Alaska/Nootka Cypress aka Yellow Cedar for bowls/utensils?

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Forum topic by livewire516 posted 12-08-2018 08:04 PM 860 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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72 posts in 462 days

12-08-2018 08:04 PM

Does anyone use Yellow Cedar in contact with food?

A friend recently gave me some large pieces of yellow cedar. I’ve recently become interested in spoon and bowl carving; although the yellow cedar is dried, I was thinking of using them to practice spoon carving, since it carves so well.

While I’m aware that the Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Northwest traditionally used yellow cedar for making bowls and utensils, my understanding is that its resin is quite pungent.

Has anyone used with with food? Does it impart a flavor?

Thanks for any input

5 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5604 posts in 2953 days

#1 posted 12-08-2018 10:05 PM

It is quite pungent while freshly cut, it dissipates over time. I’m sure it is okay to use as a utensil unless you happen to be allergic to it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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72 posts in 462 days

#2 posted 12-17-2018 12:28 AM

Thanks for your input!

View planecurious's profile


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#3 posted 12-17-2018 06:03 AM

I have used it for cutting boards (some gifted to friends and family) with no ill effects reported

View Phil32's profile


838 posts in 505 days

#4 posted 12-17-2018 11:19 PM

I suggest using a more available wood for practicing your bowl & spoon carving. While visiting Vancouver Island, B.C. in recent years, I asked about where to buy some Alaskan (Nootka) Yellow Cedar. All of the mills and cut logs had been bought and moved to the Orient! I was able to buy a few stored chunks & 4×4’s. The First Nations carvers were holding on to whatever stocks they had.

I agee that it is a very good wood for carving. It carves a lot like basswood, but will not hold detail as well.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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72 posts in 462 days

#5 posted 12-18-2018 01:17 AM

Thanks for that info Phil, I didn’t know it was hard to get elsewhere, I just thought it was hard to get on the East Coast – I will reserve these for when I’m a little more skilled.

I live in Boston, and don’t have trees on my property, but when I visit family in Pennsylvania for the holidays, I’ll bring my kit and practice on greenwood down there.

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