Also Known As:
Cedro; Cedrela odorata
Where It's From:
Native to Central and South America and the Caribbean
Why It's Special:
Not a true cedar, Spanish Cedar is actually more closely related to true Mahoganies as both are in the Meliaceae family. Density and mechanical properties can vary widely depending on country of origin and growing conditions; (specific gravity can vary from .30 to as high as .60 in some instances). Some of the wood available at present comes from plantations: where younger, faster-growing trees, produce wood that is lower in density, and paler in color than wood cut from trees taken from forests in the wild.
How It Works:
Spanish Cedar is easy to work with both hand and machine tools. However, due to its low density and softness, Spanish Cedar tends to leave fuzzy surfaces if not machined with sharp cutters; extra sanding up to finer grits may be required to obtain a smooth wood surface. Also, natural gum pockets can remain wet and may ooze out onto the surrounding surface, which can clog and gum up saw blades, and make finishing the wood a challenge.
Heartwood is a relatively uniform light pinkish to reddish brown; colors tend to darken with age. Random pockets of gum and natural oils are commonly present. Grain patterning and figure tends to be somewhat bland.
Veneer, plywood, cabinetry, musical instruments, (flamenco and classical guitars), humidors, and boatbuilding.