Thursday, August 22, 2013


Not a hill, nor a gang.
Cypress conjures mental pictures of Louisiana bayous, swamp forests, the genteel south, maybe a little Interview With a Vampire. Cypress trees, which grow large and commonly in the American South, are a source of good lumber for a variety of uses.

More info after the jump...

Reclaimed cypress
Cypress, often really the baldcypress tree, is a soft wood and is very light. Its Janka Hardness is only 510 bf (almost a third how hard white oak is). It's also not a particularly dense wood. Pick up a piece in one hand and it's surprising how light it is. Its density, 33 lbs/cubic foot, is almost half that of water (62.3 lbs/cubic foot). It's low density makes it very buoyant, which, combined with its good rot-resistance, makes it a good boat building material.

More reclaimed cypress
If you look at the picture above of the reclaimed cypress, you can see that it scars easily. In fa few ways, it's a similar wood to aromatic cedar. Both are rot resistant, light, not-dense, fragrant, and soft woods. You can take your fingernail and put a scratch in a piece of cypress, which is not something you're likely to pull off on a harder wood like maple.

Cypress, with mineral oil finish
It sands to a pale tan, but in the sun it ages to a dull brown, which you can see a couple pictures ago. With a mineral oil finish, it takes on a nice reddish gold luster.

Close up of the grain pattern
If you look closely (I tried in the picture), you can see cypress' grain pattern, which is fairly regular and parallel. It doesn't have much of the crazy grain patterning of aromatic cedar.

Good applications for cedar include exterior woodwork. Benches, picnic tables. Cypress makes excellent deck furniture, like Adirondack chairs. Things where it may not be the best option include applications where its softness would be a handicap (e.g. cutting boards).

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