need help to identify wood

I'd like to sand my deck, put in many years ago by someone else, so that I can stain it. Currently there are a couple of layers of paint on it, peeling in many spots. I tried to use sodium hydroxide, but that didn't work well. I also tried a pressure washer and quickly learned that I would end up with a fuzzy deck. I believe that sanding is my best option.
However, I'm not sure what kind of wood it is made from. I believe it is cedar, but wouldn't want to sand it if it is made from pressure treated wood which can contain arsenic.
Can someone please help me to identify the wood? It should be obvious for anyone who knows wood from the pictures I took showing the grain: http://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/~mrubinst/deck/index.html
Mike
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Cedar.
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Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Looks like cedar. I would use a stripper instead.

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Your best bet would be to remove one board and take it to a lumber yard. 1. The yard foreman should be able to identify the timber and its age, thus tell you whether it would have been treated, and if so with what. 2. Photos certainly suggest cedar: but 2a. The main reason for using cedar is that (when properly drained) it needs no copper or arsenic treatment t preserve it. 2b. Cedar is soft thus unsuitable for paint. It is usually coated with stain (different from paint in some respects: ask the timber yard.) 3. Ignorant owners may indeed have painted cedar. But these deck timbers look well-perserved, suggesting the deck was well-built and the natural chemicals in cedar have preserved it well.
Sanding to remove an old/damaged finish is usually a bad idea for old timber and a bad idea for cedar. But any deck to be refinished should be lightly sanded to make it as smooth as possible.
No photo showed how the deck boards were fastened (e.g. nails or screws or concealed clips.) No photo showed a ruler for scale so we assume these timbers are (nominal) 4 inches wide.
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Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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