Western red cedar comes from the Pacific Northwest region. Its use in our country dates back to Native Americans who named this wood the “Tree of Life.” In fact, Native Americans not only used this wood to build homes, they also used it to build canoes, totem poles, masks, rope, and clothing!
One of the most remarkable things about cedar is that it was the source of one of humankind’s earliest perfumes. The ancient Egyptians used the sticky oil from the cedar for embalming. They also used the tree’s wood to construct coffins, some of which are still on display in museums thousands of years later. If you know your Bible studies, you may have read that Noah created an offering of cedar and myrtle incense to give thanks for surviving that infamous flood. There are also documents that Tibetan monasteries burned cedar as incense.
Making the Case for Western Red Cedar
Western red cedar is a high-quality grade wood that often costs more, but its benefits make that additional investment in price a worthy one. Don’t ever let a service rep in a box store tell you that there aren’t many differences between wood grades and that buying something less expensive will often suffice (And trust me, I overhear this said in those stores all the time!). That’s just not true. In the case of wood fences, a lower grade wood means your materials may need replacing sooner than you think—meaning you may spend more time and money repairing your fence by choosing lower quality fencing materials.
Cedar Fence is the Best When it Comes to Durability
Simply put, western red cedar is among the two types of wood—red wood being the other—that is highly durable and lasts a lot longer than most other types of wood fences. Western red cedar contains natural oils that help make the wood resistant to decay and insect attacks, increasing its durability and strength without the use of chemical treatments. Western red cedar is highly stable to the point where there is minimal shrinkage when used to build a fence, meaning your fence will stay straight and sturdy for the long haul. The oils in the wood help maintain its appearance—when you see a cedar fence next to a pressure treated pine fence almost a decade after installation, you notice that the cedar fence has aged quite nicely. Cedar fence is so strong and long lasting that if you drive around certain parts of Frederick and western Maryland you may run into one of the fences our owner, Charlie Powers, installed back in the early 1980’s.