Species

Wood, Steel & Glas, Inc.

Contrary to many lumber yards that carry whatever is readily available, the selection process for the wood species we supply is based on three decades of building experience as well as advice from forestry professors and the Forest Products Laboratory.  We base our selections on qualitative analysis, architectural performance and species comparison research.

We have taken into account decay resistance, aesthetics, machinability, and other physical properties such as shrinkage coefficients, nail holding ability and susceptibility to splitting. Recognizing that wood is a special and important building material necessitates differentiating between species depending on application.  The first step to achieving a quality application is to use a quality wood.  The following is a list of species we mill along with brief history and physical characteristics for each.  Scroll down to read a brief history, ecology and building importance for each species.

 
Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis Thyoides)
Exceptional decay resistance, excellent stability, resistance to splintering, weathers to silver gray
Recommended applications - Siding, Decking, Trim, Boat & Canoe Planking, Fencing, Furniture
Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) - Tree of life
Exceptional decay resistance, excellent stability, resistance to splintering, weathers to silver gray
Recommended applications - Siding, Decking, Trim, Boat & Canoe Planking, Fencing, Furniture
Swamp or Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
Uncompromisingly beautiful - Frank Lloyd Wright's favorite wood
Recommended applications - Interior paneling, trim & millwork
Old Growth Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
Same beauty but richer than new-growth cypress this wood also has exceptional decay resistance Recommended applications - Exterior Decking, Interior paneling, trim, millwork & flooring
Old Growth Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
Exceptional decay resistance, excellent stability
Recommended applications - Exterior Decking & Siding, Interior paneling, trim & millwork

Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis Thyoides)

Discovered by America's first settlers, Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) has long been prized for its decay, insect and fungus resistance.  Once plentiful along the Atlantic seaboard, it is now only found in a narrow belt from southern Maine to Southeastern Mississippi.  Although white cedar occurs over a fairly large range, pure stands are small and often isolated.  It  is most common on the coastal plain and grows in the deep peat of freshwater swamps.  Under optimum growing conditions, white cedar trees need fifty years to reach a diameter of 9-11 inches and a height of 50-70 feet.  At maturity, white cedar trees might reach a diameter of 5 feet and have a height of 120 feet.  Unlike its redwood and cypress relatives, chamaecyparis is not believed to have the potential to be long lived, as their shallow root system leaves them susceptible to wind damage.  White cedar has been prized by generations of craftsmen for its beauty and its durability.  The heartwood is light brown with a reddish or pinkish tinge: the sapwood is narrow and whitish in color.  It is generally straight grained, fine textured, light in weight and highly aromatic.  Unlike its red cedar relatives (and many other species), white cedar, left to weather naturally, turns a mellow, almost metallic silver, rather than gray or black.  And while it holds paint and transparent finishes beautifully, it is the traditional soft pewter gray color when weathered that sets white cedar apart from its competitors.

BEAUTY & DURABILITY

Traditionally, white cedar has been used as an exterior siding material.  Early Americans found that white cedar buildings met the elements and proved themselves a match for sun, rain, and even blowing sand.  Along the rugged eastern seaboard today there are houses that were sided with white cedar more than a century ago, remarkable for their clean, handsome lines and sturdy structure.  During the first 50 years of this century the principal uses for white cedar included poles, wooden ware (tubs and barrels), and lumber as well as siding.  The lumber became mill stock for moldings, water tanks, fencing, and fine wooden boat construction.

 

Wood, Steel & Glas, Inc.
9 Old Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
Tel  203 245 1781
Fax  203 245 0755
email: info@whitecedar.com 
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Updated May 25, 1998
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