Save the Ta-Tas

Special thanks to Dave Hillman at Hillman’s Tranquil Hardscapes for these great shirts!


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Western Red Cedar Carving

pickleweed mallard decoy

Prized for its dimensional stability, ease of workability and natural resistance to decay and insects, Western Red Cedar has been used to create decoys, totem poles and other carvings to be used outdoors since nearly the beginning of time.

Due to the natural oils and tannins in the wood, anytime you are carving Western Red Cedar, it should be done in a well ventilated area and a mask should be warn.

It is also recommended that a good dust collection system be used as well.  All tools should be extremely sharp to achieve the best results; and when shaving the surface of the wood, be sure to with the natural grain of wood to avoid chips and tears.


western red cedar decoys


Step One – Select the object you wish to carve.  There are many pattern books available for ducks, birds and other types of carving projects available.  We prefer to make a photo copy of the page, rather than using the originals in the book.

pattern book


Step Two – Select the wood.  Western Red Cedar for carving purposes should be Clear (free from knots) with the tightest grain possible and be large enough to accommodate the desired project.   If the object you are carving will be hallowed out, such as for working duck decoys, now is the time to cut the bottom board.  Normally, the body and head are carved separately and attached together after shaping.



Step Three – Transfer the pattern to the block of cedar using pencil.

Step Four – After transferring the pattern to the wood, rough out the approximate shape.  A band saw can be helpful in this step if you have access to one.

roughed out western red cedar decoys


Step Five – With a very sharp draw knife, begin to shape the carving.  A spoke shave can then be used to further define and shape the object.  For added detail, hand tools such as chisels, rasps and files may be used.  Some carvers prefer to use electric tools such as Fordom or Dremel type tools for the final details.  If the piece needs to be hallowed, this is the best time.  Adjoin any pieces of the carving (ie head and body) using a two part epoxy or other adhesive. Allow to dry completely.

canada goose carved out

Step Six – Clean up any glue joints and sand the carving smooth.

Step Seven – Seal the piece if desired.  We prefer amber shellac for sealing.

Step Eight – If you will be painting your carving, use a good oil, based primer first.  A tinted primer can be used.  If desired, draw on details to help guide you while you paint the piece.

goose carved out of western red cedar


drawing feathers on a western red cedar duck decoy


Step Nine – Now the piece is ready for paint!

hens carved from western red cedar


Seems like you can never have enough decoys

decoys carved from western red cedar

Cedar Creek Lumber provides quality building materials to homeowners and contractors Nationwide; specializing in Western Red Cedar, as well as other domestic and exotic hard and soft woods.

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

Ph 360.757.6343  Fax  360.757.1050

western red cedar duck decoys

See more pictures on Pinterest

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Western Red Cedar Grape Stake Fencing

Because of the natural decay resistance in Western Red Cedar and its abundance, early vineyards used “grape stakes” to support their growing grape vines.  Made from hand spitting 2” pieces off of Western Red Cedar or Redwood blocks 4 to 6 foot in length, the stakes were used as posts between wires, held up exceptionally well to moisture, insects and other elements.


Western Red Cedar Grape Stakes


Due to changes in the way grapes are grown and harvested in today’s vineyards, other methods of supporting the grape vines are more commonly used. However, grape stakes are still manufactured and are used as pickets for fences when a natural, rustic look is desired.


western red cedar grapestake pickets


Nailed or screwed to horizontal rails, the result is a beautiful, extremely sturdy fence that gives an old world feel.  Because of the natural preservatives in Western Red Cedar, we recommend using fasteners that are corrosion resistant, such as stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized.

 The fence can be left to weather to a beautiful, natural grey or stained to maintain the beautiful reddish brown color Western Red Cedar is prized for.

For project ideas, be sure to check us out on Houzz

 cedar grapestake fencing

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA  98233

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University of Kansas – Marvin Hall Project

Clear Vertical Grain Western Red Cedar made into louvers

Earlier this year we were honored to be a part of the project to make an addition to Marvin Hall by the students in the Architecture Design and Planning Graduate Program at The University of Kansas.


