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tom796
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
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redwood vs. red cedar

HI all, I am going to be building a memorial bench for a deceased loved one.  I have been looking at red cedar or redwood.  Has anyone worked with both and can let me know how they are to work with, how they age overtime, etc.  any help I can get will be appreciated

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Rrandy
Posts: 1,626
Registered: ‎11-05-2009
0

Re: redwood vs. red cedar

My bro-in-law built a porch swing out of aromatic red cedar about 2 inches thick and put some exterior varnish on it. 2 years later the "red" has dulled towards "brown" and the "white" sapwood on the edges has "yellowed" a bit. Otherwise it still looks great and is out in the weather right near Houston, TX. If you can get a "slab" the size you want it makes a pretty good looking piece. Judging by how it has held up so far it looks to be one that will last outdoors for a while and if it is indoors the dulling I mentioned will not happen as fast. His son made some end tables out of the same stuff and it still looks almost as good as fresh made. I can't help with the redwood.

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Esteemed Advisor
p_toad
Posts: 3,423
Registered: ‎12-31-2009
0

Re: redwood vs. red cedar

I used some redwood many years ago.  It aged to a nice dark red (unfinished), but is splintery and you will have to carefully round all edges.  Fairly soft but plenty strong for your project.  haven't bought any in years so can't advise on price.

Honored Advisor
-Paladin-
Posts: 1,512
Registered: ‎10-31-2009
0

Re: redwood vs. red cedar

Both end up silver/grey over time, it just seems to take longer for the "RedWood". I have used a lot of Red Cedar and find it a great wood for outdoor projects, I like to leave it unfinished.

 

I have used Red Wood a couple of times for row boats and canoes. Someone can likely give you a clearer more technical differentiation but for me the Red Wood is a little tighter grain, more even color, and definitely redder. Most of the Red Cedar I use is cut on the north coast of British Columbia, the Red Cedar came from California. They are both quit soft but glue and machine well.

 

Quite a few people are alergic to the oils in cedar, but I have never seen this as a issue in outdoor projects. We built a indoor sauna for a couple a number of years ago, lined with RC. Then 6 weeks latter I was back ripping out all the clear Cedar and putting in Pine.

~PALADIN~
Wood'nBoats&Stuff
Esteemed Advisor
hankm
Posts: 2,077
Registered: ‎11-07-2010

Re: redwood vs. red cedar

Tom796 wrote:

HI all, I am going to be building a memorial bench for a deceased loved one.  I have been looking at red cedar or redwood.  Has anyone worked with both and can let me know how they are to work with, how they age overtime, etc.  any help I can get will be appreciated

 

I reconstructed a large landscape gate using clear all heart Redwood, specs are as follows:

According to the Redwood Inspection Service standards, "...clear all heart is grade of exceptional value, without peer among softwoods for both interior and exterior uses. This grade must be heartwood, well manufactured and of a uniformly high quality suitable for finish. Most pieces are entirely clear or have only a few minor characteristics , such as medium stains, light crook, light cup, and end checks no longer than 2 inches long." The reverse side and one edge may be heart clear graded.

 

What makes heart special is that it is naturally decay and insect proof, I made that gate 25 years ago and it still stands. A memorial bench if left outside would be a fitting and near- perfect use of this material. 

 

It's not something the home center will stock, but it is obtainable via online jobbers.

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Honored Advisor
amateur60
Posts: 1,646
Registered: ‎10-24-2009
0

Re: redwood vs. red cedar

Red cedar is more likely to end up a dark grey not silver.  White cedar is the one that turns silver.  With all of these outdoor woods it is the heartwood that is weather resistant, not the sap wood.   The best choice would be teak, but you might faint at the price,  White oak is another good choice (red oak is not acceptable)

Senior Contributor
CloseEnuff
Posts: 285
Registered: ‎10-25-2009
0

Re: redwood vs. red cedar

Depending on your geographic location, and experience, it's hard to tell if you know the difference in cedars.  Out west "cedar" is Western Red Cedar.  It is used to make siding, trim and fences, etc.   It is more commonly used for construction stuff like that, versus Eastern Red Cedar, which is not as good (in my opinion) for that type of application.  Eastern cedar is more commonly used for blanket chests and finishing the inside of closets. 

 

The long boards you find at Lowe's and Home Depot in the lumber section is Western.  The thin boards you find packed in small plastic bundles 4' long is Eastern. 

 

I would say both redwood and western cedar have the same strength for your application, and I agree with the guys above, redwood will last longer.  Both end up looking the same if untreated.   If I could find only one, that would be OK with me.  I would use either.

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