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Drying Cedar Wood and Processing it for use

My mother may have to fell a cedar in her garden. We're on clay, it's close to next door's extension which is subsiding.

She's sentimentally attached to it as my late dad planted it. I was wondering about getting it turned it into a piece of furniture, bench/daybed type thing. It's about 12m tall, 40cm diameter at the base. Nice and straight.

When it's felled what's the best way of drying and processing it for use and approx. how long will it take? Are commercial dryers available and how much do they charge?

Thanks in advance.

Not many places do kiln drying in the UK anymore, when we chopped our trees for our wooden floor the only firm we could find that'd take on the kiln drying and converting was Woods of Wales. There may be local firms but it'll take some time and legwork to find one. It took me 6 months of trying before I found Woods of Wales, I don't think they'd do it now though as the owner Kenton Jones has been ill and they've reduced the scale of what they do.

I'll ask around, but in the first instance make sure whoever fells it does it as cleanly as possible, the more twisting and turning it does on it's way down the greater the risk of internal splits

Ta. I'm guessing it will gradually be reduced in height rather than felled.

Gradually reduced in height? That doesn't sound nice, do you mean as part of the felling?

This is someone from UK TreeCare:

"Cedar is one of my favourite timbers for its strong grain structure, colour, stability through the drying process, durability and the way that it acts as an insect repellent (or is that just Cedar of Lebanon?). I would expect even the branches to be ideal for creating garden furniture just as they come off the tree.

I have some beams and fully intend building a timber framed building from them. In that application green beams work well as any twisting as they dry can tighten any loose mortice and tennon joints. see and

I am sure that you will find any number of mobile sawmills local to you but we have a 36" throat, 21 ' bed mobile bandsaw if all else fails."

Kiln drying shouldn't be necessary for future furniture, but would be necessary for near term furniture. Rough milling and covered drying will get you there eventually.

What tree do y'all refer to as cedar over there? Here "white cedar" is Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) and "red cedar" is a type of juniper. Neither are true cedars.

It's most likely a Cedrus, probably C libanii but could be deodara or atlantica

If the only option is to air-dry, then the general rule of thumb is "a year for every inch thick" ie if the boards end up 2" thick then 2 years.

If air dried, the butts need to be stacked on a flat level surface, & the "sticks" should be placed between the board at regular intervals & one above the other, thus keeping the boards from warping, bending etc.
A makeshift roof to deflect the rain is fine, & air flow should be as uninterupted as possible.
Once the timber is sufficiently dry, if the boards are to be used for furniture then depending on where the piece will eventually live, they should spend at least 2 seasons in that environment ie in the front, or the dining room etc.,

hope that's clear

Alternatively, look for someone who can kiln it, even if you have to travel....far quicker !

Only place I knew of was just to the north of Ipswich...the name escapes me

Witnesham saw mill
Mistress Rose

If you want to make furniture, make sure that whoever takes the tree down leaves a long section of the trunk in one piece. The usual way with trees in built up areas is to take them apart in short sections; usually only 2-3' long. Those would be useless to mill, so leave at least the trunk long.

If it is not possible to keep a long section intact, think about something else to make, perhaps a carving, or see if a wood turner could do something with it.
Ty Gwyn

When I`ve seen wooden products here advertised made from Cedar,it states Western Cedar,Thyja Plicata,grown in Columbia,North West.

Not sure what type it is - this is it:

It's need to be in approx. 2.4m section to be useful

Thanks for info so far - anything else appreciated.

Have you put your question to a tree surgeon?

Not got that far yet. Mainly dealing with emotional issues.
Mistress Rose

I would talk to the tree surgeon. It will probably not be possible to take the branches down in long sections, but they are not too good for planking anyway as they tend to be twisted and knotty.

Western red cedar Thuja picata, is a fairly straight tree with small side branches, and I wouldn't think it would be grown near a house. That is the one that is usually used as a timber tree. There are other varieties of 'cedar' like eastern red cedar.

The most likely sort for a garden are the old world cedars, such as Cedar of Lebanon and Atlas Cedar.

Yeah the branches aren't useful. Whatever it is, it's there and needs to be removed.
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