Hand selected for the highest quality, we supplied 400 pieces of 2×12” Clear, Vertical Grain Western Red Cedar for the front window louvers.  Each piece was precisely cut to 7’ 4-5/8” in length and a factory flood coat of Penofin Red Label Penetrating Oil was applied to all four sides and then shipped to Kansas.

Clear Vertical Grain Western Red Cedar


During the summer months, the vertically hung Western Red Cedar louvers are programmed to track the sun to reduce solar heat gain in the hall through shading.  The louvers can also be closed completely when the building is in cooling mode or to darken the hall when projectors need to be used.

Clear Vertical Grain Western Red Cedar


Additionally, we supplied the 2×6 Clear Vertical Grain Western Red Cedar that was custom milled into an architect specified pattern to maximize the acoustics in the hall.  The results are amazing beautiful.

clear western red cedar ceiling


To read about this revolutionary project that uses amazing, cutting edge energy efficient models and techniques, please click HERE.  For more project photos, please click HERE.



 Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

Ph  360.757.6343  Fax 360.757.1050

We ship Nationwide!

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA  98233

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Grades of Western Red Cedar

Throughout the wood industry, specific standards have been set so that there is consistency in grading when the lumber is manufactured, as well as bought and sold.   For the general consumer, this can be somewhat confusing.  Generally speaking, the higher the grade, the higher the price.  So, when pricing lumber, it is important to know the grade of material being purchased.  Here is an overview of the grades of Western Red Cedar:

Clear Western Red Cedar

  • Clear, Vertical Grain – This is the highest grade. Vertical grain means that the growth rings are parallel to each other on the face of the board and the wood is sawn specifically to achieve that look. Pieces have a smooth face of decay-resistant heartwood and are free from growth characteristics that affect appearance. Pieces have excellent dimensional stability and the ability to hold finishes very well.   Generally used in siding and paneling products, but also found in trim and other dimensional boards; this product is generally supplied Kiln Dried and is ready to accept paint or stain either prior to installation or after.

clear vertical grain western red cedar

To see more project photos of this stunning Clear, Vertical Grain Western Red Cedar, please visit our photo album on Facebook
  • Clear Heart – Includes only pieces with heartwood on the exposed face. Many pieces completely clear, others have minor imperfections that do not detract from their fine appearance.  This product is also is generally supplied Kiln Dried and would be ready to accept paint or stain.
  • A Clear – This is a fine appearance grade that allows only slightly more growth characteristics than Clear Heart. Pieces are of mixed grain. These mixed grain (vertical and flat) pieces are graded from the surfaced face. Typically sold with a percentage of B grade.   A few small, sound tight knots or pin knots are allowed.

Clear Mixed Grain Western Red Cedar

Clear Mixed Grain Western Red Cedar 
  • C&Btr Clear – High quality lumber for use where appearance is important, but permits more numerous characteristics than Clear Heart or “A” Grades. In addition to interior and exterior trim, lumber of this grade is used for cabinetry, doors, windows and similar applications.  4 knots per 12’ of board is allowable.
  • No 2 & Better –  A grade offered generally for timbers and beams when the finest  quality rough lumber is desired. The lumber is sound, well manufactured and its characteristics do not detract from the wood’s fine appearance.
 No 2 clear export grade Western Red Cedar Timbers
Clear, No 2 Export Grade Western Red Cedar Timbers
  • D & Better Clear – This grade permits larger and more numerous natural characteristics and is used where general utility is more important than appearance.  Suitable for quality landscape structures and exposed beams.  More pin knots and tight knots are allowed than within the other Clear Grades and other natural characteristics which are widely accepted in the construction of outdoor structures.  Some pieces may require trimming to yield lengths for intended uses.
  • Rustic – Generally a grade of Bevel Siding, it is recommended for use as sidewall covering where the distinctive charm of a rustic saw textured appearance is desired. This grade allows limited characteristics that do not detract from serviceability.  The grade may include pieces too thin to manufacture to standard sizes.  Pieces may contain up to 4 sound, tight knots per 12’ of board and pin holes may be present.

