View Full Version : white cedar log

08-28-2016, 12:43 PM
My neighbor is cutting down white cedar along his property line to make way for a new building.Some of the tree are 10 to 12''at the butt narrowing down to 6" at the 10' mark.
My questions are ; is sap wood a issue with white cedar ( i'm assuming that it is but don't actually know) and would there be so much wasteage as to not make it worthwhile to salvage the trees for planking stock. I don't have access to a portable mill,just my 14" bandsaw.

Jay Greer
08-28-2016, 12:48 PM
That is a pretty small tree to get much material out of. However, it is worth a try to see how much usable stock you can, actually, get.
Grubbing out the roots for natural grown knees would be worth doing, again if usable material can be gotten from it. Sap wood will tend to be less dense but still has the properties that cedar oil insures. It also makes good kindling for a wood burning stove or fire place. Put some cloth bags of savings in the drawer where you store your wool socks and sweaters. Smells good, wards off moths.

08-28-2016, 12:54 PM
Thanks Jay, I hadn't thought about knees and will have to take a closer look.

Jay Greer
08-28-2016, 01:04 PM
If you can get usuable crooks and knees out, you will thank yourself for them in the future. Rough cut them into usable shapes. Paint end grain with thick paint.
Put in pastic bags and punch in a few holes with an ice pick. Store bags in a dark corner of the shop or under your bed and wait a few years till needed. When ready do the final shaping, install and coat with oil, paint or varnish. Varnish looks nice over the natural grown grain shapes!

08-31-2016, 06:44 AM
As someone who cuts, mills and works a fair bit of white cedar, I have to disagree a bit with Jay.

The sapwood will have nearly identical mechanical properties, strength density etc., it will tend to shrink more but that is because it begins with a much higher moisture content.
BUT the sapwood on white cedar will have none of the rot or insect resistant qualities that the heartwood of the species is known for....useless in terms of boatbuilding.

Sap tends to run, 3/4-1" thick on most cedar except the real old or slow growing trees.
Assume total losses of 3" or so in diameter to sap and bark. I would also assume that property line trees are more like hedge?....so heavily branched.....these logs will be of no value for planking stock at all....sorry

Grubbing out cedar roots would be questionable to me. I love grown stock, but cedar are pretty weak for such structural applications. Also white cedar holds fasteners poorly due to its low density...so any attachments need to be through fastened with rivets or bolts. If nails or screws are used, they must have the head on cedar side with threads in something harder. Also using oversized fasteners with large surface bearing heads helps.
Grubbing out roots is generally rough work. And cleaning them up hard on machinery. Also be warned, sapwood heart wood delineation gets squirmy below the root flare, and sap bands often get wider....

08-31-2016, 08:11 AM
The sapwood of any species, no matter how naturally decay resistant the heartwood is, will have NO decay resistance. Sapwood of white cedar is no more decay resistant than Norway/red pine.


08-31-2016, 08:40 AM
Breaker, without at least some logging tools the labor to get out even small boards is incredible.

Jay Greer
08-31-2016, 09:45 AM
I do not use sapwood for any of the boats I build. However, I may use it for furniture or junk wood projects. And yes, I have successfully used crooks I have grubbed out for small boat construction. Granted they are mostly spruce and some Port Orford Cedar. It really is a matter of choice by the user. And, as I stated in the beginning, I doubt that this tree is large enough to render much usable stock. I tend to not look a gift horse in the mouth before getting it secured.

08-31-2016, 10:45 AM
tried this on maple a few times with my son.. NOooooooooooooooooooo thanks! all praise to loggers!


09-11-2016, 12:38 PM
Thanks for all the replies. I have decided that the effort would be disproportionate to the final results.