Drying Eastern Red Cedar

      Eastern Red Cedar dries readily with simple air drying, and behaves well when exposed to variations in ambient humidity. April 20, 2011

Dr. Wengert - does kiln drying aromatic red cedar take away its smell? If aromatic red cedar is just air dried how would you guard against the chance of bugs without using heat?

(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Aromatic cedar (eastern red cedar and Juniperus virginiana) will have much of the aroma evaporated as the drying temperature is elevated. A room heated to 80 F is often used. Insects (if any, as they are not common) in the green wood will not be active in dry wood. Dry wood insects are very rare.

From contributor X:
There's various oil products made from ERC oil (cedrol) which can be applied to KD wood to get the aroma back. You can also buy pure cedrol itself.

From contributor A:
ERC dries so easily and without defects I almost never put it in the kiln. When I do the heat is kept low and it is not in there very long. When too dry it chips and cracks so easily. Since the wood is so stable and does not move much I often use it just air dried and it will reach that point here in just three weeks most of the time. Right now it is only taking three days.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
ERC is a low shrinking wood and like most softwoods will machine and perform best if dried no lower than 10% MC. A good range is 10 to 12% MC even for furniture, paneling and cabinets. Never go under 9.0% MC. 9.5% MC is even better for the driest. I have seen a lot of cedar dried at 80 F. Note that cedar that is used as paneling and that has lost its aroma after a while can often be restored by sanding or by applying the oil mentioned above.

From contributor A:
Unless you live in someplace like AZ you will find that ERC is better in the 12 to 16% MC for working with. It changes very fast to its environment but moves so little doing it. I work with a lot of cedar and do everything from siding, flooring to furniture and urns and have no problems with the wood just being air dried down to that range. I have a kiln but all it does is make the wood brittle and not smell as good.

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