There are many different cedars available, and they are often used interchangeably varying in use for outdoor structures, furniture, siding and more. Western Red Cedar, Northern White Cedar, Yellow Cedar, (aromatic) Eastern Red Cedar, and Spanish Cedar are all respectable choices. Cedar’s straight grain, rot resistance, insect repellency, light weight, high strength, and thermal efficiency make it the ideal choice for outdoor use.
Black Hills Adirondack chooses Western Red Cedar because it generally has higher oil content with greater density than other cedars; it has 80% the strength of oak and only half the weight. This member of the Cypress family grows from Southern Alaska to Northern California and in the Rockies. It is common for trees to reach 200 feet tall with diameters of 10 feet. Black Hills Adirondack uses 100% reclaimed and recycled Western Red Cedar in all of its furniture products.
- All Black Hills Adirondack outdoor furniture is constructed out of full 1" thick kiln dried western red cedar, a very high quality outdoor wood that is affordable. Western red cedar is a naturally lustrous wood featuring a rich reddish hue; it is aromatic; it is filled with naturally occurring oils that act as preservatives against both decay and insects. If left untreated, it will turn a silvery gray color over time but keep its structural integrity.
- Stability: Cedar is lightweight, dimensionally stable, and naturally resistant to splitting, cupping, and warping. Cedar is easy to handle, and can be cut, shaped, and accepts screws easily. It remains flat and stays straight - cedar warps little to none compared to other woods. Which means Western Red Cedar resists the natural tendency to crack and check, as you might find in many other wood species.
- Natural Wood Preservative: Cedar's natural preservative oil eliminates the need for further chemical treatments, unless the wood is in direct contact with the ground. Western Red Cedar fibers contain oils that act as natural preservatives to help the wood resist rot and decay making it excellent furniture material for moist or humid climates. Many folks prefer to allow their cedar furniture to "naturally age" outdoors without any finish at all. Over time the color will weather to a handsome silver-gray highlighted by darker streaks, and the grain of the wood will become slightly raised. Western Red Cedar is superior to White Cedar, as contains much more of the natural acidic tannins that help to preserve western red cedar. This means that Western Red Cedar lasts naturally longer. These properties also make Cedar a very popular material for hot tub, Jacuzzi and sauna areas.
- Insect Repellant: There are a number of natural organic compounds - including thuja plicins -that give off that distinct cedar aroma that makes the wood highly unattractive to insects, moths and other pests.
- Native American Uses: Western Red Cedar has been called "the cornerstone of Northwest Coast aboriginal culture," and has great spiritual significance. Traditionally, Pacific Coastal Indians used all parts of the tree. They used the wood for dugout canoes, house planks, bentwood boxes, clothing, and many tools such as arrow shafts, masks, and paddles. The inner bark made rope, mats, nets, clothing, and baskets. The long arching branches were twisted into rope and baskets. Various parts of the cedar tree were also used for many medicinal cures.
- White Cedar vs Western Red Cedar: Although White Cedar possesses similar properties of western red cedar, (which makes them both the desired woods for outdoor use), it contains much less of the natural acidic tannins that help to preserve western red cedar. Therefore white cedar will not last quite as long as western red cedar unless properly finished.
- A NATURAL ALTERNATIVE TO CHEMICALLY TREATED WOOD. Pressure-treating DOES NOT claim to prevent UV damage from the sun, nor warping and splitting, due to shrinking and swelling caused by water, sun and air contact. Treated lumber distorts the look of finishes, many processes have a green tinge in the wood (some folks think this is mold or dirt - but this look is actually the finished product). Treated lumber is great for a deck or fence, but just doesn't finish well for furniture use. Cedar is naturally decay and insect resistant, so there is no need for it to be pressure treated with harmful chemicals. Because it is not pressure treated, there is no need to paint your furniture to cover up the look of pressure treated wood.
It is best to finish your Black Hills Adirondack furniture when it is new prior to normal regular use and exposure to the outdoor elements. The goal in finishing is to preserve the newness as long as possible. Most people believe that finishing is a labor worth the investment. Western Red Cedar should be lightly sanded with 150 or 180 grit sandpaper prior to applying any stain , primer, penetrating oil, or urethane varnish . Furniture that is less than six months old that has not been placed in service only needs to be wiped down with mineral spirits to remove service oils. Allow to dry about one hour after wiping down. (Sanded Cedar should still be wiped with mineral spirits for best results). When painting is preferred, an exterior grade high quality stain blocking primer should be applied (READ THE LABEL).
Now you’re ready to apply the finish of choice. Purchase a high quality finish designed to be used for docks, decks and exterior surfaces only. Thin stains and oils can be applied by brushing or spraying. The easiest way to apply is by using a garden style sprayer. Spray liberally, smooth out drips and runs, and allow to dry. Thicker finish such as spar urethane varnish should be brushed. Check labels for UV inhibitors and mildew preventers as these will offer the best protection for your investment.