When it comes to understanding the world of cedar, there are few people we trust more than “Mr. Cedar” himself, Paul Mackie. He’s been with the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association—known as the “voice of the cedar industry”—for more than two decades, working to represent quality cedar producers and educate others on all things cedar. 

In this series, Paul will share everything cedar-related, from what exactly western red cedar is to the difference between kiln- and air-dried lumber to installation best practice. Today’s video tackles a big, basic question: What is western red cedar?

western red cedar

Here are some key takeaways:

Where does western red cedar grow?

Western red cedar grows in the province of British Columbia, Washington, Northern Oregon, the panhandle of Idaho, Northern California, and as far north as Alaska. 

Where is western red cedar manufactured?

Western red cedar is manufactured across the United States. There is no “cedar forest”—it grows on the coast and inland, intermixed with other species such as hemlock and Douglas fir. In fact, it’s in the shade of hemlock and Douglas fir that western red cedar thrives.

What types of cedar are commercially used?

There is a wide variety of species that are commercially produced for residential projects, all of which have the word “cedar” attached to them. Varietals include Alaskan yellow cedar, Port Orford cedar, eastern red cedar, and inland red cedar. Each one comes with a specific set of qualities and is best suited for a particular use. Western red cedar is quite stable in comparison to other types.

What's the supply of western red cedar?

The supply of western red cedar has remained constant over the past 25 years, and it’s predicted to be in the future so long as we continue to sustainably manage our supply. Additionally, the percentage of knotty material in the marketplace is increasing—we’re seeing great applications using knotty material in all sorts of projects.

Watch additional installments in our series with Paul here, and stay tuned for more from Paul as we continue to learn from him on Dunn Solutions over the next few months. 

paul mackie mr cedar