Cedrela huberi, odorata, fissilis
Despite its name, Spanish Cedar is not only a hardwood (and therefore not a Cedar at all), but it is also not Spanish. The wood actually comes from the Meliaceae family, along with Mahogany and grows throughout South America.
Spanish Cedar is similar to Genuine Mahogany in its beautiful coloration, attractive grain pattern, and great workability. The wood’s grain is usually quite straight and works well with both hand and power tools.
Spanish Cedar Wood Uses
Spanish Cedar is also known as Cigar-box Cedar, as this was one of its traditional uses. The wood’s natural aroma repels insects, and the high resin count makes it very weather and rot resistant. Due to its low density, the lumber is quite lightweight, which makes this wood highly sought after as a high quality exterior grade species. But the high resin content is also what makes it a great exterior project wood. Spanish cedar wood is often found in pergolas and other outdoor structures. Here the lightweight nature of the species plays a major role when working with larger timber sizes.
However, because of its low density, which is caused by its slow growth rate, it is not quite as stable as some of the types of wood for which it is often substituted, including Genuine Mahogany.
If special attention is given during kiln drying, the tendency towards warpage and weeping can be avoided; not every lumber wholesaler, though, has the right equipment for properly drying this wood. At J. Gibson McIlvain, we have some of the only kilns in North America capable of achieving just the right temperature to set the sap while not over drying and hardening it, which can cause stability problems later on.
Spanish Cedar Lumber Characteristics
|Max Crushing Strength||3100||6010||psi|
|Work to Maximum Load||7||13||in-lbs/in3|
Spanish Cedar Sustainability
Spanish Cedar has been listed as a CITES appendix II species due to its increasing popularity (combined with its slow growth rate), and although availability is still high, the quality of some lumber dealers’ Cedar is dropping.
At McIlvain, we focus on finding the right balance between environmental protection and customer satisfaction by sourcing from both plantation and certified sources that grow high quality material. The positive attributes of the wood are what make it so popular, and compromising those characteristics for the sake of obtaining greater quantities at a lower price is not a step we are prepared to take. Our customers tell us that we carry some of the finest Spanish Cedar they’ve ever encountered, and we intend to keep it that way.