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Cedar too soft for furniture?

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Forum topic by Siv posted 02-06-2017 10:37 PM 1507 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Siv

62 posts in 1075 days


02-06-2017 10:37 PM

I picked up some cheap cedar from Home Depot this weekend just to try as I have never used it before. I made a couple of picture frames and it was a real struggle to keep the wood from getting blemished. The boards I used planed up really nicely but marked up from the clamps and any small dings during handling. This is my first experience with cedar so is it representative? Or is the home depot stuff rubbish?

There is a sawmill near me what offers really great value aromatic red cedar at prices that are 1/3 of oak and looks great and I’d love to use it to make chairs etc but I’m now not sure if it’ll be sturdy enough for furniture.


9 replies so far

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

8569 posts in 2656 days


#1 posted 02-06-2017 10:46 PM

It will be structurally sound enough, but as you have experienced, it will dent and scratch very easily. If you use clamps on soft wood, use a piece of scrap wood or plwood between the clamps and your project to prevent damage. That goes for harder wood as well.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

8332 posts in 3881 days


#2 posted 02-06-2017 11:04 PM

Cedar is fairly soft. Not a great choice for tables or surfaces that get a lot of use and abuse, but can be fine for many other applications. It’s a good outdoor wood that resists rot, and obviously the aromatic type makes a great cedar chest!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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clin

1066 posts in 1502 days


#3 posted 02-06-2017 11:43 PM

Yes it is hard to complete a project with Cedar without marring the surface. However, you’d be amazed how even very deep dents can be steamed out.

I built some gates last year and in one case, forgot to put the cauls on the clamps and dented the wood. Dents were 1/16” to 1/8” deep. Used wet paper towel and cloths iron. All but one dent came out completely. And that one came out almost all the way. The only reason it didn’t come out completely is the wood was torn because it was dented so deeply.

I was very pleasantly surprised at how well steaming worked on it.

-- Clin

View newwoodbutcher's profile

newwoodbutcher

794 posts in 3356 days


#4 posted 02-06-2017 11:53 PM

I feel Less sanding and more acceptance of the inevitable “rustic” look as a feature is best. That’s my two cents

-- Ken

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Madmark2

509 posts in 1094 days


#5 posted 02-07-2017 12:14 AM

Cedar is a conifer which by definition is a softwood . . .

M

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

5961 posts in 2226 days


#6 posted 02-07-2017 12:24 AM

I’ve made a few picture frames with cedar and it’s not Home Depot’s fault, it’s all fairly soft requiring special detail to make sure it isn’t dented or scratched. A good finish can help a little with scratches especially but it really is best suited to service where it won’t be touched too much. It does do well for planters or window boxes where other wood might be more susceptible to rot.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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Siv

62 posts in 1075 days


#7 posted 02-07-2017 08:10 PM

Thanks for the replies – it gives me a good guide, I think I’ll use it for furniture that we take with us (chairs, tables etc) but for built-ins I’ll use oak or another hard wood.

I’m really enamored by he colour of cedar so would love to use it as much as I can!

View Robert's profile

Robert

3535 posts in 1986 days


#8 posted 02-13-2017 01:12 PM

Yes it is too soft.

If there are any knots that weakens the wood cedar can have big knots.

Cypress or SYP would be a better choice IMO.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View pontic's profile

pontic

697 posts in 1114 days


#9 posted 02-13-2017 02:07 PM

Cedar makes awesome speaker cabinets.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

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