The Cedar Tree belongs to an evergreen family of pine trees. The term "cedar tree" is often used in reference to over 30 plant species that actually belong to 3 different families. These are Meliaceae, Pinaceae, and Cupressaceae.
The Cedar Tree originates from the Mediterranean region and the Himalayas. It can, however, be found across the globe today in other zones that experience temperate climate.
Cedar is cultivated by many people because of it has great ornamental value and an appealing fragrance. It is a durable wood with multiple applications in the furniture and construction industry.
In the past, cedarwood was used extensively for manufacturing boats, boxes, bowls, rustic table units, tools as well as different weapons. The fragrant oil that was extracted from cedar was used by the ancient Egyptians for mummification.
Native Americans made use of cedarwood oil for repelling mosquitoes. The wood’s insect-repelling properties are also greatly appreciated in the furniture industry. In India, for many centuries, this essential wood oil was used in keeping spices from fungal deterioration during storage. This is because it has anti-fungal and insecticidal properties.
Closets made using cedarwood are moth-free. The wood is also used in manufacturing shoe trees as it absorbs moisture thus neutralizing any unpleasant smell.
In aromatherapy, the use of cedarwood essential oil is thought to send messages to the section of your brain that controls the nervous system and emotions. When used in aromatherapy, the oil positively impacts several biological factors within the body. This includes your heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, stress levels, and the immune function.
What Makes Cedar So Suitable in Furniture Making?
Western Red and Northern While Cedar trees are cone-bearing Cypress trees in the Cupressaceae family. However, the majority of people know more about Western Red Cedar because it is used to make resilient, rustic furniture. You may also know cedar as the wood used in saunas as it can withstand lots of heat and sweat.
Cedar is also used for traditional furniture like cedar-lined chests and as the wood lining for dresser drawers. In addition to being popular in American, cedar wood is also used in communities all across the world.
Cedar may not be as hard as lots of other woods, but it has outstanding structural stability and decent shock resistance. This means that you need not be too concerned about your cedar patio furniture easily warping or breaking. It is no wonder then that cedarwood is often used in making rustic cedar furniture.
Let’s look at a couple popular cedarwood furniture products.
The 4' Natural Cedar Porch Swing, Amish Crafted has been made using Western Red Cedar. It is one type of long lasting, rot resistant Adirondack furniture, very popular today.
If you want to get the perfect porch swing that your children and grandchildren will continue to enjoy for many decades, get Amish swings. Each piece of the 4' Natural Cedar Porch Swing has been crafted with great attention to detail by skilled Amish artisans.
- Resists rot, decay and insect damage.
- No nails, only uses bolts & screws
- Quality Amish product
- Shipped to you in pre-assembled components for easy assembly
- Directly shipped to where you are located
The 4' Natural Cedar Porch Swing is made with natural tight knotty Cedar. It uses non-staining hardware as nails or screws are not used in assembling. Each product comes ready in case you want to apply staining or a clear finish. You can also opt to leave it natural.
If you love sitting outside and enjoying the fresh air, the Lakeland Mills Cedar Log Rocking Chair is the comfort chair you need. Made with a high back and contoured seat slats, this cedar outdoor furniture item is not only comfortable but has a great rustic look. It is ranked as one of the best Adirondack chairs available!
- Gives more comfort as they sit much higher off the ground
- Curved seat slats are more comfortable
- Can be beautifully finished using penetrating oil
- Turns into a beautiful silver-gray when left to weather naturally
The cedar Adirondack chairs have become synonymous with comfort as they fit very well in many places of rest. One of the best Adirondack chairs is the Lakeland Mills Cedar Log Lounge Chair, Natural. This piece of cedar log furniture brings an atmosphere of rustic nostalgia to your space.
Cedar makes great tables, especially outdoor patio and picnic tables such as the popular All Things Cedar 6' Picnic Table with Attached Benches. To give more stability, this multipurpose rustic cedar furniture piece has a wide-legged A-frame design.
