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WESTERN RED CEDAR Thuja plicata Scientific Name Plant Symbol = THPL
Timber Focus is a leading supplier of Canadian Western Red Cedar for Cladding and Fencing use.
Western Red Cedar is a popular wood type used in the UK for timber cladding and fencing. The main profiles in Western Red Redar are Tongue and Groove V jointed also known at TGV, PTGV, PMV used for cladding, fencing gates etc as 18x144mm Ex 25x150mm in mainly 1.83 6’ or 2.135mtr or 7’.
The popular use sizes are slatted fencing as 18x38mm x 1.83mtr slats used in contemporary, slatted, batten fencing. The majority of the cedar used in the UK originates from North America mainly Vancouver Canada from the British Columbia Region as this tends to be slow grown and fewer knots and more durable.
The popularity of cedar cladding is due to its beauty, stability and extreme resistance to decay. Together these qualities mean that, left untreated, the cladding boards will stay straight and last for many decades. However, if a surface treatment is required, the stability and complete lack of resin within the wood make cedar the ideal choice for painting and staining. We are also very known to supply an alternative to Canadian Western Red Cedar in the form of SertiWOOD Hardwood Cedar this is a thermally modified Clear Hardwood durable stable.
Western Red Cedar Timber Quality and Grades
Canadian Western Red Cedar is a preferred species to Home Grown Cedar also know as British Cedar despite being the same species thuja plicata they have different characteristics in durability and appearance. If you need the best quality Cedar you need to specify Premium Western Red Cedar Clear which is available from Timber Focus this is slow grown with few or no knots at all equivalent to BS118
6-3 CSH, the next quality down will be No 2 Clear and Better equivalent to the timber cladding quality BS1186-3 Class 1-2, followed by No 2 Clr and Better allowing Max 15% 4 Clear, Followed by an increased percentage of 4 Clr or clear, then followed by 4 Clear only, then followed by manufacturing grades which are the lowest cedar grades of shop and factory flitch grades which should be used only for remanufacturing or to recover short pieces of clear timber.
Western Red Cedar Prices
It is important to note that the Home Grown or British Cedar will most likely compare to a 4 Clear or less Canadian Western Red Cedar Grade which is also reflected in the price. Home Grown Cedar or British Cedar is more than 50% cheaper than the Canadian Cedar.
Western Red Cedar moisture content
It is important to note that western red Cedar is supplied as KD meaning kiln dried which tends to be below 18% which is used for both internal and external applications and is ready to paint or stain on delivery this does not need further acclimatisation you can also source western red cedar as AD or Air Dry or Green these terms tend to be used interchangeably although mean different things AD or Air Dry needs to be at a specified moisture content .g 18 % this means the timber has been dried without mechanical or kiln drying to 18% or the other option is Green this is timber that is WET.
Cedar Can be used as WET or Green State GRN as it is a low movement and light weight and tends to dry very quickly, the only disadvantage is using green or WET Cedar is that is does not plane, machine or work well leaving raised grain or fussy surface.
Factors affecting Western Red Cedar Prices
Canadian Western Red Cedar Prices in the UK are affected by a number of factors such as supply and demand, most of the cedar imported into the UK is supplied into other markets mainly the USA and China and other parts of Europe. China is a big user of cedar buying both the lower grades and premium grades. Currency fluctuations, logging seasons and fire seasons.
Other Names: Giant arborvitae, western arborvitae, giant red-cedar, Pacific red-cedar, shinglewood, canoe cedar
Uses Industry: The wood of western red cedar is primarily used in roofing for shingles and shakes, because of its attractive appearance, durability, lightness, and superior insulation qualities. It is also used in exterior finishing, utility poles, fence posts, piling, paper pulp, and various types of containers. The species is managed for timber in Europe and New Zealand. Cedar leaf oil is often the basis for production of perfumes, insecticides, medicinal preparations, veterinary soaps, shoe polishes, and deodorants. It is also used for roasting especially the flavour as roasting planks for Salmon.
