Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Yellow Cedar

The wood I am using for contrast is Yellow Cedar, Chamaecyparis nootkatensis. This wood is a pale yellow in colour, in contrast to the dark brown/red of the Western Red Cedar which makes up the rest of the hull. The name is a bit confusing as it is a cypress rather than a cedar (thanks to Rod for clearing that up for me). When I first started working with yellow cedar I was struck by the difference in smell and working characteristics as compared to the red cedar. I thought they were different varieties of the same thing so I expected some common ground in the wood characteristics. The yellow cedar has a more uniform appearance and texture, and is much less likely to split along the grain as I whittle a taper onto the end of a strip. The most striking difference though (other than appearance) is the smell. I expected something cedar-like in smell but being a cypress rather than cedar the smell is quite different.

The strips of yellow cedar I have (purchased from Orca Boats) are also of a much better quality than the red cedar strips (purchased from some guy off the net). The red cedar strips vary somewhat in thickness and width, and have places on most strips where the cove is not properly cut all the way, or where the bead is off center, or there are bumps along the bead. I gather that some of this is normal, and I did get a pretty good deal on the wood so I'm not dissapointed, but next time I may make my own strips or make use of the fancy new set up of the folks over at Kisseynew Canoe Co.