Knotty Western Red Cedar

  • Select Knotty – Knots and other natural features define the visual characteristics.  All knots are sound and tight. Products are available rough surfaced, kiln-dried or unseasoned and smooth or with a re-sawn texture.  Some companies may supply this grade with knots glued on the reverse face and there is typically a percentage of Quality Knotty included in an order.
 Select Tight Knot Western Red Cedar Siding
Select Tight Knot Western Red Cedar
  • Quality Knotty – Similar to select knotty, but a few small scattered holes are allowed, the grain may be heavily raised and checks are not limited.  Pieces must be serviceable, but 10% waste per board is allowed and is considered with the price of the material is set.  Because of this, a product in this grade is sold “as is” and returns or exchanges are generally not allowed.
  • Proprietary, Appearance or “Custom” Knotty – These products are graded to the manufacturer’s specifications to meet the intended end use. This is something that is commonly seen in the decking market as well as in large timbers for outdoor structures.  Boards often represent good value for appearances and uses with no holes.   Allowances do vary based on manufacturer set standards and pricing is set accordingly.  Less expensive materials would allow more waste, knots and checking; while higher priced material would generally be of better quality.  Depending on product, returns and exchanges may not be allowed.

appearance knotty western red cedar

Appearance Knotty Beam and “Proprietary” Knotty Decking
  • No. 2 and Better Structural – This grade is evaluated on structural characteristics, rather than appearance.
  • Standard & Better Beams, Posts and Timbers – These items are intended for general construction use where serviceability is more important than appearance.  No structural values are assigned.  Items may be supplied surfaced (S4S) or with a re-resawn texture.


Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

Ph 360.757.6343    Fax 360.757.1050    

western red cedar lumber

Information provided by standards developed by:   National Lumber Grades Authority, WCLIB – West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau & Western Wood Products Association. Sources used:  “How to Specify Western Red Cedar” by the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association and the National Lumber Grades Authority Pocket Guide.      
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Western Red Cedar Fence Boards Grades

Day after day we receive inquiries for the price of fence boards.  Unlike traditional lumber yards and box home improvement stores, when a call like that is received at our store, our staff provides a price for a Western Red Cedar fence board as well as the grade.   In many cases, the person who is inquiring about the price does not have a clear understanding of what the grading means and maybe comparing pricing of products from various sources that are not equal.


Imagine calling around to different restaurants and asking for the price of  “cheeseburger”. While it is called the same thing at a fast food restaurant as well as a nice family restaurant, the “cheeseburger” at each location will be different quality and the pricing would reflect that.    You would not purchase a cheeseburger based solely on price while not taking into consideration the quality, so therefore, you should not select a fence board based solely on price either.


While there is no regulation or standards for “cheeseburgers”, there are established standards for fence boards that have been developed by the National Lumber Grades Authority, as well as the West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau.   It is important to note, that “fence grade” is below Select Tight Knot or Clear grades of Western Red Cedar and should not be compared to the quality or held at the same standard as lumber in those grades.


The West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau divides Western Red Cedar Fence Boards into three basic categories.  Any grade may be rough or surfaced, Air Dried, Kiln Dried or “green”.  Grade is determined by the best face.


