Machining Green Western Red Cedar

Wet wood fibers do not machine cleanly. February 17, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
I have started machining green western red cedar and we are struggling with raised grain especially when running Tongue and V-Grooved boards. What is the best way to achieve a good quality finish without having to kiln dry? The grain is very raised along the V and this also tends to vary from board to board. We also tend to find that green cedar sticks on the moulder bed - any thoughts?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From Contributor R:
If you can't kiln dry the cedar, air dry for a couple of weeks or longer if time allows. Most, if not all of your problems will go away.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
The wet fibers have very little strength so they get pushed over rather than cut. You can do a little better with a very sharp HSS knife that is very slender (rake angle is large). Small cuts (slow speed, shallow cuts) will be worse as it is easier to push few fibers over compared to a bunch. Note that sanding without drying will really fuzz. Although a little air drying will help the surface fibers, the wood underneath will still be quite wet, so deep cuts will not be affected much at all. The more drying you do the better.

From Dave Rankin, forum technical advisor:
The sharper the knife the better and using shear heads will help reduce the finish issue. I agree with the other post - if you can dry the wood the better results you will see.