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Yellow Cedar Ties

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by hobbyheater, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    Used these untreated yellow railroad ties to make a small retaining wall 30 years ago. Do not know how long they had been used under the railway steel before that. After taking the wall apart, I started to cut them up into 2 foot blocks to make it easier to move to the pickup and take to the land fill. The wood, on a whole, turned out to be fairly sound with the dryer sections having a moisture content of about 18%. Which is surprising considering that the wood had been partially buried for 30 years. So these splits went into the wood shed. It was a novel experience to split with a maul again. I have not done that for years!

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  2. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    you'll get some good pcs out of that.......way to go
  3. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    Looks like you have a chupacabra on your property ;)
    Blue Vomit likes this.
  4. Blue Vomit

    Blue Vomit Minister of Fire

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    I thought it was an overgrown rat when I saw it at first. Then I saw the rat terrier in his sig.
    Cute dog... or whatever it is.;)
  5. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    The dogs in the picture are Toy Rat Terrier's. In the background is the wall the ties came from.

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  6. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Amazing that it still is intact for being used for a wall and its prior service as a railroad tie. Good for you for keeping out it out of the landfill. I really like white cedar for kindling. I wonder if yellow is similar to white.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    West coast yellow "cedar" is amazing stuff. It has long been used in boat building. Trouble is that is getting rarer now due to overharvesting. Port Oroford yellow cedar is quite hard to get now and pricey. It's actually not a cedar, but a cypress and also known as Lawson's Cypress. I'm guessing that this wood is Nootka Cypress - Cupressus nootkatensis. It's considered one of the finest timberwoods in the world.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupressus_nootkatensis
  8. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I ve read about Port Orford cedar being used in craftsman style houses, especially the ones designed by the Greene brothers. The woodworking is really unbelievable.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It's a beautiful wood to work with. We did the listings in the first boat we made using that wood. 4 years later there was not enough available so we switched to Alaskan yellow cypress (aka cedar) for the second one.

    I noted this in the wiki article:

    Firewood

    Nootka Cypress has extreme heartwood qualities that make this one of the most desired sources of heat on the west coast. A dead tree can last up to 100 years for firewood. This wood burns very hot and lasts a long time as embers.
  10. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    From my childhood days of growing up in a small coastal sawmill town that cut these very railway ties to running log loader loading these very same " Cypress" trees, it has been very interesting to see this tree, once almost considered a weed, to becoming the most valuable species that grows in this area! In the 50s and 60s, the mill cut mainly railroad ties out of the logs and a small amount of lumber for a few locals who used the wood for boat building. When I was operating log loader in the 70s, its status had not yet changed. The 80s saw the change in its value. Because of the natural oils in the wood, it was discovered that it stands up very well below grade. The market was Japan where the lumber was used to make residential foundations. Wooden foundations stand up much better to earthquakes as compared to concrete. In the 90s, there was a big push and many of these logs that had been previously left behind were salvaged. China is now also a big player for these logs. The big clear trees 60' long with a 32" top are used in Temple construction. It does not take many of these logs to pay for a year's wages.
    The logging company is now using steel railroad ties.
    On the boat building side, it is an excellent material for making ribs but as for the planking, a good coating of copper paint has to be maintained as this is one of the wood boring Teredo's favorite food. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teredo_navalis
    fishingpol likes this.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Great info hobby. We used it for the listings in our (steel) boats. No contact with the sea water. The shipwright paneled his bathroom and did the cabinets in this wood. It looks and feels great. He also made a great changing bench for our bathroom out of Alaskan Cypress. It's smooth as butter.


    IMG_1235web.jpg
    fishingpol likes this.

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