Western Red Cedar - best uses?

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Forum topic by Elizabeth posted 12-09-2011 12:05 AM 2969 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3173 days

12-09-2011 12:05 AM

I’ve got an opportunity to buy some western red cedar offcuts from a milling company. They’re 2 feet long, 6 inches wide and about 7/8 of an inch thick; I’m assuming somewhat rough cut. They’re selling them in lots of 100 pieces for $20. I’ve decided to get one lot this weekend as it could be useful for practicing scroll sawing work and maybe trying to make a couple of pens from one, but now I’m wondering if by only getting one lot (storage issues aside) I may be passing up good wood for a use I haven’t thought of yet.

So I’m posing the question – what kinds of projects is Western Red Cedar good for? Is it an all-purpose sort of thing, where I will never NOT want to use it? Or are there certain applications when it really wouldn’t be a good choice?

9 replies so far

View ryansworkshop's profile


35 posts in 2396 days

#1 posted 12-09-2011 12:47 AM

They would make for some good small outdoor projects based on the size.

-- A small shop has it's pro's and con's. Never big enough, but easy to clean.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18293 posts in 3705 days

#2 posted 12-09-2011 05:04 AM

NW Indian boxes

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View a1Jim's profile


117128 posts in 3606 days

#3 posted 12-09-2011 05:13 AM

I agree with the out door use like planters, benches ,potting tables ect . I use lots of western red ceder when I build decks.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2722 days

#4 posted 12-10-2011 04:55 AM

It’s easy to work with and does hold up well as a1Jim mentioned. Here’s a project that I used some leftover western red cedar to make. Hope it gives you some more ideas.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2658 posts in 2951 days

#5 posted 12-10-2011 05:37 PM

I have used western cedar to make small coin banks. 8” tall.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3173 days

#6 posted 12-11-2011 01:02 AM

Thanks guys! I got the wood today, and it’ll take a while to dry out but there are some gorgeous pieces in there. Also some firewood and some ants. Hopefully all of the ants have now been ejected outside the shop.

Here’s a pic of about 3/4 of the load, stickered under the table saw for drying:

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2880 days

#7 posted 12-11-2011 03:12 AM

Western red cedar is wonderful outdoors, where it ages naturally to a beautiful silver color. Though initially the wood will be of several shades from nearly yellow-white to rusty red, it will all age to about the same silver-gray.

The grain is very understated.

It does not hold fasteners very well. It is soft and dents easily.

It machines well and rarely tears out.

Don’t let the knots fool you. As soft as the rest of the board is, the knots are harder than a train robber’s heart.

Yellow glue works but I am thinking that PU might be a better choice, judiciously used.

Congrats on your score. I think that’s a great haul for a coupla tens.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2684 days

#8 posted 12-12-2011 06:31 AM

Great wood for making outdoor signs.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View shopdog's profile


577 posts in 3515 days

#9 posted 12-12-2011 01:56 PM

That’s a good stash for $20.
Cedar is pretty soft, so I’m not sure about making pens…although it works for pencils.
I agree about planters…I’ve made lots of cedar plant boxes.
It scrolls very easily, but little pieces will be easily broken off fretwork, or puzzles.
Yesterday, I made a corner cabinet for my bathroom using scrap 1×6 WRC. Easy to work with, and smells good in the shop.

-- Steve--

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