Sawing and Drying Cedar

Cedar is forgiving because of its natural rot resistance. Here's some advice on handling it. May 13, 2013

I am looking to fell and dry cedar. I want to cut it into lumber and use it for siding and to make some outdoor furniture. I live in southwestern Kentucky and would like info on sawing (probably with a chainsaw) and the definition of "cross stacking logs" for air drying.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor M:
If you're thinking of drying the logs first, then milling, you're going to regret that decision. Mill the logs and dry the lumber, pretty much like you would any pine lumber, neatly stickered every 18 to 24 inches with stickers on the ends. Pile in the shade if you can and cover pile with a roof that does not stop airflow through the sides. Lots of weight on top.

From contributor C:
ERC is different than other species, especially pine. You can cut and leave the logs for up to 2 years. You may see a little damage in the sapwood from beetles. You can make 3 sided cants and stack with stickers between for several years. Many of the logs we saw have been in the yard for years waiting for the right order. They will not bow or warp. They will dry to about 12 percent during a summer. Do not store under trees, but keep in open. It wouldn't hurt to put something over the top, but not on the sides. Or saw into lumber and sticker. Will stay good for many years.

From contributor G:
I just cut up a big cedar that had been standing dead for three years. It cut just fine and the resulting boards are sound. They are dry so I stacked them without stickers. Got two big ones I will use as the main part of a book-matched door.

From contributor Y:
You have to mill the cedar into smaller size and seal their ends. You have to air stack them with stickers, which are thin strips of wood that allow air to circulate, and cover them with plastic before you place them under the sun. This prevents cracking as cedar is prone to cracking when they are drying. It will take about a year before you can use it to make furniture and other stuff. You can check through a moisture meter if you already attained the right moisture for the wood.