Cedar from the big box stores

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Forum topic by interpim posted 11-30-2009 07:37 AM 1333 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1170 posts in 3633 days

11-30-2009 07:37 AM

I have a question about the cedar fence posts you can buy at your borg’s…

Can those be used for turning? I was thinking of grabbing a cheap 4×4 or 6×6 and cutting it down to create my own blanks for small bowls or vases.

Has anyone done this? and if you recommend not doing it why?

-- San Diego, CA

5 replies so far

View gbvinc's profile


628 posts in 4121 days

#1 posted 11-30-2009 04:12 PM

Sure! As long as it isn’t treated wood, and it has the look you want, go for it.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3460 days

#2 posted 11-30-2009 11:03 PM

I’m sure they could be used. They typically are not dried well, so take that into account. Even so, it should still work. People turn wet wood all the time.


View Llarian's profile


128 posts in 3781 days

#3 posted 11-30-2009 11:10 PM

I’ve resawed them for planters the such. You really have to dig to find ones that’re decent quality, but I don’t see why they couldn’t be turned. I have some 4×4 leftover that I’ll have to try that on this weekend maybe.

They’re very green (made wet mush instead of sawdust), but if you like turning green that’s no big deal.

-- Dylan Vanderhoof - General hobbiest and reluctant penmaker.

View bruc101's profile


1255 posts in 3716 days

#4 posted 12-01-2009 01:24 AM

I’ve turned many a table leg out of cedar post from the big boxes…about to get out of my price range now though.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View LesB's profile


1838 posts in 3617 days

#5 posted 12-02-2009 09:03 AM

Cedar fence posts is a bit soft for good turning and as already mentioned usually not dry. Fence post grade cedar could be from either Western Red Cedar or Incense Cedar. The latter is particularly soft and often referred to as “pencil wood” because it is literally used to make pencils. They are often sold just as “red cedar” with out distinction.
You will need sharp tools and good technique to get a smooth finish and the softness may make it difficult to mount securly. If you try to sand it to a good finish you will end up with a wavy surface because the soft growth rings will sand out faster than the hard ones.
Check local tree service business in your area for suitable hard wood from trees they remove or trim. You can get some great “free” or inexpensive chunks from them.
Regarding “wet” wood. Look up microwave drying techniques to speed things up.

-- Les B, Oregon

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