Cedar substitute

I recently made a small cedar box and finished it with an amber spar varnish. I am blown away (in a good sense) by the grain/color but troubled by the wood's softness and tendency to split. The box walls were thicknessed to 1/4" and in some spots 1/8" which seems to push the limit of sturdiness for cedar. Does anyone know of a wood that has a color/figure roughly similar to cedar but with more durability? I prefer something with a tight grain pattern to something like oak and something domestic (USA) and common to exotic if possible. Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance.
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I am thinking Cedar like they line closets with that is redish with darker grain lines and white wood, not the more yellow kind they use in construction. I don't think Cedar is a hardwood. I've never used it but I have some Adirondack chairs I want to try it with. Without going for an exotic you might try Cherry. It can have the white sap wood like Cedar (if you like that). It can be really beautiful when finished properly. When its freshly sanded it can be pretty bright but it will quickly darken.

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First, cherry is NOT an exotic. It's a native hardwood. The OP ran into the reason why cedar is often used for lining, and less often used for an entire project. I made my wife a jewelry box from it many years ago, though, and that's fine--5/8" and thicker stock.
If he's using Eastern redcedar, which is a native softwood, not much else comes close in figure, though he might like flame cherry (except for the price). Cherry is just about the king of current U.S. hardwoods, and is priced accordingly, with highly figured woods going for more. Walnut might also work, though it's more brown than red, and darker. Oddly enough, over time cherry darkens, while walnut lightens, when exposed to light.
Using wood of any kind that is 1/4" thick gets you to about the bottom limit if durability is needed. Going to 1/8" means a hardwood is almost absolutely essential. Possibly, if he can find it, Ashe juniper would do, but it's hard to locate...mostly in the Ozarks and into Texas, where it's called Texas cedar. Port-Orford cedar might work, but the wood is in limited supply as the trees get rarer. It is expensive. Western redcedar might also be better than the knotty eastern version, but it is also in less thahn plentiful supply.
I'd go for cherry and line it with 3/16" thick redcedar, probably Eastern, because there is a LOT of that around here.
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And Eastern Aromatic Red Cedar (a Juniper) is a native softwood in the Eastern Mid Atlantic and Southeastern US states.
Of course if OP is posting from Panama, then Cherry and Cedar would be exotics...
--
FF

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posts, and there's aromatic cedar (juniper). The fence cedar is usually pretty bland, but can have some figuring. The juniper usually has lots of color and figure. Either way, I would recomend sapele as a substitute. It's a lot like mahogany (another substitute for cedar), but harder and more durable (it's used for flooring). Check out:
http://www.dustystrings.com/building/harp_woods_sapele.shtml
http://www.jacaranda.com/links/ribbon-sapele-qc-big.jpg
http://www.acfairbankconsulting.ca/images/vicwood/designs/sapele9qsm.jpg
Where to buy:
http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyidS64
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Chrisgiraffe wrote:

I like oak. It's easy to work with, has a nice grain and finishes nicely. I made a few of them last year as Christmas things and they were well received. Here's a picture of one of them.
http://users.compzone.ca/george/shop/boxes.html
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you should check out black ash, grows here in the upper midwest in low to swampy areas. average growth ring count is 18 rings per inch. grain is somewhat like red oak, sandy brown in color and not as heavy or dense as oak. also black ash burl for exotic wood, this would make very nice and off the beaten trail boxs. can be seen on my website www.highislandexport.com ross
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