Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 23

cedar versus those of domestic cedar.
These claims are difficult to sort out, for
several reasons.
First of all, nobody in this argument can
say, "What we've got is cedar, and what they
have is not," because none of the wood species under discussion are true cedars. The
genus Cedrus consists of five species that
grow primarily around the Mediterranean
and in the Western Himalayas. This includes
the biblically famous Cedars of Lebanon.
None of these species is imported into the
U.S. for use in fencing.
WRC, IC, NWC, ERC, and the two common import species-Cryptomeria japonica
(CJ) known in Japan as Sugi but sold in the
U.S. as Japanese Cedar, and Cunninghamia
lanceolata (CL) sold as China Fir or Chinese
Cedar-are all members of the cypress family, the cupressaceae.
The second factor is that there do not
seem to be good apples-to-apples tests of
the rot- or insect-resistance of the domestic
versus import species. There is testing of
various kinds, but the materials that were
tested don't truly match the products currently being sold in the U.S., and there does
not seem to be head-to-head testing of fence
boards under real world conditions.
The third factor is that it is often difficult
to find out exactly which species of wood
you are being sold.
We talked to several AFA members
who have specific knowledge of the
imported and domestic products, to get
their insight.

A GOOD REPUTATION

rise, and the domestic cedar mills producing
at full capacity, nameless imported 'cedar'
pickets are again available in the U.S. market.
They are typically about 20 to 25 percent
less expensive than domestic cedar. What
are these boards, how do they compare to
domestic wood, and which should a contractor choose?

WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Not surprisingly, there are conflicting
claims made by the marketers of imported

Cedar fence is known for several properties that give it a long service life. It is
resistant to termites and other insects.
It is resistant to rot, a process where the
wood fibers are broken down primarily by
fungi. It is dimensionally stable, not prone
to shrinking, swelling and warping as it gets
wet and then dries out.
Of the domestic cedars, WRC has the reputation for the best performance in these areas.
The resistance properties are said to come
from chemical compounds that develop in the
wood, especially in the dark center portion
of the tree called the heartwood.
"Cedar does not need to be treated,"
explains Jeff Cook, vice president of sales for
www.americanfenceassociation.com | 23 | May/June 2017

Alta Forest Products, the largest producer
of WRC fencing in the U.S. "It has natural
chemical properties-tannins-that make
it naturally rot-resistant, mold-resistant,
and insect-resistant." Domestic cedar for
fencing is used green, not kiln-dried or
chemically treated, to take advantage of
the tannins.
It's important to note, however, that
the tannin concentration is significantly
higher in the heartwood than the sapwood, and is generally felt to be higher
in older trees.
Concerning stability when exposed to the
elements, Cook notes, "The cedar species
in the U.S. are able to absorb and release
moisture on a regular basis. That's why it's
used as an outdoor wood product."
Dave Cochenour, national accounts manager for Alta Forest Products, says there's a
difference between coastal and inland WRC.
"Coastal WRC has a striped wood. Inland
is more creamy, and when you stain it, you
can tell the difference between heartwood
and sapwood. Coastal stays fairly consistent
in color from outside to inside."
When a customer buys 'cedar fence,' they
are not paying for the name cedar, they are
paying for the reputation, the performance
that's associated with the name 'cedar.' A
smart contractor will try to set expectations
consistent with the wood they're installing,
so it's important to know how the pickets
that are available will perform.

CHERISHED WOOD
Both imported species have long trackrecords at home. CJ is, in fact, the most
popular species for construction in Japan,
a cherished product that is promoted as an
interior finish material whose aroma has
beneficial psychological properties.
Both CL and CJ are known in their native
countries to be resistant to rot and insects.
Both contain significant concentrations
of rot- and insect-resisting chemical compounds, and there are available laboratory
tests to prove it.
The experience of fence makers who used
them in the U.S., however, is very different
from their reputations at home.
The complaints seem to involve low resistance to rot and mold, and a high tendency
to warp.


http://www.americanfenceassociation.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fencepost - May/June 2017

Editor’s Note
Executive Director’s Message
President’s Message
Board of Directors | Board of Governors
Fencelines
Mistaken Identity: A Story of Cedar
Safety First
Minding Your Business
Class Act: AFA Education Foundation Bestows Seven Scholarships
Safety
Health Plan Checkup: Ensuring Your Benefits Program Is the Picture of Health
CLFMI
The Road More Traveled: 811 Car and 811 Bike Recognized as Damage Prevention Icons
New Members
The 811 Across Texas Public Awareness Campaign
Calendar
FenceSense
Index to Advertisers
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Intro
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - cover1
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - cover2
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 3
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 4
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 5
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 6
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 7
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 8
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 9
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 10
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 11
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 12
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Editor’s Note
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 14
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Executive Director’s Message
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 16
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - President’s Message
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 18
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Board of Directors | Board of Governors
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Fencelines
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 21
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Mistaken Identity: A Story of Cedar
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 23
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 24
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 25
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 26
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Safety First
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 28
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 29
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 30
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Minding Your Business
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 32
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 33
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Class Act: AFA Education Foundation Bestows Seven Scholarships
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 35
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 36
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Safety
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Health Plan Checkup: Ensuring Your Benefits Program Is the Picture of Health
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 39
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 40
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 41
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 42
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - CLFMI
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 44
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - The Road More Traveled: 811 Car and 811 Bike Recognized as Damage Prevention Icons
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 46
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - New Members
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 48
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - The 811 Across Texas Public Awareness Campaign
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 50
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Calendar
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 52
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - FenceSense
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 54
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 55
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 56
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 57
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 58
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 59
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 60
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 61
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Index to Advertisers
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - cover3
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - cover4
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - outsert1
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - outsert2
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - outsert3
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - outsert4
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