Calocedrus decurrens (Torr.) Florin

(syn. Libocedrus decurrens Torr.)


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Family: Cupressaceae


Incense-Cedar



The genus Calocedrus contains about ten species native to North America [1], South America [1] and the western Pacific from New Zealand to China [8]. It is sometimes placed in the genus, Libocedrus. The word libocedrus is from the Greek, drop or tear, and Cedrus cedar, referring to the resin drops. The word decurrens means decurrent, referring to the scale leaves running down the twig.

Other Common Names:Amerikaanse potlood-ceder, bastard cedar, California calocedar, California incense cedar, California post cedar, Californische witte ceder, cedar, cedre a crayons, cedro bianco, cedro bianco di California, cedro de incienso, geurende ceder, heyderie, incense cedar, juniper, Kalifornisch fluss-zeder, libocedro, libocedro de California, libocedro dell'america, pencil cedar, post cedar, red cedar, rod-ceder, roughbark cedar, weihrauch-zeder, weihrauchzeder, white cedar, Witte cedar.

Distribution: Incense-cedar is native to the mountains from western Oregon in higher Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada to southern California and extreme western Nevada. Also in northern Baja Peninsula of Mexico.

The Tree: Incense-cedar trees commonly reach heights of 100 feet, with diameters of 5 feet and an age of 500 years. Record trees reach 150 feet in height, with 9 foot diameters.

General Wood Characteristics: The sapwood of Incense-cedar is a creamy white, while the heartwood is light brown to light reddish brown. The heartwood has an aromatic, spicy odor, and is highly resistant to decay, even in the wettest of conditions. It holds paint extremely well, has an unusually straight grain, and has high dimensional stability. It also has a low coefficient of thermal conductivity, that is, it works well in structures that are kept dry but are subjected to considerable temperature fluctuations. It works well with hand tools and machines well, forming smooth surfaces. It glues and nails well, but blunt nails should be used to avoid splintering the wood. It is rated as moderately low to low in strength, shock resistance, stiffness

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.35; air-dry density (air-dry weight/air-dry volume) 24 lb/ft3.

Mechanical Properties (2-inch standard)





Compression






MOE

x10 6 lbf/in2

MOR

lbf/in 2

Parallel

lbf/in 2

Perpendicular

lbf/in 2

WML a

in-lbf/in 3

Hardness

lbf

Shear

lbf/in 2

Green

0.35

0.84

6200

3150

370

6.4

390

830

12%

0.37

1.04

8000

5200

590

5.4

470

880

aWML = Work to maximum load.

Reference (12)

Drying and Shrinkage

Type of shrinkage

Percentage of shrinkage (green to final moisture content)

0% MC

6% MC

20% MC

Tangential

5.9

4.2

1.7

Radial

3.3

2.6

1.1

Volumetric

7.7

6.1

2.5

References: 0% MC (10) 6% (12) and 20% MC (11).

Kiln Drying Schedulesa

Conventional temperature/moisture content-controlled schedulesa

Condition

4/4, 5/4 stock

6/4 stock

8/4 stock

10/4 stock

12/4 stock

British schedule 4/4 stock

Standard

T11-B5

NA

T10-B4

NA

NA

NA




aReference (2, 10).

Conventional temperature/time-controlled schedulesa


Lower grades

Upper grades


Condition

4/4, 5/4 stock

6/4 stock

8/4 stock

4/4, 5/4 stock

6/4 stock

8/4 stock

12/4, 16/4 stock

Standard

290

290

289

290

290

289

296

aReferences (2, 10).

Working Properties: Incense-cedar works well with hand tools and machines well, forming smooth surfaces. It glues and nails well, but blunt nails should be used to avoid splintering the wood.

Durability: Incense cedar is rated as resistant or very resistant to heartwood decay.

Preservation: No information available at this time.

Uses: Incense-cedar is used principally for lumber and fence posts. Nearly all high grade lumber is used for pencils (#1 species for pencil stock) and venetian blinds. Some is used for chests and toys. Other products are poles and split shingles. It is also used for sheathing under stucco or brick veneer construction, mudsills, rafters, window sashes, greenhouse benches, nursery flats, boardwalks, grave linings, casket shooks, exterior siding, sheathing subflooring, interior paneling, closet lining, pencils, "mothproof" chests, novelties, rails, grape stakes, trellises feed troughs, farm outbuildings, and fuel wood.

Toxicity: May cause contact dermatitis and/or eczema (3, 8& 13).

Additional Reading & References Cited (in parentheses):

1. Anderson, A. B. and Zavarin, E. The influence of extractives on tree properties III. Incense cedar

( Libocedrus decurrens Torrey). Journal of The Institute of Wood Science. 1965; 15:3-24.

2. Boone, R. S.; Kozlik, C. J.; Bois, P. J., and Wengert, E. M. Dry kiln schedules for commercial woods - temperate and tropical. Madison, WI: USDA Forest Service, FPL-GTR-57; 1988.

3. Hausen, B. M. Woods injurious to human health. A manual. New York, NY: Walter de Gruyter; 1981.

4. Henderson, F. Y. A handbook of softwoods. London: HMSO; 1977.

5. Hyam, R. and Pankhurst, R. Plant and their names. A concise dictionary. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press; 1995.

6. Little, jr. E. L. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Washington, DC: USGPO, USDA Forest Service, Ag. Handbook No. 541; 1979.

7. McDonald, P. M. Incense-Cedar... an American wood. Washington, DC, USA.: USDA Forest Service, FS-226; 1973.

8. Mitchell, J. and Rook, A. Botanical dermatology: plants and plant products injurious to the skin. Vancouver, BC: Greenglass Ltd.; 1979.

9. Powers, R. F. and Oliver, W. W. Libocedrus decurrens Torr. Incense-Cedar. in: Burns, R. M. and Honkala, B. H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Volume 1, Conifers. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service; 1990; pp. 173-180.

10. Simpson, W. T. Dry kiln operator's manual. Madison, WI: USDA Forest Service, FPL Ag. Handbook No. 188; 1991.

11. Summitt, R. and Sliker, A. CRC handbook of materials science. Vol. 4. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc.; 1980.

12. USDA. Wood handbook: wood as an engineering material. Madison, WI: USDA Forest Service, FPL Ag. Handbook No. 72; 1974.

13. Woods, B. and Calnan, C. D. Toxic woods. British Journal of Dermatology. 1976; 95(13):1-97.