Spanish Cedar — despite the ironies involved in its name — can provide a stable, exterior lumber option. At the same time, though, there are some difficulties in sourcing high-quality Spanish Cedar. Let’s explore the issues surrounding the sourcing and pricing of today’s Spanish Cedar — not just to educate ourselves about that particular species but also to better understand the lumber market, in general.
Aren’t Importing Restrictions Supposed To Help Spanish Cedar?
Importing restrictions in recent years have led to increased lead times and inconsistent sizing of the Spanish Cedar which we receive from South and Central America. We can avoid some of the problem by purchasing large quantities from mill partners that allow us to select the quality and sizes we know our customers require.
Once the lumber we’ve requested arrives at our Maryland mill, we carefully select and mill the Spanish Cedar you order to your specifications. Each additional step we take adds up to added cost, on the part of you, the customer.
Many still believe the quality, kiln-dried Spanish Cedar we provide is worth the price — especially compared to that of Genuine Mahogany, which has had its own supply crises in recent years. So, like most things in life, the price of Spanish Cedar depends on your perspective: Compared to its former prices, it seems a bit steep, but compared to prices of comparable species such as Mahoganies, it’s quite a steal.
Can Stability Issues of Spanish Cedar Be Avoided?
In Part 1 we briefly addressed the biggest down side of Spanish Cedar: it’s not exactly the most stable species around. However, there is a way to avoid that instability: kiln drying. With proper kiln drying, weeping and warping can be avoided. J. Gibson McIlvain owns some of the only North American kilns able to achieve just the right temperature to avoid over-drying and hardening of Spanish Cedar, allowing it to achieve optimal stability.
Is Spanish Cedar an Endangered Species?
Yes and no. (Don’t you love ambiguous answers like that?!) While Spanish Cedar is listed as a CITES Appendix II species, the reason isn’t as much its actual availability levels, but its increased popularity combined with its relatively slow growth rate. Availability remains high; however, quality from some dealers is decreasing.
Here at J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber, we aim to strike a balance between meeting our customers’ needs by sourcing high-quality lumber and protecting the environment and continued availability of such natural resources. We realize that by importing lumber, we’re helping to ensure the future of forests across the globe. With Spanish Cedar, we believe that it would be a mistake to source greater quantities at lower prices. We remain well known for sourcing fine Spanish Cedar, though not the least expensive or most impressive inventory of it. And we’re okay with that.
Continue reading with Part 3.