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What to expect: Western Red Cedar fence

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Forum topic by Doss posted 826 days ago 5762 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Doss

779 posts in 896 days


826 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: horizontal slat fence modern western red cedar cedar shrinkage

So, I’ve decided to use Western red cedar for my fence (horizontal slat fence with main posts at 10’ and supplemental posts at 5’ between the 10’s… midpoint).

I do have a question though. Since the Western red cedar I’m using is quoted as being green, should I be expected any loss in length for the boards (3/4” x 6” x 10’)? I ask b/c I know pine does tend to move a lot but the WRC should be fairly stable even while drying out.

Which brings up another question, should I use a butt-joint to put the boards end-to-end or a mitered joint (similar to baseboards or crown)?

If the boards shrink slightly in length, that could be a big deal where the boards join.

Here’s a rough example of the fence type I’m building:

Image from ApartmentTherapy.com

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss


9 replies so far

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1098 posts in 1108 days


#1 posted 826 days ago

Wood shrinks minimally longitudinally (along the length). Shrinkage is across the length from the outside to the inside of the tree. Plus, western red cedar shrinks less than most species. The miter joint will hide any minimal shrinkage in length, if any occurs.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

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RussellAP

2950 posts in 918 days


#2 posted 826 days ago

That’s a nice looking fence. I always wanted one, but I’d like it to be 10 ft high so I can block my next door neighbors who are very rude people. Unfortunately I’d have to have a variance to install it.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)

bondogaposis

2490 posts in 983 days


#3 posted 826 days ago

Wood doesn’t shrink longitudinally, I wouldn’t worry about that. I would worry more about the posts shrinking in width and maybe messing w/ the joints.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Doss

779 posts in 896 days


#4 posted 825 days ago

Yeah, that’s more along the lines of what I already knew. I’ve just seen lots of PT pine fences come apart due to poor construction or fasteners and that made me want to check just to be sure. Essentially, we’re talking about a green wood (I wouldn’t even worry a bit if it were kiln-dried). The problem I was having was even if the longitudinal shrinking were minimal percentage-wise (what many of us would consider “no shrinkage”), over a 10 ft run of fence a 1/4” of shrinking will lead to a visible gap at the joints.

And yes, I am worried about the movement of the pine posts. Anyone have any ideas on how to reduce the chances of them moving? Thanks for confirming my worry was somewhat of a non-issue.

Russell, I am a modern fanatic and this fence will go just fine with my 1950’s house (though it is not truly mid-century mod in design).

Here’s what I’m trying to match (yes this is my house and the wood is KD cedar (no movement)):
http://www.southernsprout.com/tour/front-yard/

And here is the backyard construction zone:
http://www.southernsprout.com/inspiration/backyard-project-the-fence/

Thanks y’all!

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

706 posts in 1590 days


#5 posted 825 days ago

The shrinkage in length will be extremely minimal, nothing to worry about really; but if you’re worrying it anyway, you could predrill the screw holes (or nailholes, however you attach them) bigger than the screw, allowing for a bit of movement.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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Doss

779 posts in 896 days


#6 posted 825 days ago

Thanks Nomad, samples come in tomorrow and if the amount of small knots are acceptable to me, I’ll place my order for WRC.

The price jump up to clear (select) wood is brutal… effectively doubling the price. I think I can live with small tight knots with a dark colored stain.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View david_larch's profile

david_larch

97 posts in 934 days


#7 posted 825 days ago

Doss,
Glad to know there is another modern / mid-century nut on the boards. I have a late 50’s Mid Century money pit in SoCal. Look forward to seeing your fence. I am looking to do something similar to your carport solution in the near future. Awesome job, great to see. Thanks for sharing.

-- www.alibiwoodworks.com

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Doss

779 posts in 896 days


#8 posted 824 days ago

Thanks David.

Pretty much everything I do is mid-century mod, Danish/Scan, or, at the very least, contemporary in design. I don’t know if you know this, but my taste is nowhere near the ordinary around here (the South).

I envy you being in SoCal. I stayed in Palm Springs for a week and then San Diego and finally Los Angeles and I caught myself trying to figure out shipping charges for all the stuff I was finding. FYI, don’t think shipping on dining tables, couches, and credenzas is low… it’s not. LOL

I’ll be sure to post up the results and also a follow-along as I put the fence up.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View frisco981's profile

frisco981

2 posts in 415 days


#9 posted 413 days ago

love the fence above.

I wanted to point out the website linked above (southernsprout.com) has a ton of viruses on it.

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