Sunday, June 7, 2015

More Wood Contemplation

Monterey Cypress

This is a very common local softwood, although it is not mentioned in my go-to tree book "Street Trees of Vancouver", which surprises me. I find it in the log dump all the time, it is one of the most common trees to show up there. Some logs can be in the range of 2 feet in diameter.

I am not 100% sure that it truly is "Monterey Cypress" (Cupressus macrocarpa). It was identified for me by one of the most knowledgeable local woodworkers, and I have also referenced it in Romelyn Hough's epic tome. So I am pretty sure, but there is still a tiny chance that it could be something else, perhaps a hybrid or something.

Its bark has a touch of  red/pink in the cambium. The wood itself has lovely shades of orange and tan, and since the tree generally seems to grow fairly straight here, when quartersawn the grain has a very regular straight appearance. The slabs dry quickly and rarely exhibit any warping or cracking. Well behaved I call it!

The wood invites comparison to Port Orford cedar in my mind. The aroma is similar, and delightful, but a bit sharper or perhaps spicier. But not overwhelming or cloying in any way. It is of course soft, and it is fairly light as well, lighter than PO Cedar. It often exhibits interesting streaks of colour, oranges and pinks and tans.

The local cabinetmakers love PO Cedar for the insides of cabinets and draws, its bright white colour and aroma are perfect in that application. My feeling is that Monterey Cypress is equal to PO Cedar, but having a bit of colour and personality of its own!

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating. I milled up a couple lengths that I picked up off the boulevard, someone had taken one down from their yard. At least I think it's the same, best I could narrow down was some type of cypress. It has a brilliant reddish stripe to the grain, which of course fades to brown as in your first photo.