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BasswoodSugar PineWestern Red CedarWestern Red CedarRedwoodHonduras MahoganyTable of Contents

THE TREE Sequoia is an American wood, obtained from one of the worlds tallest trees, reaching over 90m in height and with a trunk diameter of up to 3m, but found only in the costal regions of California. It is known in America and often marketed as redwood, but should not be confused with European redwood, which is a pine. The Redwood trees of California have been harvested since the time of the first Spanish settlers over 400 years ago. It is a highly prized lumber product renowned for several unique features. The closely related giant sequoia, big tree or wellingtonia, grows to a great age and massive size, but the few remaining stands, also in California, are now protected. Sequoia is often planted as a parkland tree.

THE WOOD Sequoia is a medium to deep red-brown, straight-grained, non-resinous wood. Though often grown slowly, it has a conspicuous growth-ring figure. It is light in weight, about 20% lighter than European redwood.

TECHNICAL PROPERTIES Sequoia dries well and, when dry, is stable in use. Though light in weight, slowly grown timber is firm and moderatly strong which works easily and takes an excellent finish provided that tools are kept sharp. It is noted for its resistance to decay. One of the most dimensionally stable of the western softwoods, redwood is not prone to checking and splitting, and therefore is less damaged by weathering. It is decay-resistant in all heartwood grades, so heartwood can be used near the ground.
Redwood is more insect repellent in all-heartwood grades than other woods, yet it is lightweight. Despite being one of the lightest of softwoods, redwood provides adequate strength for a wide variety of uses. It is superior in insulation values. The minute cell structure with thousands of air-filled cavities accounts for redwood's thermal insulation values.

Redwood is easily machined, easy to saw and nail and has superior gluing properties as well as superior finish-holding ability. It is known for its easy maintenance and beautiful color: a deep reddish brown that darkens with age. Redwood is most often used for applications where high moisture levels are a problem for other types of wood. It is also specified for its exquisite coloring.

USES Only limited quantities of sequoia are available commercially, but it can be obtained in large sizes of virtually knot-free timber. Stable and durable, it is an excellent material for window and door stock, as well as other joinery purposes. It is used for vats, tanks, silos and for the slats in water cooling towers. Its light weight makes it unsuitable for heavy structural work, but it is used in farm buildings, greenhouses, garden furniture, deck covering and for estate work.

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