Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 24

PHOTO COURTESY OF HOUSTON FENCE COMPANY

Western Red Cedar.

Thad Claytor, president of Houston Fence
Company, recalls a few problems. "We had an
incredible amount of movement on the picket.
It would expand and contract much more
than WRC. Virtually every job we do down
here is near some sort of irrigation system.
The fence would get wet on one side and it
would experience bowing. When you looked
down the fence-line, it looked horrible. We
had issues when we tried to stain the product,
too. Typically, we only stain the smooth side,
and again, applying a wet stain to the product
would cause it to move uncontrollably."
Steve Stanley, president of Binford Supply,
agrees that the quality of the imported pickets from a few years ago was lower than
domestic. He also noted inconsistencies in
the milling. "You might find some unevenness in the thickness of the boards, one being
5/8-inch and another being ½-inch. That
happens occasionally with [domestic] cedar,
but not often. You might have 5¼-inch at the
top and 5½-inch at the bottom."
Stanley also points out one advantage to
the import products. "We do a lot of staining, and if the product is kiln dried, you
don't have to dry it before you stain."

WHAT'S WRONG WITH
THE IMPORTS?
Both CJ and CL have been tested scientifically and shown to have rot- and insectresistance. Unfortunately, the tests aren't
directly applicable to fence pickets imported

into the U.S., but they do pose a puzzling
question: Why do these imported species,
that have good reputations in their native
lands, perform so badly here?
One difference may be the way the lumber is treated for import. Timber products
brought into the U.S. must be either heattreated or chemically treated to prevent accidentally importing pests with the wood.
This includes imported fence pickets, which
are generally kiln-dried.
Studies of termite-resistance and rotresistance of CJ heartwood, done in Japan
in the early 2000s, found that high-temperature drying lowered termite resistance.
"When sugi samples were dried at hightemperature, the termite resistance decreased
due to the loss of anti-termite components
such as sequirin C and agatharesinol. It is
assumed that termite resistance is maintained even after high-temperature drying
by the large quantity of ferruginol originally
contained in sugi heartwood." 1
It was also found that some drying treatments reduced rot-resistance, although drying at the highest temperatures seemed to
increase resistance.
So, it is possible that the imports are losing
their resistant properties through kiln-drying.
Another factor may be the quality of the
wood that is being sawn into fence boards.
The reputations of both CJ and CL are based
on the performance of heartwood (as is the
reputation of WRC). The laboratory testing
www.americanfenceassociation.com | 24 | May/June 2017

of insect- and rot-resistance always seems
to focus on heartwood. The reputation may
also be based on the performance of oldgrowth trees.
However, the wood that is getting
imported here is only partly heartwood, at
best, and much of it appears to be young,
fast-growing trees.
Cochenour spent 10 years importing CL,
and traveled to China, to the forests where it
was grown. His experience is that the lumber
being exported is all from very young trees.
"They have decimated the China Fir," he
says. "The average diameter of a log is about
10 inches. It's a fast-growing tree, so your
growth rings are fairly significant."
Sawing fence pickets from a log so
small means that most of the boards will
be a mixture of heartwood and sapwood,
and the sapwood can be expected to have
lower resistance.
Moreover, the wood of fast-growing trees
with wide growth rings is not as dense as
slower-grown wood, and seems to have more
of a propensity to absorb moisture. The sapwood is apparently less dimensionally stable.

WHAT CAN A CONTRACTOR DO?
Contractors are under pressure because
of rising prices and short supply.
Claytor expressed the problem concisely. "We're talking about perimeter fence
around planned communities, thousands
and thousands of feet of fence. When


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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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