No. 1 Fencing   “Select”

  • Checks and Pinholes are not limited
  • Shakes are “fine”
  • Skips are “hit and miss”, splits are “short”
  • Knots are sound and tight
  • Spike Knots can be approximately 1/2 face width or equivalent
  • Tolerance of 1/16″ over or under in thickness, width may vary along the piece of 1/8″, but not to exceed 20% of the pieces

number 1 quality western red cedar

No. 1 Western Red Cedar Fencing


No. 2 Fencing   “Quality”

  • Checks and Pinholes are not limited
  • Shakes are “fine”
  • Skips are “hit and miss”, splits are “medium”
  • Wane can be 1/2 thickness as well as 1/3 width
  • There can be small spots or streaks of unsound wood
  • White speck not limited
  • There maybe some knots that are not firmly fixed or are unsound but may not exceed 1/3 the width of the board
  • Spike Knots can be 3/4 of the face width
  • Maximum 1″ holes with 4 per foot allowed, unless “No Hole” is specified
  • Same Tolerance of thickness and width as Select Fencing

number 2 western red cedar fence boards

This is a great example of our No. 2 Select “No Hole” Fencing, which is the standard fence board we supply unless otherwise specified. This particular fence is made from 3/4″ net thick material that the customer made a custom, decorative top cut to.


No. 3 Fencing  “Rustic”

  • Lumber of this grade is suitable for low grade and permits all characteristics which do not interfere with the use of the piece
  •  Thickness can be 3/16″ over or under invoiced thickness
  • Edge skips can not exceed 1/4″
  • Variation on width should not exceed 1/2″
  • We do not allow returns or exchanges on any No.3 fencing, as the pricing reflects the quality of the material of the whole order

no 3 western red cedar fence baords

An example of no. 3 Rustic Fencing – holes, some wane and most defects are ok.  Pricing is low and reflects the quality of the material.


If you are looking to purchase Western Red Cedar fence boards and are interested in pricing and availability, please be sure to visit us!

Toll Free 866.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA  98233

western red cedar fencing


GLOSSARY  as provided by The West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau

Shake – A lengthwise separation of the wood with occurs between or through the rings of annual growth.

  • “Light” or “Fine” Shake is not over 1/32″ wide
  • “Medium” Shake is not over 1/8″ wide
  • “Surface” Shake occurs on only one surface of the piece
  • Shake should not be confused with bark seams

Split – A separation of the wood through the piece of the opposite surface or to an adjoining surface due to the tearing apart of the wood cells.

  • “Very Short” is equal in length to 1/2 of the width of the piece
  • “Short” is equal in length to the width of the piece and does not exceed 1/6 the length
  • “Medium” is equal in length to twice the width of the piece and does not exceed 1/6 the length
  • “Long” is longer than a medium

Skips – Occurs during milling when the board is too thin in an area to reach the planer blades, thus resulting in rough spot

Wane – Bark or lack of wood from any cause, except eased edges, on the edge or corner of a piece of lumber


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Western Red Cedar Kayak

One of the most rewarding things about our business are the priceless opportunities to connect with people and share in their dreams, but the absolute BEST is seeing how those dreams become a reality!

We recently received this e-mail from a long time customer, Rob, complete with photos of the Western Red Cedar Kayak he built using materials purchased from our shop.

handmade western red cedar kayak

Please read on:

Subject: finished kayak
Sent: Mon, Aug 18, 2014 3:18:08 AM


Hi Everyone,

I finished my boat and actually put it into the water. I have a picture to prove it! It turned out to be a more challenging project than I anticipated but it’s done. To my good friend Tom at Cedar Creek Lumber in Burlington, here’s where some of your cedar went. If anyone needs lumber go see Tom!


The paddling picture was at Priest Lake, Idaho paddling the “narrows” between lower and upper lakes. Great place to paddle.


I hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer!


Best to everyone,


handmade western red cedar kayak going through priest lake narrows in Idaho

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

Toll Free 877.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA  98233



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Hope Island Cottages – Tiny Houses on Wheels

Recently our customer, Kerry of Hope Island Cottages, shared these fantastic pictures of the tiny home he built on wheels.


Hope Island Cottages is the part of the Small House Society “Better Living Through Simplicity”, which is an outreach of, which is a cooperatively managed organization dedicated to the promotion of smaller housing alternatives which can be more affordable and ecological.

tiny house with pine tounge and groove paneling

Wood is the ideal choice for both the interior and exterior of these tiny homes due to its light weight and warm beauty.  Wood is also the only 100% renewable resource in building products and is naturally biodegradable and recyclable.

