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
Thanks in advance.
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.
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.
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...
There's cedar, and there's cedar. There's the cedar like is used for fence
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:
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.
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
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