Port Orford Cedar Lumber


Port Orford Cedar, scientifically known as Chamaecyparis lawsoniana or commonly referred to as Lawson’s Cypress, stands out as a prized softwood lumber renowned for its exceptional durability, aromatic scent, and appealing aesthetics. This species is indigenous to the western United States, predominantly found in the regions of Oregon and northern California.

Port Orford Cedar Lumber

The lumber derived from Port Orford Cedar trees is held in high regard among woodworkers and construction professionals alike, owing to its remarkable attributes. Its outstanding resistance to decay and insects makes it an ideal choice for outdoor applications, such as decking, siding, and outdoor furniture, ensuring longevity and reducing maintenance requirements.

Additionally, its striking light yellow to pale white color with occasional reddish or pinkish hues adds to its visual allure, making it a popular choice for interior paneling and various decorative items.

Despite its allure and practicality, Port Orford Cedar is not as readily available as some more common softwood options, and as a result, it may command a slightly higher price in the market. Nevertheless, due to responsible harvesting practices, this valuable resource is managed sustainably to support its long-term availability.

Common Name(s)Port Orford Cedar, Lawson’s Cypress
Scientific NameChamaecyparis lawsoniana
DistributionWestern United States (Oregon, northern California)
Tree SizeMedium to large; reaching heights of 100-150 ft (30-45 m)
Average Dried Weight28 lbs/ft^3 (450 kg/m^3)
Specific Gravity0.45 – 0.53
Janka Hardness710 lbf (3,160 N)
Modulus of Rupture10,400 psi (71.7 MPa)
Elastic Modulus1,240,000 psi (8.55 GPa)
Crushing Strength6,800 psi (46.9 MPa)
ShrinkageLow to moderate; radial shrinkage: 2-3%, tangential shrinkage: 3-4%



Port Orford Cedar showcases a beautiful array of colors, ranging from a light yellow to a pale white, often with occasional reddish or pinkish undertones. Over time, the wood may undergo a slight darkening process, acquiring a warm and inviting patina that enhances its visual appeal and makes it a favored choice for interior design and architectural applications.

Port Orford Cedar Lumber
Port Orford Cedar Lumber

The wood’s fine and even texture, combined with its straight grain patterns, grants it excellent workability and versatility. Woodworkers appreciate its ease of manipulation, as it planes, sands, and finishes smoothly, providing a polished and flawless surface that complements a wide range of woodworking projects.

Rot Resistance

One of the most notable attributes of Port Orford Cedar is its remarkable natural resistance to rot and insects. This inherent durability makes it a sought-after material for exterior applications, such as decking, siding, and outdoor furniture, where exposure to moisture and environmental elements would typically pose significant challenges to other softwoods.


Woodworkers and craftsmen delight in working with Port Orford Cedar due to its relatively easy handling. It responds well to various woodworking tools and glues, facilitating seamless construction processes. However, it is crucial to exercise caution while sanding, as the wood’s aromatic properties can cause respiratory irritation for some individuals.


The distinct and pleasant fragrance emitted by Port Orford Cedar adds to its allure, enhancing the sensory experience of working with this unique wood. The aroma, reminiscent of cedar and citrus notes, is often considered an added benefit by many wood enthusiasts.


While Port Orford Cedar is generally safe to work with, its aromatic qualities can lead to respiratory irritation in certain individuals, particularly when sanding or working in enclosed spaces. It is essential to take proper precautions, such as wearing a dust mask and working in well-ventilated areas, to minimize any potential discomfort.


The limited distribution of Port Orford Cedar contributes to its relatively higher price compared to more commonly available softwood lumber varieties. While it might be less readily accessible, its exceptional properties make it a sought-after investment for specific projects where its unique characteristics are highly valued.


The harvest and management of Port Orford Cedar are conducted with a focus on sustainability to preserve this valuable resource for future generations. However, due to its relatively slow growth rate, responsible usage and conservation efforts are crucial to ensure its long-term availability.

Port Orford Cedar Lumber
Common Uses

Port Orford Cedar finds widespread use in various exterior applications due to its rot resistance, including siding, decking, outdoor furniture, and fencing. Beyond that, it is employed in boat building, where its durability and workability are highly prized. Moreover, it is favored for interior paneling, cabinetry, and numerous decorative items, where its pleasing appearance and aromatic qualities contribute to the overall appeal of the finished product.

Port Orford Cedar Lumber

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is Port Orford Cedar suitable for outdoor projects?
    Yes, due to its natural rot resistance, Port Orford Cedar is an excellent choice for outdoor applications like decking and siding.
  2. Does Port Orford Cedar have any unique characteristics?
    Yes, the wood’s pleasant aroma sets it apart, and its combination of beauty and durability makes it highly sought after.
  3. Is Port Orford Cedar hard to work with?
    No, it is generally easy to work with, but care should be taken to avoid inhaling too much of the wood’s dust during sanding.
  4. Is Port Orford Cedar sustainably harvested?
    Yes, responsible harvesting practices are in place to ensure the long-term sustainability of this valuable resource.
  5. Can individuals with cedar allergies use Port Orford Cedar safely?
    Individuals with cedar allergies may still experience sensitivity to Port Orford Cedar, so precautions should be taken when working with the wood.

We’d love to hear from you! Share your personal experiences and thoughts about Port Orford Cedar Lumber in the comments section below. Your insights could be a valuable resource for fellow enthusiasts making informed decisions!

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