Tension in a Leaning Cedar

Advice on how to saw a cedar that is leaning over. April 18, 2009

I have a client with a leaning incense cedar. It leans about 10-15 degrees to one side. My question is; does the tree have too much tension in the wood to be usable for lumber (will it split, crack and warp making it useless for lumber)? I plan on using an Alaskan mill to mill out 1" boards to line my closet with. I will screw and glue the 1x to OSB.

Forum Responses
(Forestry Forum)
From contributor I:
If the tree has only recently leaned over (storm or root damage) then it will be ok. If it's grown on a lean then it will contain reaction wood to some degree. It's probably worth cutting anyway as the low shrinkage of cedar makes it less likely to warp or check. If you air dry it with some weight on the stack it should be ok for what you want to do.

From contributor K:
I am with contributor I on this one, and would just like to note that you will know when you are into the reaction wood, because it will fuzz like crazy. If I were sawing for myself, I would just cut out that part and throw it away so that it is not pulling against the good wood around it.

From contributor C:
Incense cedar is rarely sold on the open market green, always kiln dried, as opposed to western red, which is sold green in the decking grades to a large extent. The reason - incense is more prone to warp when air drying than western red. Western red does tend to end check more than incense.

Many competitive items have their drawbacks, such as spruce framing lumber warps, but hem-fir stays straight, but splits are a bigger problem with hem-fir.

From contributor Y:
Don't fret the lean. It would be better for you to take the log to a local sawyer after you fell it - you'll get a lot more yield out of it. Also, I have to disagree - ERC is rarely kiln dried. It air dries quickly and reaches EMC quicker than almost any wood on the planet.

From contributor C:
I totally agree with you on ERC. However I stated incense cedar is usually kiln dried, not ERC.