Color/Appearance:Heartwood is pale brown or tan, while the narrow sapwood is nearly white. Numerous small knots are common in the wood.
Grain/Texture:Grain is usually straight, with a fine, even texture. Moderate natural luster.
Endgrain: Resin canals absent; earlywood to latewood transition gradual, color contrast medium; tracheid diameter small to very small; zonate parenchyma.
Rot Resistance:Rated as durable to very durable regarding decay resistance; also resistant to termites and powder post beetles.
Workability:Northern White Cedar has good overall working characteristics, and works easily with both hand and machine tools. However, the wood is both soft and weak, giving it poor screw-holding capabilities. Northern White Cedar glues and finishes well.
Odor:Northern White Cedar has a distinct (though moderate) cedar-like smell when being worked.
Allergies/Toxicity:Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Northern White Cedar has been reported to cause skin irritation, runny nose, as well as asthma-like symptoms. Reported by the USDA to be among the most allergenic woods native to the United States. See the articlesWood Allergies and ToxicityandWood Dust Safetyfor more information.
Pricing/Availability: Generally available in smaller sizes of lumber. Prices should be in the mid range for a domestic softwood.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.
Common Uses:Fences, posts, shingles, piles, canoes, outdoor furniture, railroad ties, and paper (pulpwood).