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1960s Cedar trim verses today's cedar

3143 Views 19 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  basswood
On this project we are replacing all the painted trim with clear cedar 1x8 (at $50 per 16' board just in material costs). I was amazed at how tight the grain was on older cedar.

I wanna hear from the guys who actually worked with wood like this.

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What do you want to hear Maxx? :laughing:

the board on the left grew
in a real forest, no one "managed" it.
I've been working on my
1950 windows, and the sills
go at least 30 rings an inch.
I have some old timber that I can't begin to count the rings, way too tight.

The new won't last nearly as long as the old.
So I guess the lesson is "Good things take time"

I hated taking the stuff down. It was true "clear" no knots. I have always loved cedar, but I never knew that the cedar I knew was nothing compared to the old stuff.
Looks like quarter sawn. Much better than the new stuff!
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Yep! Old growth vs. new growth. I'd save as much of the old stuff as possible for small projects.

Ye Olde Woodshed is 16 X 24 X 18H, costs me $300 a month and is consistantly a revenue generator.
I guess back when cedar was everywhere and really cheap, they didn't care to mill them out plain sawn, so it was all quarter sawn. Now that cedar is more scarce, they mill them out plain sawn. Because you get more lumber out of the tree that way, downside is you will have cupping.
I had one job where we were working for an architect, it was Snohomish. The guy fancied himself as a FLW prodigy or something. He had this soffit detail of Cedar "beams". They dropped (60) 2x8x14 Clear VG Cedar in my yard and I proceeded to cut them up into 42" lengths and then rip tapers out of them. It was an awful feeling doing that.
The tree farms spread the trees out more, allowing more light & water for the tree thus it grows much faster. They want to re-harvest in 25 years. Old growth or virgin cut wood comes from dense forest where the trees are much closer together.

Back in the early 80's when I first started building decks I rented a warehouse & forktruck so I could buy wood in truckloads. Occasionally we would get old growth cedar & redwood with tight growth rings like that. Cedar 1x12's that were clear & a full 1" thick, never seen boards like them since those days.

I'd save all that cedar you can Wall.
I have int doors that where made from 1000 year old reclaimed cedar that was submerged, the wood is like a fine wine , smooth, stable , and beautiful, GMOD
Pretty much. There is no replacement for old growth.

Did you look into reclaiming the old stuff?
So I guess the lesson is "Good things take time".
Whats all that mean?:sad:
I had one job where we were working for an architect, it was Snohomish. The guy fancied himself as a FLW prodigy or something. He had this soffit detail of Cedar "beams". They dropped (60) 2x8x14 Clear VG Cedar in my yard and I proceeded to cut them up into 42" lengths and then rip tapers out of them. It was an awful feeling doing that.
I had one job where we were working for an architect, it was Snohomish.(a wet place) The guy fancied himself as a FLW (Frank Lloyd Wright)prodigy or something. He had this soffit detail of Cedar "beams". They dropped (60) 2x8x14 Clear VG (vertical grain/quarter sawn)Cedar in my yard and I proceeded to cut them up into 42" lengths and then rip tapers out of them. It was an awful feeling doing that.
Whats all that mean?:sad:
Pretty close anyway....:laughing:
It seems to me that they would flat saw everything. Imagine how big the logs were, you would still get quite a bit of VG out of a whole log.

Looking at old wid plank flooring, and wide old trim boards in the same houses, one can almost see how the whole log went together/came apart.
With big logs, that was usually
the strategy.
Somewhere I've got charts of
how they quarter sawed whole logs.
Lots of waste.
It seems to me that they would flat saw everything. Imagine how big the logs were, you would still get quite a bit of VG out of a whole log.

Looking at old wid plank flooring, and wide old trim boards in the same houses, one can almost see how the whole log went together/came apart.
Hence the added cost of QS.
With big logs, that was usually
the strategy.
Somewhere I've got charts of
how they quarter sawed whole logs.
Lots of waste.
yea... you can't beat old wood.....oh wait:jester:
I bought an old fixerupper a few months back. Records show it was built in 1936. Haven't paid that much attention to the windows, but was told they were cedar. Interesting subject, the difference in the old and the new. May just keep them in the house if I ever decide to do reno.
I was just looking at some scrap
SYP from a recent job, 5 rings/inch.
I have a little 2X12 YP bench made
from scrap from the mid 80's and
it's got 26 rings/inch.....
If you need 1x4 cedar, and want qtr. sawn, buy nice cedar 4x4's like these, and resaw them. I bought these this past summer, so there is still some good cedar out there:

Cheers,

Bass

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