Cedar on a Sailboat? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 22 Old 01-10-2012 Thread Starter
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Cedar on a Sailboat?

Teak is the bell of the ball for good reason but I was wondering if there is a reason I don't hear about cedar being used much?

I am about to do so interior work on Makai my Cal21 and love the smell of cedar. It is readily available here in the NW and I might know a guy that knows a guy. It will be mainly ornamental and I will be using plywood for structual bulkhead stuff.

Are there any huge drawbacks to using cedar?
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post #2 of 22 Old 01-10-2012
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They build canoes out of it... Interested to hear others feed back.

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post #3 of 22 Old 01-10-2012
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There are many species of cedar. Northern white cedar was one of the best planking woods back in the heyday of wooden boats: strong, light, and VERY rot resistant. I can remember rebuilding old wood boats where the only thing that would not crumble in your hand would be the white cedar. Red cedar is aromatic and very pretty but also very soft. It would not take much abuse in a well used spot. I just built an Adirondack Guide Boat from Western Red Cedar. It is a very good material for the hulls of light craft because of its weight, strength and rot resistance but would not have the strength of Sitka Spruce or some fir species for spars. Red Cedar could be used in boat interiors where the strength and hardness of Teak or other hardwoods is not needed. Northern White has become almost unavailable in lengths > about 8'. Sad. My old 1936 42' Wheeler and a couple of Lightnings were planked with the stuff. Back 40 years ago it was readily available.
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post #4 of 22 Old 01-10-2012
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Cedar is commonly used to line the "walls" in hanging lockers since it smells so nice and resists rot.
Also some boats have light strips varnished and used to cover again the "walls". These are usually varnished and cedar would work well there. Obviously any where where there may be abrasion etc. it would be too soft, for just decoration I would think OK.
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post #5 of 22 Old 01-10-2012
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I use red cedar frequently for projects where strength isn't an issue.

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post #6 of 22 Old 01-10-2012
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The "cedar" used to line cabinets etc. is known as "Aromatic cedar" but is actually Juniper. It can be identified by the purple swirls running through it.

Red cedar is a very good wood for cold moulding hulls. It is extremely light, rot resistant and good looking but pretty soft. The softness is the main reason it isn't used more for boat interiors - it dents VERY easily. Colour matching takes a lot of work as well.

I have found Yellow cedar to have a sickening smell - after cutting it a bit I become quite nauseous.

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post #7 of 22 Old 01-10-2012
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i owned and operated a sawmill for atleast 30 years,eastern red cedar is one of my favorite woods and i use it on my boat whenever possible,the oder can be overpowering but eventually lessens,mr jones is quite right,it isn't a strong wood and shouldn't be used where strenght is required but its as pretty as any wood i know of,btw the white sapwood isn't particularly rot resistant
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post #8 of 22 Old 01-10-2012
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CS used it in the hanging lockers on my previous 36 and current 40. Now if I can just find a 44.
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post #9 of 22 Old 01-10-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
The "cedar" used to line cabinets etc. is known as "Aromatic cedar" but is actually Juniper. It can be identified by the purple swirls running through it.

Red cedar is a very good wood for cold moulding hulls. It is extremely light, rot resistant and good looking but pretty soft. The softness is the main reason it isn't used more for boat interiors - it dents VERY easily. Colour matching takes a lot of work as well.

I have found Yellow cedar to have a sickening smell - after cutting it a bit I become quite nauseous.
Yellow cedar is a common name for white cedar (arbor vitae). It IS somewhat toxic. The dust may well make you sick, especially if exposed for extended periods. Some native tribes used it for medicinal purposes. It has a lot of nasty chemicals in it which is why it's so rot resistant. I've discovered that cutting/sanding quite a few woods, like ebony i.e., have toxic effects.
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post #10 of 22 Old 01-10-2012
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True cedar is of the species Cedrus, only 4 varieties I know of, now if I can remember all four, Liabanii, ie Cedars of Lebonon reference in the bible, deodora, Atlantica and brevifolia.....had to look the last one up! Members of the Pineaceae(pine) family

Some like the W Red cedar, Thuja plicata, or members of the juniper Cupressaceae family, Alaska Yellow cedar is Chamacyparis nootkatensis, I'm seeing it with a species of Callitropsis on wikopedia, altho I usually see it at nurseries I by material from as I said it initially. Incense cedar/ Calocedrus decurens is the one I see the most.....there are a few other species of incense cedar........

W Red cedar is used, as is Eastern red cedar on boats, as is other types of the Juniper version of cedar. Not sure if the TRUE cedars ie Cedrus sp are used in boats or not.....

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