Pros and cons of using cedar? - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 08:37:PM Thread Starter
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Pros and cons of using cedar?

Considering using cedar for my framing because it is lightweight, easy to work with and love that smell! I have decided not to use 80/20 and I am considering the cedar option. Your thoughts? Also, if I used cedar would I have to seal it with polyurethane or something similar? Thanks!

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 08:45:PM
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I used cedar in a shade structure in my back yard. Just for clarity, the wood that is called cedar on the eastern midwest is not the same as the cedar sold on the west coast. The western red cedar is very light but not very strong. I don't know that much about the eastern varieties.

My experience :
- It has a lot of "sand" or something like this in the fibers - so it tends to dull tools quickly vs what you might expect from a soft wood
- It has very little screw holding power or surface strength. For example if you put a screw into it with the head flush, over time the fibers will just move out of the way of the stress points.
- The oils in it are corrosive, so you really can only use stainless steel. Zinc plated and hot dipped galvanized corrode away
- It takes very little to dent / scratch

I am not so sure if you really want to trap that odor in or not. It does smell nice.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 09:07:PM
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I used poplar 1x2 for my cabinet framing: sturdy, relatively lightweight, and dimensionally stable. Kreig joints.

For the walls and ceiling, I used the 1/4" thick cedar tongue & groove 8' slats from Home Depot, coated on both sides with Minwax polyshades. Rafters/studs/ struts were baltic birch. For the cabinet doors, I used Home Depot Cedar fence planks, sanded smooth and poly'd.

As noted, the door planks are easy to dent, or to put a positive spin on it, "distress." Hey, it's a camping van with 65K miles on it!


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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 09:44:PM
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I used yellow cedar planking on 2x2 pine studs from Home Depot to do my walls and ceiling, No problem cutting it except for the fact that I used a handsaw and Miter-box. I sealed one side of it with polyurethane to make it easy to clean. Two and a half years later I still smell cedar every time I get in the van. (The first few months the cedar smell is a little too strong)
I used this Instructables blog as a guide.


https://www.instructables.com/id/Ced...-van-interior/

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 10:10:PM
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I cut and mill eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) by the pickup truck load. If buying mill run you'll have to deal with a fair amount of splinters, splits and knots. As mentioned, if used extensively the aromatic properties of unfinished eastern red cedar, more so than western cedar (Thuja plicata), can be a bit much for some in an enclosed area. I used a small amount for trim in my van. My cabinet and bed framing were a combination of red oak, bald cypress and southern yellow pine but to each their own.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2019, 10:31:AM
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Depending on if your goal in framing is "size" vs "strength / screw holding power", it might make sense to consider baltic birch.

1/4 - 3/8 inch thick, high quality baltic birch ply can hold a screw better than a 1 inch thick piece of cedar.

Strips of 3/4 x 3/4 inch baltic birch ply, round the corners with a router - make a pretty nice beam.

It's not perfect but it will take a real beating and is easy to finish.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2019, 11:00:AM
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Engineered wood is much stronger per weight than any solid wood I know of, and holds screws far, far better. Marine grade ply probably being the best, but most cabinet-grade ply is great.
Aromatic Cedar, also called Eastern Red Cedar, smells great for a while but needs to be hit with sandpaper after a year or so to get the smell "activated" again. Sealing it with anything will cancel the smell. It's also weak AF for anything structural.
In WW1, when planes were made of wood, they used Spruce because it had the best strength to weight ratio.

If a solid wood "look" is required, use cabinet grade ply cut and laminated to the dimensions you want, and cover it with real wood veneer. https://wisewoodveneer.com/product/p...veneer-sheets/ You can even get Eastern Cedar.

If I wanted the "smell", I'd just use real cedar oil and spritz it every once in a while. We have a gallon of "natural insect control" spray which is mainly cedar oil, and just a few spritzes in the corners of one room makes the whole house smell like a new cedar wall was installed.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2019, 11:57:AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surly Bill View Post
In WW1, when planes were made of wood, they used Spruce because it had the best strength to weight ratio.
Southern Yellow Pines (Shortleaf, Longleaf, Slash, and Loblolly Pine) possess an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. You can find Southern Yellow Pines at many of the big box stores as 2x8, 2x10 and 2x12 marked "SYP". These can be ripped to any dimension needed.

Douglas Fir, available in some regions, is also a good choice.