This fantastic tiny house on wheels even has a (gasp!) Sauna which is lined with Clear Western Red Cedar, the ideal choice due to the natural oils and extractives in the wood that allow it to hold up beautifully even in wet environments.  Find out more about using Western Red Cedar in Sauans here

western red cedar sauna in a tiny house on wheels

Here is the view from the lovely sauna into the living space

tiny cottage on wheels with wood interior

 Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA  98233

Toll Free 866.757.6343

We serve customers Nationwide!


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Manufactured Decking

With numerous choices available in manufactured decking, we have found TimberTech and AZEK to be our favorite choices, as well as our customer’s.  TimberTech has been a strong force in the composite decking industry since it began, while Azek has led the conversion from wood exterior trim and decking to cellular PVC.   In 2012, the two companies merged and now operate under the CPG International umbrella together and are committed to advancing the entire manufactured decking industry.

azek decking provided by cedar creek lumber


Both companies provide products with exceptional aesthetics, performance and longevity, backed with fantastic consumer support and warranties you can count on.

We invite you to see an overview of the products in this video highlighting local craftsmen and their projects using both TimberTech and AZEK decking and railing products purchased from us.  For more information on these products, please visit our Manufactured Decking Page.


Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA  98233

Toll Free 866.757.6343



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Why Western Red Cedar is the Right Choice for Your Sauna

Widely used in commercial applications, such as gyms, spas and hotels, a sauna made from Western Red Cedar is an ideal building material choice due to the natural oils and extractives in the wood.  These naturally occurring preservatives enable it to withstand rot and decay for many years, even in wet and steamy environments.   Also due to its stability and low shrinkage rate, it is able to stay straight and hold it’s shape.  Western Red Cedar’s high insulation value captures the heat inside and easily absorbs sounds to create a quiet sanctuary that is beautiful, smells wonderful and is comfortable.

It should be noted, that Clear (free from Knots) Western Red Cedar is the preferred choice over Tight Knot boards, as the knots tend to absorb a fair amount of heat and can become uncomfortable when stepping on or leaning against.

western red cedar sauna interior

Building a personal sauna is relatively simple when the correct materials are purchased.  Although styles do very, the basic construction methods do not change.   These steps can provide you a general outline:

  1. Choose a spot for your sauna where plumbing, heating and electricity are easily accessible.
  2. Install any necessary pipes, wires, or gas lines.
  3. Personal saunas are generally heated in two ways: lava rocks, which are heated and then water is poured over to create steam, or infrared heating, which uses a heater inside the sauna.  If you are using infrared heating, be sure to have the correct amount of power coming in to the structure. If you are using rocks, you may need to dig a space into the ground for them.
  4. Lay a simple foundation for your sauna and frame the walls and ceiling using dry Doug Fir, no. 1 or 2 construction grade, 16″ center.  Use pressure treated plates.  Be sure to leave room for three ventilation points: one in the ceiling, one on the floor, and one above the heater. Add spaces for benches and windows as desired. Be sure to frame for a door that opens out.
  5. Insulate with fiberglass insulation and add a vapor barrier to keep moisture off the fiberglass and help it last longer.
  6. Roof the interior of the sauna with Western Red Cedar, but remember to keep a ventilation spot open for steam to escape.  A tongue and groove product works especially well in this application, as well as for sheeting the interior walls.
  7. Install your heating system, following instructions given with the system, and leave a wide space for the sauna heater.
  8. Place the first layer of flooring using ceramic tile. This goes over your heating system and will collect moisture.
  9. Lay a second layer of flooring using unsecured boards. You should be able to easily remove these and clean the tiles.  Clear, Western Red Cedar decking is an excellent choice for this.
  10. Install the sauna heater.
  11. Add any benches, windows and other fixtures as desired.


Before your next project, be sure to visit us!


Toll Free 1.866.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA  98233


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