Aromatic Cedar Lumber
Aromatic Cedar

Botanical Name: Juniperus virginiana

Family: Cupressaceae

Other Common Names: Eastern red cedar, Juniper, Red juniper, Red cedar, Virginia pencil cedar.

Uses: Wood chests, wardrobes, closet interiors, wood paneling, drawer lining, and pencils.

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Aromatic Cedar

Distribution: The species is reported to be distributed in Ontario, Quebec, Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Illinois, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. The tree is reported to be adaptable to various growing sites including dry uplands, especially limestone, and flood plains as well as swamps. It is also found on abandoned fields and fence rows.

General Characteristics: The tree is reported to attain a height of 40 to 60 feet (12 to 18 m) at maturity. It develops a trunk, which is reported to be often angled, with a diameter of 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) above buttresses. The color of the heartwood is initially light red, purplish or rose-red. It ages to a dull red or reddish brown, usually with streaks of included lighter colored sapwood. The heartwood often contains many small knots, which are reported to impart a pleasant rustic look to furniture manufactured from Eastern red cedar; The narrow sapwood is nearly white or light cream in color. Texture is usually fine; Grain is reported to be fine and even. Eastern red cedar has a characteristic mild, delicate, and agreeable, pencil-cedar odor and taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.47; air-dry density 33 pcf.

Working Properties: Eastern red cedar is reported to respond readily to all types of tools in most machining operations. It is reported to work easily to yield clean, smooth surfaces.

Durability: The wood has a high natural resistance to attack by decay causing organisms. Eastern red cedar has a thin bark, which makes the tree rather vulnerable to fire. Trees growing in apple-orchards are usually removed because of the cedar-apple rust disease which tends to infect apple trees from the cedars. Large numbers of Eastern redcedar trees are reported to have been removed in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia because of this.

Preservation: N/A

Mechanical Properties

(2-cm standard)

Bending Strength:

Green: 7,000 psi
Dry: 8,800 psi

Modules of Elasticity:

Green: N/A
Dry: N/A

Maximum Crushing Strength:

Green: 3,570 psi
Dry: 6,020 psi

Drying and Shrinkage

The material is reported to be fairly easy to season. Checks around knots and excessive loss of aromatic oils are the most common drying defects in this species. These types of defects are believed to be caused by excessively high drying temperatures. Warping is reported to be slight. Kiln Schedule T5 - A4 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T5 - A3 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 3%; tangential 5%. Eastern red cedar is reported to be stable after drying to the appropriate moisture content, and undergoes only minimal dimensional changes in response to fluctuations in atmospheric conditions.

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