Wood Stinks

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Forum topic by spunwood posted 11-18-2013 12:26 AM 1673 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1202 posts in 3232 days

11-18-2013 12:26 AM

The smell of Alaskan Yellow Cedar makes me shudder.

I recently bought a clearance 4×4x12” at hobby lobby. I thought it was a steal, now I wish someone would steal it from me. I hate throwing out wood, but I have used a 1/4 of it and don’t look forward to using it again.

Of all the wood I have worked with, this is the worst so far. It smells something like potatoes and ginger.

Are there worse wood out there?


-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

15 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5416 posts in 2747 days

#1 posted 11-18-2013 01:00 AM

Actually I like the smell of Alaskan cedar, reminds me of the days in the Skagit River country.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4044 days

#2 posted 11-18-2013 01:11 AM

Oh that stuff is nice. I built some flamenco guitars from it.

I don’t remember it being smelly. I did some carpentry
with it too a long time back.

I think walnut stinks when it gets burned on the table
saw but it’s tolerable. A lot of hardwoods smell bad
when burned that way.

View alohafromberkeley's profile


257 posts in 2800 days

#3 posted 11-18-2013 01:52 AM

I love the smell of Alaskan Cedar…and I love ginger. For the worst I think Zebrawood is unbearable until sealed. If you don’t want it , send it to me and I’ll cook up something tasty with it. MMMMM..gingered potato salad!

-- "After a year of doing general farmwork, it was quite clear to me that chickens and I were not compatible"-George Nakashima

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 3232 days

#4 posted 11-18-2013 02:00 AM

Wow, just goes to show ya.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View SawdustSeamhead's profile


19 posts in 2370 days

#5 posted 11-18-2013 02:14 AM

I’ve been trying some different woods while turning pens, and was horribly surprised the first time I used Yellowheart – it reeks! Reminded me of cleaning out a hog barn on a warm day. Not a pretty picture. I am certain to wear my respirator when working with it now!

-- Jarred K.

View shipwright's profile


8306 posts in 3194 days

#6 posted 11-18-2013 06:19 AM

Ahhhh, I love the smell of yellow cedar in the morning, but then it is probably the best all around boat building lumber in North America so maybe I’m biased. I not only love the smell but the buttery shine on it’s surface when it comes out of the planer. I could wax on but ….......

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4108 days

#7 posted 12-18-2013 03:47 AM

Black poplar to me smells the worst.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View ShaneA's profile


7084 posts in 2994 days

#8 posted 12-18-2013 03:57 AM

Not a fan of walnut or zebrawood scent while being cut. Padauk…quite nice.

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2682 days

#9 posted 12-18-2013 04:11 AM

Yellow cedar is pretty bad. After about a year, the smell goes away (or maybe I just got used to it).

-- John, BC, Canada

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3367 days

#10 posted 12-18-2013 04:12 AM

Green oak smells like a soured dish rag.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5941 posts in 3209 days

#11 posted 12-18-2013 04:18 AM

Pin oak / Swamp oak is the absolute worst. Smells like lightning hit the outhouse.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1325 posts in 2331 days

#12 posted 12-18-2013 04:43 AM

I made a croquet mallet out of wenge a few months ago. The stench was not that persistent, but when it hit, it smelled like burning trash. Went away pretty quick.

I can’t believe you guys don’t like walnut?!? I could eat walnut shavings for breakfast!!!

Oak kind of rubs me the wrong way too.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Aj2's profile


2285 posts in 2194 days

#13 posted 12-18-2013 04:44 AM

I like yellow cedar also, I have some old growth stuff that has at least 80 lines per inch super stable.I don’t remember it smelling like ginger port orford cedar smells a lot like ginger.I do use the the word cedar loosely neither is a tru cedar more like cypress right guys.
Now cedar of Lebanon is the best smelling stuff works like a dream too.I been hoarding several slabs I use for drawer bottoms..

-- Aj

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 2027 days

#14 posted 12-18-2013 05:05 AM

Spunwood – use a proper mask when dealing with it. I was dealing with my African teak and it made me cough like crazy, but a proper mask takes both the smell and dust out the equation. So if it is only making you uncomfortable while you work on, not while the pieces are ready, you can work around it.

Alternatively, you can take up smoking, do that for a few months, numb out your senses with that, but I feel that might not be as good an option. :)

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 3232 days

#15 posted 12-18-2013 04:00 PM

Well, now you’re going to laugh. The smell is really starting to grow on me!

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

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