Depending on your personal preference, you may want to leave the table-bench to age gracefully into a beautiful silver grey. You can also finish this cedar patio furniture with good penetrating oil.
Even when you have plenty of visitors, this cedar patio table with benches will comfortably hold them. It is sturdy as it features a pair of long bench seats attached firmly to the frame. Solid Western Cedar has been used to construct the frame that also has thick planks.
In addition, a protective natural finish has been applied that protects your All Things Cedar 6' Picnic Table from water-related damage. It is no wonder that this is a popular version of an outdoor rustic table for many people.
More Things Cedar Wood Is Used For
Besides making great products like cedar table units and Adirondack chairs, cedarwood has other uses. For example, cedarwood essential oil extract is also excellent at naturally repelling bugs. The cedarwood essential oil benefits are many and varied. They are largely attributed to the natural properties of this natural oil.
Today the market has many outstanding products such as Sun Organic Cedarwood Best Essential Oil. This cedarword essential oil product is made using high-quality ingredients that have been carefully harvested.
- Good for aromatherapy purposes
- No added chemicals
- Boosts mood & improves energy levels
- High-quality soothing fragrance
- Sun Organic is available in over 100 other scents, too!
Often, irritability and fatigue are a result of a combination of different factors that are hard to pinpoint and even harder to deal with. Instead of making wild guesses or taking unhealthy medicines why not try Sun Organic Cedarwood Best Essential Oil. The natural and pure aroma-therapeutic scent of this essential oil cedarwood easily clears your mind and revitalizes the body.
Wondercide EcoTreat - Natural Outdoor Pest Control Concentrate
A leading product in terms of controlling pests is Wondercide EcoTreat - Natural Outdoor Pest Control Concentrate. This cedar oil spray repels pests and when they come into contact with its contents, they die. You can even wash clothes in this concentrate so that even when you are outdoors, it acts as an insect repellant.
- Very effective against most pests
- Doesn’t stain or leave residue
- Works with any applicator
- Safe for gardens & flowers, bees, and ladybugs
- 100% biodegradable
Apart from dealing with those annoying yard or garden pests, Wondercide Flea & Tick is also effective at stopping the insect’s growth stages from successfully taking place. It will halt the egg, larvae growth and the pupae from hatching. This cedar oil for flea’s product effectively deals with these irritating bugs to ensure you are comfortable. This cedar wood oil concentrate can be used in a compressor, fogger, hose end sprayer, irrigation system, mister or in the laundry.
The Cedars of Lebanon
The ancient Egyptians and Sumerians got their essential oil from the historical Cedars of Lebanon. This is a true cedar that is native to the Middle East but also found in the US western and eastern mountains. During Pharaoh Snefru’s reign around (2,000 B.C.), records show that a fleet of 40 ships left for Egypt carrying logs of Lebanese Cedar. The early Sumerians used Cedarwood Oil as the base for their paints.
Albert J. Constantine, Jr., famous wood historian and author notes that alone, the Old Testament cites the Cedar Tree nearly 50 times. Psalms 92:12 of the Holy Bible reads, "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon."
According to the legend, King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem was built using the Cedars of Lebanon. It was also used by Alexander the Great for building his ships. In Lebanon today, the tree is a symbol of immortality and tolerance. In the country’s flag, the Cedar occupies a central position. Remnants of what the once a vast forest today remain under protection in the Cedars of Lebanon National Park which is located to the north of Beirut.
The Most Common Cedar Tree Species
To many woodworkers, cedar is their top choice when they want to build decks and other rustic outdoor items. Others rank it high for cigar humidors or for lining closets. You may ask why this one type of wood could be so versatile. The answer lies in the fact that the Cedar Tree is available in several varieties. Each variety comes with different and unique properties suitable for different uses.
Northern White Cedar
This type of cedar is sometimes referred to as the “Tree of Life.” Northern White Cedar grows 50' tall with trunk diameters reaching 2 meters. It does well in the northeastern part of the United States, and in southeastern Canada. It resists insect infestation and decay making it suitable for outdoor furniture and projects like decking, posts, shingles or Adirondack furniture.
