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Western Red Cedar for my Sauna does not look like advertised grade

3448 Views 20 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  kelvancra
I've ordered a cedar barrel sauna online from a company that claimed that the wood was 100% Grade A Red Cedar. The sauna kit just arrived, and as I was unpacking the staves I noticed that over 1/3 of them had significant defects that were patched with wood filler at the factory. Some of the staves even had holes from knots of ~2" diameter that went all the way through the stave. Other staves had large defect areas that were surface-patched with the filler. I'm no lumber expert, but from the searching I've done online it seems that Grade A Red Cedar should have minimal defects, and any knots should be small tight ones with no dropouts. I've included some pictures as examples. If any of you are knowledgeable about Cedar grading, I'd really appreciated your assessment, as I need to determine how to best address this with the sauna kit manufacturer. Thank you for your help!

Brown Rectangle Wood Shelving Shelf

Brown Shelf Furniture Rectangle Drawer

Brown Table Wood Rectangle Flooring

Wood Wood stain Hardwood Insect Plank

Insect Wood Automotive tire Trunk Hardwood

Brown Wood Beige Tints and shades Flooring


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Wow thats pretty bad, i wouldn't even use those as fence material. I'd send it back.
That's terrible looking for grade A.
Here's the problem the spa company is facing. All the best wrc is going straight to the mill works. To build wine cellars for the tech giants and grifters in the new potato administration. As they celebrate their takeover.
Good luck
Bounce it back to them. Shouldn't be big knots in grade A.

From Bear creek lumber link HERE

  • The Western Red Cedar Lumber Association describes this grade as permitting somewhat more imperfections than Clear Heart but still restricted to pieces with excellent appearance. The WWPA garding book tells us that this is a grade ideally suited for applications where finishing requirements are less exacting.

Brown Wood Amber Tints and shades Flooring

A grade sample.

  • A & Better Clear - Ideally suited to applications where finishing requirements are less exacting. Limiting provisions include: small seasoning checks , occasional very light skips on edges and backs. Allows for two small, sound tight knots or their equivalent


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Those aren't even knots, let alone small ones. The gigantic holes have been filled with something that's guaranteed to fall out once the sauna is used.

RUBBISH - send it back , find a different supplier.
Those aren't even knots, let alone small ones. The gigantic holes have been filled with something that's guaranteed to fall out once the sauna is used.

RUBBISH - send it back , find a different supplier.

- xedos
It looks like a hungover squirrel threw up his morning oatmeal all over his house.
Only a "hack" company would send out product like that IMHO.
Grade A? On which scale, the backwards Z-A measure?

I call that stuff #3 or 'C' grade at best.

Try this Alta grading book as reference.

There are many other references online:

Best Luck returning a freight shipment from an online purchase of a large stack of wood.

If supplier does not offer to replace unusable boards with grade A stuff, notify your bank about fraudulent CC purchase. Don't let supplier drag out discussion past 30 days from purchase charge date, or Bank/CC resolution gets more difficult.

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My buddy owned several cedar mills around Pacific Beach, Washington. Though I never ran the saws, was around the mills a lot helping out.

Though his products were all cedar roofing and siding, it remains Northwest red cedar is Northwest red cedar.

Grade A was old growth and, as others pointed out, knot free, for the most part, though, as MadMark says, they allowed a percentage of lesser quality stuff in the bundles.

This, damn sure, is not grade A and the company is operated by cons, if they pass crap like this.


The price for cedar siding is much higher than the price of cedar roofing. The ONLY things that changes between the two is, the labels.
send it back and ask for an apology on top of the refund
Update: After requesting a refund from the supplier and disputing the charge as fraudulent (thanks for the tip @CaptainKlutz!) with my CC company, the supplier agreed to provide a full refund, and doesn't even want the wood back. In fact, they have offered to pay for local disposal. So, at least they have been reasonable on the back end of all this, but in my opinion their business practices are clearly misleading and fraudulent. Turns out they are sourcing full kits from China, stamping their name on the crate, and reshipping them to their US customers. The company is Redwood Outdoors, and there's plenty of info about their business practices available on Reddit and YouTube. Thanks to all of you who helped me out in resolving this mess!
Wow, yeah that the problem nowadays, so many places trying to make profit via drop-shipping
Let them dispose of the wood but keep all the hardware and find somebody local to replace the wood parts with good wood. You should come out ok on the overall price.

Not to get on a "bash the vendor" roll here, but their website also says "All our cedar barrel saunas use 100% Canadian Clear Red Cedar. "

Sounds like getting your money back is a win
That is not just bad, it's embarrassingly bad. My SCAM radar is spinning.
Really appreciated the update. A lot of times there is no follow up
and the reader is left wondering. THANKS
Typical of companies who do not have their own rep in the factory. I am sure the sample the company ordered was beautiful, but when drop shipped, they loose all control and are subject to this kind of swap crap. Yes I blame the company for not managing their supply chain, but I also blame the OEM for this kind of swap fraud.

Wood may have been sourced from Canada. That is where it grows. A lot of NA lumber is shipped to China for processing. So, the above ad is not fraud.
While it is possible that the wood did originally come from Canada, it is certainly not "clear cedar" nor "100% grade A" which they state on other pages of their website, including the specific product description page. So, I definitely believe this is fraudulent. Also, it's certainly possible that the manufacturer in China is making that claim and the reseller is just "passing it along", but at this point multiple people before me have already brought these issues to their attention. So, they can't even claim to be ignorant victims themselves.
Call the FTC.
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