Wildlife: The leaves of western red cedar are a major winter food for big game in the northern Rocky Mountains, and deer browse it all year along the coast. Many cultivars are grown for ornament, including those used for hedges. It is the provincial tree of British Columbia.
Ethnobotanic: Western red cedar has been called “the cornerstone of northwest coast Indian culture” and the large-scale use of its wood and bark delineates the
cultural boundary of the northwest coast peoples within its range. Wood served for house planks, house posts, roof boards, various kinds of boxes, and canoes. It is easy to split and was often used for bentwood boxes. Bark was made into skirts, capes, and complete dresses for women, and roots and limbs were used for baskets and rope. The inner bark was used for slow matches to carry the fire from camp to camp, and also as mats, and baskets. Various medicines were derived from the tree.
Description General: Cypress family (Cupressaceae). Native trees growing to 50 (-75) meters tall, often buttressed at base, with a conical to irregular crown, old individuals frequently with many leaders and many dead spike tops; branches arching, branchlets pendent, flattened, in fan-shaped sprays; bark gray to reddish-brown, 10-25 mm thick, fibrous, separated into flat, connected ridges. Leaves are evergreen, scale-like and sharply pointed, (1-) 3-6 mm long, opposite in alternating pairs (in 4 rows), glossy green above, white-striped on the lower surface, with a spicy fragrance when crushed. Seed cones are ellipsoid, 10-14 mm long, brown; seeds 8-14 per cone, 4-7.5 mm long, with lateral wings about as wide as the body. The common name pertains to the western distribution and cedar-like appearance.
Variation within the species: although small interpopulation differences have been documented, western red-cedar seems to show less within-species genetic variation than other north-western conifers. Horticultural varieties with colour and growth form differences have been developed (atrovirens, fastigiata, pendula).
Adaptation The trees occur on various substrates, commonly on moist sites (swamps, wet ravines, poorly drained depressions), but on a variety of landforms, including rocky slopes, at 0-1500 (-2300) meters elevation. They usually occur in mixed coniferous forests, rarely in pure stands. In cultivation, they prefer moist, acid, well-drained soils but have been grown in heavy clays of the Midwest.
Establishment Cone production begins in open-grown trees of western red cedar at about 10-20 years of age but peak production occurs after 70-80 years and may continue for several centuries. Good seed crops are produced at intervals of 2-3 years.
In clear-cuts and other disturbed areas, seedlings account for most of the western red-cedar regeneration, but seedlings in mature stands may be less abundant than individuals produced by vegetative reproduction from layering, rooting of fallen branches, and branch development on fallen trees. Disturbed mineral soil seems to be a major requirement for regeneration from seed. Unburned soil provides better seedbed than scorched soil, but slash burning may create mineral soil surfaces in cutover areas. In mature stands of western red cedar, rotten wood in contact with the soil provides an effective seedbed. Partial shade, which lowers evaporation and soil temperature, is beneficial to seedling growth.
Western red cedar is often present in pioneer, seral, and climax stages of forest succession. Vegetative regeneration may be predominant in ecologically stable communities, but wide seed distribution allows it to invade disturbed areas. It is highly shade tolerant and is well suited for reforesting high brushrisk areas near the coast.
Age determination of western red-cedar is complicated by buttress formation and the associated complex growth patterns, but ring counts of trees from Washington and British Columbia indicate that some trees live at least up to 1460 years. Management In mixed-species and uneven-aged stands, western red cedars tolerate shady understory conditions and can maintain slow but acceptable growth rates over long periods. In timber harvest of these mixed species stands, most of these trees are taken by clearcutting. Because of steep terrain, decay, and breakage, harvesting costs are high and lumber recovery is low. Because of its high susceptibility to
windthrow in wet environments and in the moist sites where growth and yield are highest, western red cedars should not be left as scattered seed trees. Even those along clearcut margins may be lost to wind throw or exposure.
Severe browse damage to western red-cedar seedlings and saplings by deer, elk, and rodents may be the most important problem in the establishment of young stands. In near-coastal sites, western redcedar is more severely damaged by fire than any of its associates.
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