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
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
Japan has imported Port Orford Cedar for temple, shoji screen and coffin building. The
white cedar resembles the Hinoke Cypress of their islands.
Port Orford Cedar Leaf
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
what is now the community of Port Orford, they
realized the value of white cedar. Soon they
began exporting the wood to California, later
giving it the name PORT ORFORD CEDAR.
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Rick Cook Designer/Craftsman Handcrafted Furniture
Port Orford Oregon