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Kreg Plus | June 2016
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CEDAR: A Great Choice for Outdoor Projects

When building outdoor projects, you need to pick the right wood to ensure your project will last. There are a variety of types to choose from, which we discussed in a previous newsletter. In this edition, weíll take a closer look at durable and great-looking cedar. This wood offers many advantages when it comes to building projects that will be exposed to the elements.

Characteristics of Cedar

Cedar is extremely durable; natural preservatives protect it from decay, rot, and insect damage. Itís also quite light compared to other woods, making it easy to transport, cut, and drill.

Cedar is also a very stable wood. That means cedar is resistant to shrinking, warping, twisting, and checking. Remarkably strong, cedar can be used for the structural components of decks and other outdoor projects. And it accepts glue, stain, finish, and paint readily.
Characteristics of Cedar

Buying Cedar

Cedar is available for woodworking and home improvement projects in a variety of forms. You can buy it rough-cut by the board or by the linear foot in various thicknesses at many lumberyards. It also comes in several standard dimensional board sizes, such as 1x, 2x, and even 4x.

In addition, many specialty forms of cedar lumber are available, including deck boards, shingles, tongue and groove siding, fencing, and more.
Buying Cedar

Working with Cedar

The lightness and softness of cedar make it easy to machine; however, its softness can cause some drawbacks. Cedar has a tendency to chip and splinter, so be sure to use sharp blades and bits. Drilling pilot holes for fasteners is a good idea, as cedar can sometimes split when driving in screws or nails.

When assembling cedar, clamp pads are helpful to prevent dents. Itís also important to use the right glue for outdoor projects. Exterior wood glue is an excellent choice, as well as polyurethane glues, epoxies, and exterior construction adhesives, depending on the project.

Working with Cedar

Use the Right Fasteners

Youíll want to be careful about the fasteners you use when assembling projects made from cedar. Metals will react with the tannins in the wood and have a corrosive effect. Choosing fasteners recommended for outdoor use will prevent this problem. We highlight some good options here.

Use the Right Fasteners

Finishing Options

Some people choose to leave cedar unfinished. In this scenario, the wood weathers to a rustic but attractive gray. While it holds up better than most woods when used outdoors, cedar is more durable and lasts even longer when itís stained or painted.

finish-options

A semi-transparent stain offers good protection but still showcases the natural beauty and grain of the wood. An exterior paint offers the most protection.

The Ultimate Outdoor Lumber

If you have any outdoor projects on your list, consider giving cedar a try. This wood is easy to find, great to work with, and should stand up well for years use and enjoyment outdoors.

Safety Note:
Cedar contains a chemical called plicatic acid that can lead to lung irritation and possibly trigger asthma. Be sure to use respirators, dust collectors, and take other safety precautions when working with cedar to prevent inhaling the dust.

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From Kreg and Woodsmith Magazine
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©2016 Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc.

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