From weekend woodworkers to professional deck builders, almost everyone who knows lumber at all knows that Western Red Cedar is a top choice for exterior applications. But is it the best for all applications? And if you’d rather not use Western Red Cedar, what other quality species are available?
The softwoods specialists at McIlvain Company have experimented with various applications and can give you the direction you need on your next project. You can contact us anytime with your questions and concerns. In the meantime, though, here’s a sampling of our knowledge regarding softwood lumber.
Western Red Cedar
This light species comes with straight graining and warm, reddish coloring. It is rot and water resistant, which is part of what makes it so ideal for exterior siding, decks, trim, and even furniture. It can also be useful in high-quality framing.
This species fluctuates greatly in grade and quality, making sourcing it quite frustrating at times. However, at McIlvain, we carry only clear, C or D and better, straight tight knot (STK) Red Cedar. Instead of risking having sub-par lumber arrive on your job site, you can trust us to provide only the top tier of this lumber.
When timber framing applications require large posts and lengthy beams, Douglas Fir is the best option available. While the term “fir” is actually a misnomer for this West Coast favorite, its Hemlock-like appearance includes a creamy color as well as wonderful stability and weather resistant qualities.
Douglas Fir lumber is the wood of choice for timber framing applications when the dimensions call for massive cuts and extensive lengths. In addition to the delivery challenges posed by obtaining lumber in general, because Douglas Fir only grows in the Pacific West, getting it to your job site can be especially problematic for less experienced lumber companies. At McIlvain, though, we have no problem obtaining the sizes you need and delivering them to you, wherever you are in the nation.
When Western Red Cedar or Douglas Fir isn’t in your budget or when you want something a little different, McIlvain also carries varying quantities of several other softwood species. And even if we don’t have any in our inventory at the time of your inquiry, we’re always happy to special order any amount for your project.
Three of the most popular alternative softwood species that we can provide are Alaskan Yellow Cedar, Cypress, and Port Orford Cedar. Alaskan Yellow Cedar is a slow-growing wood that is harder than most Cedars. Boat builders especially appreciate its high density and strength, but the wood works well in a variety of projects. Cypress is another strong softwood species that is easily workable and rot resistant. Often used for furniture, siding, and decks, it can become a favorite for non-structural exterior applications of all types. Port Orford Cedar is also strong and weather resistant. Also known as Hinoki or Oregon Cypress, it’s a popular choice for Japanese designs.
Whether you’re looking for a softwood species from which to craft long beams for timber framing, premium wood siding, or a weather-resistant deck, McIlvain Lumber Company carries high-quality examples of several options from which you can choose. For over 200 years, McIlvain has been providing countless customers with domestic and exotic hardwood and softwood lumber. For more information on what makes McIlvain an industry leader and to see their full lumber inventory, visit their website today, or check out these selections from their lumber blog: