#66: Alaskan Yellow Cedar

Bird number: 99
Date: September 13, 2012
Wood: Alaskan Yellow Cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis)
Source: Carver in Ohio

This is yet another “cedar” that isn’t a true cedar. I’ve carved a half dozen different woods that are commonly referred to as “cedar,” all of which were Junipers, Pines, or Cypresses. I hope to run across a real cedar one of these days.

The carver who sent this to me said that it’s his favorite carving wood. I carved this figure with the Foredom power carver, but I have another piece that I’m planning to carve with a knife. From the way it carved with power, I suspect that it knife carving will be enjoyable.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar (AYC) is considered one of the finest timber trees. The wood is hard and durable, with good dimensional stability and resistance to weather, insects, and exposure to soil. There are many articles on woodworking sites praising the properties of this wood for many different applications. Due to its high cost, it’s most often used for finish carpentry. It is beautiful stuff.

The second picture turned out very blurry, and I was too lazy to set up and take another. You can see, though, that the wood takes a fine finish. I particularly like the understated grain.

Surprisingly, I didn’t have the same difficulty sanding this wood as I have the other softwoods I’ve worked with. For some reason, I’ve had real trouble getting a good finish on most of the Junipers, Cypresses, and Pines. Not so with this. It acted much more like a hardwood. Curious, that.