Wood Species Guide

Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar

Scientific Name: Juniperus virginiana

Other Names and Species: Aromatic Cedar, Red Juniper

Origin: Native to North and Central America, West Indies, Bermuda, and the Old World

Appearance: Eastern red cedar is marked by a thin, white sapwood, while the heartwood can be red to deep reddish-brown. Depending on the cut, the sapwood may appear in contrasting alternate stripes with the heartwood. It has a straight grain with tight knots, which can add to the beauty of the wood.

Properties: Although the wood is fairly low in strength and stiffness, it ranks high in shock resistance and has good dimensional stability. It is believed that the pleasant scent of the wood acts as a natural insect repellent; in any case, the heartwood of eastern red cedar is highly resistant to decay and attack by insects, including termites.

Workability: With its moderate hardness, eastern red cedar is easy to work with both hand and machine tools. It has good nailing and gluing properties, but it splits easily.

Principal Uses: Familiar in the home as a Christmas tree, eastern red cedar is also used for flooring, furniture such as chests, wardrobes, and closet linings, fenceposts, pencils, and small boats. Oil from the wood (cedrol) is used in the making of medicines and perfumes.