This wood is also loved by canoe and boat builders. Compared to the Western Red Cedar, the northern variety is less dense which contributes to good workability when using hand and power tools.
Western Red Cedar
This is a member of the cypress cedar family. It thrives in areas covering southern Alaska all through to northern California. It also found in the US Rocky Mountains. The trees can grow as tall as 200' and a trunk diameter measuring 10'. In the making of sidings, decks, and shingles, and outdoor furniture like rustic outdoor table units, Western Red Cedar reigns supreme. This is because it’s naturally resistant to decay and repels water well.
The light weight and low density make it easy for wood workers to cut and shape. The heartwood of the Western Red Cedar bears a reddish-brown consistent tone, at times tinged with a pink shade.
Eastern Red Cedar (Aromatic)
This tree is also a member of the cypress family. In America, it usually grows to a height of between 20' to 40', with some attaining 100' or more. It is found across the eastern US region. Eastern Red Cedar is often referred to as "Aromatic Cedar" due to its strong and pungent natural oils. Many people use it for lining their hope chests and closets as it said to ward off bugs. Aromatic cedar is widely used in making cedar oil spray products and other natural pests control products.
Eastern Red Cedar works easily whether using power tools or hands. Pencil makers particularly like using this wood, just like producers of wooden souvenir novelties. The heartwood has a pinkish-red tone or the occasional purplish tinge that has streaks of deep reddish-brown. When used for furniture items, you will get best finishing results when you use a lacquer or polyurethane.
This is the only hardwood in this tree group. It grows in South and Central America. It has now been introduced in Florida. This Cedar can grow up to 100' in height. Spanish cedar is used for lots of applications such as cabinetry, wooden windows, and furniture. It is also liked by builders of lightweight racing boats. This is because they find it useful in designing sleekly curved hulls.
Though not commonly found in Europe or the United States, Spanish cedar is a choice wood for cigar humidors lining as it resists moisture. The lightweight wood from Spanish cedar is easy to machine as well as finish. Spanish cedar has a tone that can turn from pinkish to reddish-brown but over time it will darken.
Also referred to as Alaska cedar, this species of the cedar family thrives in the US Pacific Northwest all the way from Alaska to British Columbia through to Oregon. The wood is dense and hard, with tight rings that display its slow rate of growth. However, the wood from Yellow Cedar remains lightweight which gives it a strength-to-weight ratio that is impressive. In color, Yellow cedar ranges from creamy white to yellow sulfur, with random dark streaks.
Yellow cedar was used by Native Americans to build durable light canoe paddles and lots of other useful items. Because of its remarkable sound quality, designers of stringed musical instruments today greatly prize the wood from Yellow cedar. Builders of boats use the wood for railings, decks, and interior paneling. The wood machines beautifully, stains and glues well. Over time, it develops into a satiny sheen.
Cedar is ranked high among the most durable woods in the world. It possesses natural resistance to decay, insect damage, and moisture. Its stability is almost twice that of the widely used softwoods because of its low shrinkage and density characteristics. It produces lightweight long lengths of timber that has a uniform texture and fine straight grain. These features make working with common tools easy.
Since it retains much of its moisture, rather than dry out, cedarwood becomes more resistant to cracking, an attribute not found in most other woods. This is good for it gives your rustic cedar log furniture durability even when it remains exposed to the elements.
Easy to Work With
Cedar is one of the lightest commercial woods. Working with this wood is easy. It holds paint well and glues admirably. Cedarwood experiences little dimensional change. The wood is also resistant to subterranean termites and decay. It is soft with low mechanical properties like nail holding abilities and bending strength.
It is finely textured and even-grained. You can also plane cedarwood to a fine-smooth surface or even machined to your choice pattern. In addition, wood from the cedar tree provides an excellent base for lots of paints and stains as it is devoid of pitch and resin.
