Yellow Cedar Characteristics

      Not a true Cedar, Yellow Cedar grows mainly on the northern Pacific coast of North America. Here is some info about its useful properties. April 2, 2013

Does anyone have experience using Canadian yellow cedar for windows?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor M:
Speaking as a Canadian, we generally see either western red or eastern white. Yellow cedar sounds like it might be eastern white. Is it kiln dried? Generally, western red is a premium product; very stable and weather-resistant. Eastern white is a poorer grade, less weather-resistant and less stable. I would not use eastern white for windows.

From the original questioner:
We are supplying millwork for a very large residence in Texas. The owner, a Canadian, suggested this material. We have used Honduras mahogany for many years, but that supply is getting questionable - higher prices for lower quality. Accoya seems to be the most promising new material for exterior millwork. The western cedar you mentioned is very interesting.

From contributor P:
I can vouch for yellow cedar being a delight to work with. Itís smooth, stable, and easy cutting. It planes and shapes beautifully. I have never personally built windows with it but I have also read that it's very well suited for that.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Yellow cedar is not a true cedar, it is also often confusingly called "Nootka Cedar", "Yellow Cedar", "Alaska Cedar", and "Alaska Yellow Cedar". It has a slightly unpleasant odor when first sawn, but this odor is faint in dry wood. It works well with tools and machines, glues well, and has very good natural decay resistance. It can be rather expensive. It is a perfect substitute for western red cedar (except for color). The tree is rather unusual in that often at age 75 years or so, it dies and then stays upright for decades as it does not decay. Harvesting seems to encourage new trees to grow.

From the original questioner:
I have used accoya for two jobs, shutters and garage doors, and liked it pretty well. I really don't know much about it other than what is advertised. It machines easily and holds paint well. It was specified by an architect. I paid close to $5 per board foot so it is expensive.

From contributor L:
I use Alaskan yellow cedar all the time. It cuts and planes as smooth as glass. It is also very stable and durable.

From contributor S:
Yellow cedar gets my vote also. I have used it for exterior railings, and was amazed at how well it worked. We did interior railings in a commercial bar 27 years ago, and it still looks like the day we installed it. I quit working with it only because I became allergic to cedar.

From contributor G:
When finished with an oil finish yellow cedar will appear gold in color. I have built a complete deck from clear yellow cedar, used it for floor trim, window liners, stair railings, and a coffin.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Regarding hardness, here are some numbers:

West red cedar 350
Atl. White cedar 350
East white pine 380
Sugar pine 380
No. white cedar 320
Balsam fir 380
Redwood 420
Cypress 510
Sitka spruce 510
West. hemlock 540
Red pine 560
Alaska yellow cedar 580
Loblolly pine 690
Doug fir coastal 710
Red oak 1290

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Lumber and Plywood

  • KnowledgeBase: Lumber & Plywood: Wood Identification

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: Wood Properties

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2021 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article