Spanish Cedar, which is also referred to as Cigar Box Cedar as a result of its being traditionally used in the construction of cigar boxes, is a fragrant wood that is useful in a variety of applications. The wood is often used in outdoor applications, and its natural characteristics make it especially well-suited to this task. Spanish Cedar emits a natural aroma that repels insects, and it also boasts a very high resin count, making even untreated boards remarkably resistant to damage from weather and rot.
Despite its name, Spanish Cedar is actually a hardwood (and therefore not technically a Cedar at all), and it is also not native to Spain. In fact, Spanish Cedar is often classified as a tropical hardwood, and it is from the Meliaceae family, the same as Mahogany.
Spanish Cedar is a very low density wood, but, because of its other natural characteristics, it remains quite durable. The lumber’s light weight makes it especially sought after for outdoor structures such as buildings and furniture, but this low density can also result in some stability issues. If special
attention is paid during the kiln drying process, however, these stability problems can be overcome. The fact is, though, that not every lumber wholesaler has the proper equipment necessary to dry Spanish Cedar in ideal conditions – even if they claim to specialize in Spanish Cedar. J. Gibson McIlvain Company, a centuries-old wholesaler of high quality lumber, has some of the only kilns in North America capable of achieving the perfect temperature for drying Spanish Cedar. These kilns manage to set the lumber while not overdrying it, which often hardens the wood and results in decreased stability.
If properly dried and cared for, Spanish Cedar makes an excellent lumber choice. It is often used as a Genuine Mahogany substitute because it shares some of Mahogany’s characteristics while generally remaining an affordable option.