts in 3452 days

#12 posted 09-14-2009 04:51 PM

Most of our home is made of cypress (timbers, plank flooring, T&G on walls, exterior siding). It is easy to work, and does have a natural resistance to bugs and decay.

I didn’t put any finish or sealer on our exterior lapped cypress siding… just used a vineger + steel wool mix to speed up the greying of the wood for a weathered look.

Some of the leftover timber blocks have been laying outside on the ground for a few years now, and are still in good shape.

However, I have noticed termites in a couple of pieces that I flipped over. Perhaps due to the constant contact with the ground over the years (maybe the cypressine oil is able to leach out / the wood becomes less resistive). Or, and more likely, it is mostly sapwood. ((Even old growth pine had some degree of termite resistance, so I would imagine heart cypress is especially resistant.))

As far as looks, it’s tough to distinguish it from pine in my opinion.

-- Frank, Mississippi, Original Bentwood Rings -

View DonnBialik's profile


45 posts in 3111 days

#13 posted 04-16-2011 07:06 AM

Cypress is an awesome wood to work and can be quite attractive. It’s a softwood so design your piece accordingly.

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