Frequently Asked Questions

Here is some detailed information about the many benefits of using Western Red Cedar in the construction of River Lodge Woodworks outdoor furniture.  It is the ideal affordable outdoor furniture wood!

All of our Western Red Cedar is harvested using sustainable forestry practices from the Pacific Northwest

1.   Western Red Cedar:  All River Lodge Woodworks outdoor furniture is constructed out of full 1″ thick kiln dried western red cedar, a very high quality outdoor wood that is affordable. Western red cedar is a naturally lustrous wood featuring a rich reddish hue; it is aromatic; it is filled with naturally occurring oils that act as preservatives against both decay and insects.  If left untreated, it will turn a silvery gray color over time but keep its structural integrity.


2.  Stability: Cedar is lightweight, dimensionally stable, and naturally resistant to splitting, cupping, and warping. Cedar is easy to handle, and can be cut, shaped, and accepts screws easily. It remains flat and stays straight – cedar warps little to none compared to other woods. Which means Western Red Cedar resists the natural tendency to crack and check, as you might find in many other wood species.


3.  Natural Wood Preservative: Cedar’s natural preservative oil eliminates the need for further chemical treatments, unless the wood is in direct contact with the ground. Western Red Cedar fibers contain oils that act as natural preservatives to help the wood resist rot and decay making it excellent furniture material for moist or humid climates. Many folks prefer to allow their cedar furniture to “naturally age” outdoors without any finish at all. Over time the color will weather to a handsome silver-gray highlighted by darker streaks, and the grain of the wood will become slightly raised. Western Red Cedar is superior to White Cedar, as contains much more of the natural acidic tannins that help to preserve western red cedar. This means that Western Red Cedar lasts naturally longer. These properties also make Cedar a very popular material for hot tub, Jacuzzi and sauna areas.


4.  Insect Repellant: There are a number of natural organic compounds – including thuja plicins -that give off that distinct cedar aroma that makes the wood highly unattractive to insects, moths and other pests.


5.  Native American Uses: Western Red Cedar has been called “the cornerstone of Northwest Coast aboriginal culture,” and has great spiritual significance. Traditionally, Pacific Coastal Indians used all parts of the tree. They used the wood for dugout canoes, house planks, bentwood boxes, clothing, and many tools such as arrow shafts, masks, and paddles. The inner bark made rope, mats, nets, clothing, and baskets. The long arching branches were twisted into rope and baskets. Various parts of the cedar tree were also used for many medicinal cures.


6.  White Cedar vs Western Red Cedar: Although White Cedar possesses similar properties of western red cedar, (which makes them both the desired woods for outdoor use), it contains much less of the natural acidic tannins that help to preserve western red cedar. Therefore white cedar will not last quite as long as western red cedar unless properly finished.


7.  A Natural Alternative to Chemically Treated Wood: Pressure-treating DOES NOT claim to prevent UV damage from the sun, nor warping and splitting, due to shrinking and swelling caused by water, sun and air contact. Treated lumber distorts the look of finishes, many processes have a green tinge in the wood (some folks think this is mold or dirt – but this look is actually the finished product). Treated lumber is great for a deck or fence, but just doesn’t finish well for furniture use, and the chemicals can leach into skin when there is direct contact as there would be when sitting on it. Cedar is naturally decay and insect resistant, so there is no need for it to be pressure treated with harmful chemicals. Because it is not pressure treated, there is no need to paint your furniture to cover up the look of pressure treated wood.


We have also received the following questions regarding the care and maintenance of our furniture.  If your question is not here, please don’t hesitate in contacting us to ask us.  We love to hear from our customers and will be happy to talk with you directly.


1) Does the wood need to be sealed?

“Sealing”  the wood will help it to maintain its natural wood color and prevent the change of color to grey. Sealing done by River Lodge Woodworks does not remain on the surface. It penetrates the wood and enhances the natural resins to  work as naturally as possible.


2) What should be used to maintain the honey color of the wood?

River Lodge Woodworks applies two coats of Ready Seal which is a commercial grade oil based, semi-transparent sealer and stain for exterior wood. It is a unique blend of resin, finely ground trans oxide pigments, oil and algae-cide that penetrates deeply into wood to protect and preserve it from the elements.


3) Can the wood be painted?

Yes, although it is not recommended. Painting cedar where the paint remains on the surface of the wood inhibits the natural resins and beneficial aspects of the wood. It traps moisture and has to be redone frequently.


4)  Will the wood warp and shift without treating it?

The wood is very stable and should not warp at all. All parts of the assembly include a professional grade polyurethane glue and the use of stainless steel screws that will prohibit shifting of parts.


5)  Should the screws ever be tightened?

The assembly of the furniture includes the use of stainless steel screws and a very strong polyurethane glue. The screws should not back out during normal use. There should be no need to re-tighten the screws.


6)  What will happen if we do not treat the wood at all?

The wood will turn grey naturally due to UV rays that will affect the color of the wood, but not the stability of the wood. The wood does not deteriorate due to being outdoors. Cedar wood has a natural resistance to rot and insect damage but it does turn grey after a period of time.


7)   Should we store the furniture inside during extreme weather?

Extreme weather should not negatively affect the furniture unless it is subject to being blown away in a major storm. It is able to take rain, snow and other natural weather episodes. Tornadoes excepted.


8)  Do you sell furniture in sets?

Yes, Chairs and tables can be combined to make up sets as you choose.

We value each and every customer and your comments, concerns and questions.  Contact us today!

contact us:  riverlodgewoodworks@earthlink.net