Help with some cedar logs...

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Forum topic by FaTToaD posted 07-20-2010 10:53 PM 2494 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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393 posts in 2565 days

07-20-2010 10:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question cedar log storage

A buddy of mine’s father has several cedar trees he has cut down and said I could have a few if I want. Since I happened to be driving out to Arkansas this week and also happen to have 20 ft trailer with me, I figured I swing by a pick up a few.

He said they are 10 foot long sections, around 15 inches or little more in diameter. Now, I currently can’t do much with them since I don’t have real band saw or a planer, but I plan to someday, hopefully soon, so I need to know what I need to do to store them properly. I’m not sure how long they’ve been down, he said a couple were “dry”, but that’s about all I know.

I’m still really new to woodworking and have only dealt with dimensional lumber. I have a place out back that I can store them, it’s in the shade for most of the day. I’ve seen several people on here talk about sealing the ends with paint, wax, or whatever. They’ll be coming from the high humidity of Arkansas, to miserably dry and hot California desert, any LumberJocks out there that can give me some advice on how to handle this, or any good resources on the matter? I’ll sure appreciate any help. Thanks.

-- David

7 replies so far

View swirt's profile


2107 posts in 2395 days

#1 posted 07-21-2010 05:26 AM

I’ve used cedars that have been sitting on the forest floor for decades (you can see it in some of my projects). It is amazing wood. Strip off the bark and seal the ends to avoid major checking, then let them sit. As long as they are not sitting in contact with damp earth, they will be fine for a long time. (even stripping off the bark may not be as necessary as it is on other wood.

-- Galootish log blog,

View vicrider's profile


179 posts in 2322 days

#2 posted 07-21-2010 06:22 AM

You’re very lucky to have that friend… I would ask around for a local sawyer with a portable sawmill. you might be able to trade out some of the lumber for the mill work.

Have it all cut into 8/4, it’s cedar and can be re-sawn easily. Sticker the lumber in the shade and put a tarp and some weight on it. Paint the ends with latex (it’ll take several coats). Use a cheap brush, when you’ve done a coat, wrap the brush in plastic wrap and throw it in the freezer. Thaw it out for the next coat. You’ll be amazed how long it lasts.

The object is to have the cedar dry at the ends at the same rate as the middle. Re-coat the latex if you see checking on the ends. You shouldn’t have any mold in your climate, but throw the tarp off every few weeks and check for it.

done right, you’ll have lots of very nice cedar to use within a few months.

Say, it’s not Eastern aromatic cedar is it? That would be an incredible find. Makes great box liners.

-- vicrider

View scrappy's profile


3506 posts in 2854 days

#3 posted 07-21-2010 07:41 AM

You could drop off a log in Pheonix,Az on your way through if you want. haha

I would cut some of it into turning blanks. (OK maybe ALL of it)


P.S. What part of Arkansas? I spent some time in Sidney. North of Batesville a few years back. 1984 to 1989

-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View wseand's profile


2754 posts in 2465 days

#4 posted 07-21-2010 09:45 AM

Drop down to the Highway 10 on the way back, when you get to Las Cruces hang a left, I will be waiting on the hill. Really a great find enjoy it. I live in the high desert, I throw a coat of TWP500 and than a coat of paint. Works pretty good for me.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

View Knothead62's profile


2581 posts in 2384 days

#5 posted 07-21-2010 07:18 PM

View saw4fun's profile


174 posts in 2763 days

#6 posted 07-22-2010 11:29 AM

If it is Aromatic Cedar it will retain good lumber for many years to come in the log form. Contrary to the following story, Swirt’s suggestion to keep them off the ground Is a very good idea. I have cut many thousand square feet of cedar but the log that amazed me the most came from my neighbors place. When I went to pick it up it was laying in the dirt where he said he had unloaded it 30 years prior. With that many years of foliage piling around it most of the outer white sapwood had rotted away so the log was very ugly and looked useless. Out of curiosity I sat it on the mill and to my delighted surprise found perfectly beautiful and solid red lumber inside. I ended up getting 150+/- board feet of amazing lumber out of the ugly old mud ball. And that was the day I learned to not always judge the book by its cover!!

View swirt's profile


2107 posts in 2395 days

#7 posted 07-22-2010 05:56 PM

Saw4fun I have found cedar logs like that in the woods. They’ve been sitting their so long that the sap wood has all rotted away and what remains is the heart. It is amazing.

The small red cedars I deal with (8” or less in diameter) are often in great shape because they are kept off the ground by their own branches. It is like natures own lumber drying system.

-- Galootish log blog,

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