Port Orford White Cedar

Rick Cook Furniture


PORT ORFORD CEDAR, Chamaecyparis Lawsoniana (Chamaecyparis-from the Greek name for ground cypress: Lawsoniana-after Peter Lawson and Sons, nurserymen of Edinburgh, who introduced this species into cultivation in 1854 ). Port Orford Cedar is actually in the cypress family and not a true cedar. It is called Lawson’s Cypress in the horticulture world.

  Locally this wood is called White Cedar, P.O. Cedar, Oregon Cedar and Ginger Pine, as the wood has a pungent like odor and when freshly cut a spicy bitter taste.

  This beautiful evergreen tree is found of the western slopes of the Pacific Coast from Coos Bay, Oregon to Humbolt County, California, in elevations up to 5000 ft. A mature tree has a long, clear trunk 80 to 100 ft. high before branches appear and runs in diameter from 22 inches up to 12 ft. It can reach a height of 200 ft.

  The wood of Port Orford Cedar is a pale yellowish white to yellowish brown color, has fine even grain and is light in weight. It is particularly durable and rot resistant.

  This wood is one of the favorites for archers, being used for arrows. It is also used for boat construction, furniture, and decking among other things.

  Japan has imported Port Orford Cedar for temple, shoji screen and coffin building. The white cedar resembles the Hinoke Cypress of their islands.


                                     clawsonleaf.jpgPort Orford Cedar Leaf  


plank1.jpg Indian Pit House, Northern California, circa.1890

   The Local Native Americans built their houses and sweat lodges from split planks of Port Orford Cedar, referred to as pit houses because of their being partially subterranean.

   When the first Euro-Americans arrived at w Soon they began exporting the wood to California, later giving it the name PORT ORFORD CEDAR. hat is now the community of Port Orford, they realized the value of the white cedar.

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Rick Cook Designer/Craftsman Handcrafted Furniture

                                                                         Port Orford Oregon