Cedar, Yellow

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This rare and exceptionally beautiful wood species occurs only on the Pacific coast of North America, from Alaska south to Oregon. It is one of the slowest growing tree species in North America; 50 to 60 annual growth rings per inch are not uncommon, with some living specimens believed to be around 1200 years old.

Yellow cedar is a bright timber, ranging in colour from soft yellow to light brown. Sapwood occurs as a very narrow band and is almost white to yellowish white. Heartwood is a bright clear yellow, darkening upon exposure. The grain is typically very straight with a fine and even texture. The timber is quite light, being only slightly heavier than western red cedar. It is also highly aromatic, due to the presence of naturally occurring oils.

Prized by boat builders, yellow cedar has exceptional natural durability - resistance to weather, insects and contact with soil - as well as dimensional stability and ease of tooling. The timber stands up to constant wear and load impacts without forming ridges or splitting. Yellow cedar resists splintering and wears smoothly over time. The timber is easily worked by hand or machine, turns and carves well, and finishes beautifully. It readily accepts standard fittings and fastenings, though resinous glues are recommended for bonding.

Common applications of yellow cedar include flooring, decking, paneling, exposed ceilings, roofing shingles, custom woodworking, carving and millwork. The timber has been used since ancient times for boat building, and racing boat enthusiasts often use it for high-performance shells. The timber's resistance to splintering makes it a popular choice for stadium seating, sauna and indoor pool areas, and outdoor furniture.

Appearance

Yellow cedar sapwood occurs as a very narrow band, being almost white to yellowish white. Heartwood is a bright clear yellow, darkening upon exposure. The grain is typically very straight with a fine and even texture. Growth rings are close together and not prominent.

Common Applications

Because of its light weight and extreme durability, yellow cedar is highly recommended for external applications such as decking, weatherboards, handrails, veranda posts and outdoor furniture. It is a premium boat building material, and is found in saunas and indoor pool areas.

Common Form

Sawn

Workability

Yellow cedar is easily worked by hand or machine, accepts coatings well and finishes beautifully. Bonding is best achieved with resin-type adhesives.

Origin of Timber

North America

Availability - Further Information

Yellow cedar has only recently become readily available in Australia. Limited quantities of this slow-growth timber are imported from the Pacific coast of North America.

Availability - Further Information

Native Forest

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High

Tangential :

2.50%

Radial:

1.10%

Unit Movement Tangential:

0.21%

Unit Movement Radial:

0.10%

Strength Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium High

Medium

Reasonably Low

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

S7

Seasoned:

SD1

SD2

SD3

SD4

SD5

SD6

SD7

SD8

Stress Grade

Structural
No. 1
Structural
No. 2
Structural
No. 3
Structural
No. 4
Structural
No. 5

Unseasoned:

F7

F5

F4

Seasoned:

F8

F7

F5

F4

Density per Standard

Seasoned:

490kg/m3

Unseasoned:

500kg/m3

Joint Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

J1

J2

J3

J4

J5

J6

Seasoned:

JD1

JD2

JD3

JD4

JD5

JD6

Colour

  White, yellow, pale straw to light brown Pink to pink brown Light to dark red Brown, chocolate, mottled or streaky
   

Mechanical Properties

Modulus of Rupture - Unseasoned:

44

Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned:

77

Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned:

7.9

Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned:

9.8

Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned:

21

Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned:

43.5

Impact - Unseasoned:

Impact - Seasoned:

Toughness - Unseasoned:

Toughness - Seasoned:

Hardness - Unseasoned:

2.0

Hardness - Seasoned:

2.6

Durability

Low Moderate Reasonably High High
(0 - 5 yrs) (5 - 15 yrs) (15 - 25 yrs) (more than 25 yrs)

In-Ground:

(0 - 7 yrs) (7 - 15 yrs) (15 - 40 yrs) (More than 40 yrs)

Above ground:

(0 - 20 yrs, usually < 5) (21 - 40 yrs) (41 - 64 yrs) (More than 60 yrs)

Marine Borer Resistance:

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility:

Not Susceptible

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility - Other:

Termite Resistance:

Resistant

Fire Properties

Smoke Development Rate:

<750
1 - non-combustible 2 - reasonably non-combustible 3 - slightly combustible 4 - combustible

Fire Properties Group
Number:

Average Specific Extinction Area:

<250

Bushfire Resistance:

Not Tested

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