Deodar Cedar -- What's It Good For?

A little information but few answers about an ornamental Cedar variety that sometimes finds its way to a sawmill. December 30, 2007

I received a call to look at a large downed Deodar cedar in a friend's yard. Can anyone tell me what this wood's uses are?

Here is what the tree looks like. The base is a bit over 24" in diameter. The power company cut it out of their wires, but the cable and phone company still have to do their thing, then I will get the butt log when it dries out a bit.

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Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Basically, in the US this is an ornamental tree and has no commercial value. It is Cedrus deodara. If you Google this name, you may be able to find someone in England or India that has worked with this species. However, if it is indeed an ornamental planting, stresses and poor form will make this unattractive for sawing.

From contributor B:
I have about 10 of these waiting in my log yard. Since they are mine, they don't reach the sawmill as fast as those of customers. Deodar cedar is very rot resistant. It is also very aromatic. I turned a small piece and my shop smelled like the wood for a long time.

From the original questioner:

Here is the butt log. It is 16' long and 36" at the base by 24", top. I got 3 other 8' logs tapering off to about 10". I cannot find anything on using this for lumber. The Lebanon cedar is its cousin and it was extensively used for its wood - including Solomon's Temple - so I will give it a try. It has quite a few large limbs that will produce some very bad knots that worry me. I plan to cut the 16' log into 6x12 and 8x12 beams that can be used as such or resawn to other thicknesses when I figure out what to make with it.

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The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor R:
I have milled many deodar cedars at California Urban Lumber. It is a very stable wood, and smaller logs normally yield better quality material. The twenty five inch diameter plus logs have huge knots. I have heard that chainsaw carvers like it. It makes wonderful drawer boxes and paneling. Scratch it a bit and the aroma is wonderful. I'm not sure of insect resistance, but I have never seen so much as a spider on the lumber. It does not stain well - too much pitch.