Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

 

this page uses English units of measure

click here to view the file in metric units

 

Family: Cupressaceae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

click to print or download the file in .pdf format

 

Alaska cedar

 

 

 

The genus Chamaecyparis is composed of six species native to Japan, Taiwan, and both coasts of North America. The word chamaecyparis is derived from the Greek chamai (dwarf) and kuparissos (cypress). The name nootkatensis relates to Nootka Sound, on Vancouver Island, B.C., where it was discovered. The other two North American species are Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) and Port Orford cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana).

Chamaecyparis nootkatensis-Alaska cedar, Alaska cypress, Alaska ground cypress, Alaska yellow cedar, Alaska zeder, amerikansk cypress, cedro giallo, cipres americano, cipres nootka, cipresso americano, cipresso americano, cipresso dell'Alasca, cipresso nootka, cipresso nootka, cypres de Nootka faux, cypres du nutka, cypres jaune, faux cypress de nootka, faux cypress de nootka, nootka cypres, nootka chamaecyparis, nootka cypress, Nootka cypress, nootka cypress, nootka false cypress, Nootka Sound cypress, nootka-false cypress, nutka cypres, nutka-cypress, nutka-zypresse, Pacific Coast yellow cedar, Sitka cypress, Sitka yellow-cedar cypress, sitka-zypresse, yellow cedar, yellow cypress.

 

Distribution

The coastal forests from southwestern Alaska through British Columbia to northern California.

The Tree

Alaska cedar trees grow to heights of 120 feet with a six foot diameter (9). Trees from Alaska are frequently older than 300 years, Dominant trees can be from 300 to over 700 years old, with a record of over 1,040 years(5)

The Wood

General

The sapwood is narrow and slightly lighter than the bright, clear yellow heartwood. It has a slight odor best described as "raw potatoes". The wood is moderately heavy, soft, fine textured, straight grained, easily worked and durable. It is rated as moderate in strength, stiffness, hardness and shock resistance.

 

 

Mechanical Properties (2-inch standard)

 

 

 

 

Compression

 

 

 

 

Specific

gravity

MOE

x106 lbf/in2

MOR

lbf/in2

Parallel

lbf/in2

Perpendicular

lbf/in2

WMLa

in-lbf/in3

Hardness

lbf

Shear

lbf/in2

Green

0.42

1.14

6,400

3,500

350

9.2

440

840

Dry

0.44

1.42

11,100

6,310

620

10.4

580

1,130

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

6.0

4.8

2.0

Radial

2.8

2.2

0.9

Volumetric

9.2

7.4

3.1

References: 0% MC (12),
6% 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

T12-A3

NA

T11-A2

NA

NA

J

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

287

290

290

287

290

290

NA

aReferences (2,10).

Working Properties: The timber of Alaska cedar is readily worked by both hand and machine tools. Their is a slight dulling effect on cutting edges, but it usually finishes very well. In lumber with a wavy grain, there is a tendency for the grain to pick up in planing and molding. It nails and glues well and holds paint, stains and varnishes satisfactorily (6).

Durability: Alaska cedar is rated as resistant to very resistant to heartwood decay (12).

Preservation: Alaska cedar is resistant to preservative treatment (6).

Uses: Used locally for interior trim, furniture, small boat hulls and canoe paddles (9). Used commercially for battery separators, bedding for heavy machinery, boat building, bridge and dock decking, carving, cooling towers, framing, furniture, heavy flooring, marine piling, molding, musical instruments, paneling, toys, patterns, sash doors, stadium seats, utility poles, water and chemical tanks, and window boxes.

Toxicity: No information at this time.

Additional Reading and References Cited (in parentheses)

1. Betts, H. S. American Woods, Alaska Cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis). Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service; 1937.

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. Elias, T. S. The complete trees of North America, field guide and natural history. New York, NY: van Nostrand Reinhold Co.; 1980.

4. Harris, A. S. Alaska-cedar, an American Wood. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, FS-224; 1984.

5. ---Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach Alaska 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. 97-102.

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

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

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

9. Record, S. J. and Hess R. W. Timbers of the new world. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press; 1943.

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.