Sitka Spruce
Average Dried Weight: 27 lbs/ft3
Janka Hardness: 510 lbf
Modulus of Rupture: 10,150 lbf/in2
Elastic Modulus: 1,600,000 lbf/in2
Crushing Strength: 5,550 lbf/in2

Shortleaf Pine (Southern Yellow Pine)
Average Dried Weight: 35 lbs/ft3
Janka Hardness: 690 lbf
Modulus of Rupture: 13,100 lbf/in2
Elastic Modulus: 1,750,000 lbf/in2
Crushing Strength: 7,270 lbf/in2

Douglas Fir
Average Dried Weight: 32 lbs/ft3
Janka Hardness: 620 lbf
Modulus of Rupture: 12,500 lbf/in2
Elastic Modulus: 1,765,000 lbf/in2
Crushing Strength: 6,950 lbf/in2
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 11:41:AM
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Originally Posted by gypsy brewer View Post
Southern Yellow Pines (Shortleaf, Longleaf, Slash, and Loblolly Pine) possess an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. You can find Southern Yellow Pines at many of the big box stores as 2x8, 2x10 and 2x12 marked "SYP". These can be ripped to any dimension needed.

Douglas Fir, available in some regions, is also a good choice.

Sitka Spruce
Average Dried Weight: 27 lbs/ft3
Janka Hardness: 510 lbf
Modulus of Rupture: 10,150 lbf/in2
Elastic Modulus: 1,600,000 lbf/in2
Crushing Strength: 5,550 lbf/in2

Shortleaf Pine (Southern Yellow Pine)
Average Dried Weight: 35 lbs/ft3
Janka Hardness: 690 lbf
Modulus of Rupture: 13,100 lbf/in2
Elastic Modulus: 1,750,000 lbf/in2
Crushing Strength: 7,270 lbf/in2

Douglas Fir
Average Dried Weight: 32 lbs/ft3
Janka Hardness: 620 lbf
Modulus of Rupture: 12,500 lbf/in2
Elastic Modulus: 1,765,000 lbf/in2
Crushing Strength: 6,950 lbf/in2
I have been looking at the numbers you have posted and am trying to relate them to the wood we can purchase in a home depot / lowes in this area. (N CA)

Most of the doug fir that we can purchase locally is sold "green" and is super dense unless you can find kiln dried.

I have tried to use it in the past and it just warped like a snake. I have seen kiln dried 2x6 and 2x8 doug fir when visiting family in OH at a HD, but not out here, just 2x4s that you have to sort through to find anything useful.

Even the kiln dried versions of "similarly named woods" that we can purchase here are easily cut through and a screw can be turned in by hand.

Take a look at this baltic birch that I use for projects, which in some ways would indicate lesser specs:

https://www.statesind.com/sites/defa..._SpecSheet.pdf

I didn't go to this material just for fun - it was because it is the only decent wood that I can consistently count on.

As a comparison, it is so hard that I usually first drill a hole to use a screw in it.

I am trying to relate these spec numbers to my hands on experience and frankly struggling to make sense of it.

BTW - The cedar that you have in the back of your truck looks fantastic. It is a much smaller grain size than the old growth Canadian western red cedar I used. That material looks fantastic.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 03:14:PM
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I have been looking at the numbers you have posted and am trying to relate them to the wood we can purchase in a home depot / lowes in this area. (N CA)

Most of the doug fir that we can purchase locally is sold "green" and is super dense unless you can find kiln dried.

I have tried to use it in the past and it just warped like a snake. I have seen kiln dried 2x6 and 2x8 doug fir when visiting family in OH at a HD, but not out here, just 2x4s that you have to sort through to find anything useful.
If you are getting wood at a big box store you will have to cull the stacks to get good wood. Once you get past all of the picked through studs you will eventually find some good ones.

A quick online check shows the 2x8 and 2x10 at Lowes in N CA are "green". However, the Redding Lowes currently shows 1,216 Top Choice 2"x4"x8' kiln-dried Common Douglas Fir Studs at $2.93 each and 3,717 kiln-dried #2 Common Douglas Fir studs at $2.28 each available today.

I air dry my sawn logs but it usually take a minimum of two years on stickers for hardwoods such has the walnut in the attached photo. The results are worth the time. The other photo is a walnut table top on my workbench today.
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File Type: jpg walnuttable2.jpg (182.6 KB, 8 views)
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