Although cedarwood has largely been used in making rustic cedar outdoor furniture, fencing and posts, you can also use it for making poles, cabin logs, shingles, lumber, and other specialty wood products. When properly finished, your cedarwood furniture items will serve you for decades even when used in harsh environments like outdoors.
Cedarwood is known for longevity and makes an excellent choice for diverse applications. The natural resistance of cedar to decay, moisture, and insect infestation has made makes it more resilient and suitable for outdoor applications such as Adirondack chairs and cedar patio tables.
Aromatic and Health Benefits
Cedarwood has a pleasant aromatic odor unique to “Cedars”. Because of this characteristic odor, cedarwood oil is often used in insecticides, cleansers, and disinfectants, and insecticides, among many other applications. Its pungent aromatic oils and distinct aroma are believed to discourage the infestation of moths and carpet beetle larvae. These factors have contributed towards making cedarwood a premier choice for numerous exterior and interior applications.
Cedarwood essential oil is obtained through a process of steam distillation. This can be chopped pieces of the logs, wood shavings, stumps, or even sawdust. The best part about the steam distillation process is that once the oil has been extracted, the wood fiber that remains can still be useful in making other products.
Cedarwood produces oils that give it an appealing and distinctive aroma. The oil is made up of a group of compounds that are chemically related. These include Cedrene and Cedrol which contribute to the pleasant and pungent odor. When used in aromatherapy, cedarwood essential oil is believed to transmit messages to your brain area that controls the nervous system as well as emotions.
Cedarwood oil has lots of other health benefits:
- Helps in managing acne, eczema, and dandruff
- Good for septic and fungal infections
- Assist in controlling cough, phlegm plus and other colds & cough symptoms
- Useful when you got headaches, watery & red eyes
- God for arthritis, rheumatism, and gout
- Helps fight asthma, respiratory seizures, obesity & hypertension
- Combats restless leg syndrome & other spasmodic conditions
- Eases anxiety & tension
- Good for your urinary tract infections
- Assists with side effects & pain associated with menstruation
- Good for toothaches
The uses for cedarwood essential oil are endless and using is in general safe. However, I recommend you take extra precautions, especially when doing it for the first time. The oil should never get into your eyes, inner ears or other sensitive body parts. Cedarwood oil must never be ingested.
However, similar to lots of other essential oils, it should not be used on or by infants. In addition, pregnant women should refrain from it using as it could trigger pregnancy complications. Some of the cedarwood essential oil products may cause allergic or irritation if you have sensitive skin. It is therefore wise to first carry out a patch test. Before you to proceed to use any essential oil for therapeutic purposes, I recommend you first conduct an allergy patch test or even consult your doctor.
Over the centuries, different societies have used essential oil for diverse purposes. In Grecian and Egyptian civilizations, oil from the Red Cedar Tree was used in body embalming. In Asia, it was extensively used for medicinal purposes. Even today, temples in Tibet use it as incense.
Cedarwood oil is often used as a key ingredient for perfumes, detergents, cleaners, sprays, antiseptic herbal creams, and insect repellent. The essential oil may also be used when you want to boost your skin and hair. Many people have relied on cedarwood oil for certain diseases and for boosting the body's systems.
Cedarwood oil has been used by man for many years to repel mosquitoes and other insects. The natural pests control products made using cedar oil works well both indoors and outdoors. When you sprinkle cedar oil on your beddings at night, it keeps away those pesky bugs that come alive only at night.
Because of its unique natural properties such as durability and resistance to rot and decay, the Cedar Tree is an excellent choice for different furniture applications. The natural resistance to insect manifestations, rot and decay make Cedar much more resilient for your outdoor applications. It is particularly suitable for outdoor furniture items like tables, Adirondack and lounge chairs. When properly finished, you can be assured that your cedar furniture will serve you for several decades even when used in harsh environments like outdoors. On top of that, the essential oils produced by the Cedar Tree give your furniture items a pleasant and distinctive aroma.