western red or eastern white cedar


"Just one more"
I have heard different opinions about the material to be used for planking, red cedar or white? Is there much of a difference or are both interchangeable based on local availability? I have used both without much noticable difference. any thoughts?
For planking either works fine.

I would say it is very difficult to find 16 or 17' pieces of straight grain white cedar, but easy to find the same in Red.

Ribs are a different subject.

Plank away.

From a commercial (canoe factory) standpoint, large quantities of clear, quarter-sawn western red cedar was available from the west coast by the boxcar load. Northern white cedar, while locally available to east coast factories, it was not nearly as common. Thus, white cedar was typically reserved for ribs, because it bends much better than red, and red cedar for planking because it was more readily available.

Today, many small builders use white cedar for ribs and planking. White cedar is less brittle than red, so less prone to splitting. With careful stock selection, the quarter-sawn stock can be used for planking, and the flat-sawn for ribs. Length of planking stock is of less concern, as butt joints are easily buried under a rib, and with careful placement of joints and abutting grain patterns, no one needs to be the wiser.

Some prefer the all-blonde look of white cedar planking on white cedar ribs, others like the contrast of red cedar planks on white cedar ribs.
cedar planking

I am in the middle of two restoration projects with a sizeable amount of planking to be replaced. Due to the cost of the material, I looked for other supply options and found that I can purchase and mill to proper specs, 6" clear unprimed cedar clapboard for about $1.10 per foot at 31/2" wide. The excess that is ripped off during sizing is used for the thin courses up under the outer gunwale, so waste is at a minimum. With careful selection, I can choose all quarter sawn stock that bends and tacks easily with little splitting. Is this a wisr option and has anyone else tried this? Thanks
If you are replacing white cedar planking it is best to use yellow or white cedar and stain to match the original. I have found that even selected red cedar will match better at first but darkens to the degree that it becomes quite unsightly. This will take a couple years but there is nothing that can be done other than replacing it and recanvasing again.
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See my post for Western Red Cedar under the "All Wood" category. ie I used WRC fence pickets from Home Depot.