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NOTE: there is rarely any "standard" or "typical" look for a wood so take what's in this table with a grain of salt
the REST of the pictures on this page will give you a better overall feel for this wood

arborvitae / Thuja occidentalis
of the family Cupressaceae (the cypress family)


In the USA, arborvitae is often sold as Northern white cedar.

5" x 5" flat cut, 3" x 3" quartersawn, 1" wide end grain, and a 1/4" x 1/4" end grain closeup.

This is a very soft, light wood and the color, weight, and grain all remind me strongly of cypress more than cedar, but the grain is often more coarse than cypress. This softwood has no resin canals and the transition from earlywood to latewood is fairly gradual. There is much more earlywood than latewood.

A NOTE ABOUT ARBORVITAE AND WESTERN RED CEDAR NAMES
because of their close botanical relationship and heavy cross-use of several common names plus the similarity in
characteristics and appearance between arborvitae and western red cedar, there is considerable possibility for confusion among these.

BINOMIAL NAME
(appropriate common name)
OTHER COMMON NAMES
(English-language only and I am doubtful that all of these alternate common
names are very much used but I show them because they are in my database)
Thuja occidentalis
(arborvitae, tree of life)
american arborvitae, atlantic red cedar, atlantic white cedar, cedar, eastern arborvitae, eastern cedar, eastern white cedar, false white cedar, hackmatack, michigan white cedar, new brunswick cedar, northern cedar, northern white cedar, swamp cedar, white cedar
Thuja plicata
(western red cedar)
arborvitae, british colombia red cedar, british columbia cedar, california cedar, canoe cedar, cedar, columinar giant arborvitae, giant arborvitae, giant cedar, gigantic cedar, gigantic red cedar, idaho cedar, lobb's arborvitae, northwestern red cedar, oregon cedar, pacific arbor, pacific arborvitae, pacific red cedar, red cedar, red cedar of the west, red cedar pine, shingle cedar, shinglewood, washington cedar, washington red cedar, western arborvitae, western cedar
platycladus orientalis
(oriental arborvitae)
chinese arborvitae, japanese arborvitae
juniperus osteosperma
(utah juniper)
bigberry juniper, cedar, desert juniper, sabina, western juniper, western red cedar
juniperus scopulorum
(rocky mountain juniper)
cedar, colorado juniper, prickly juniper, red cedar, river juniper, rocky mountain red cedar, western red cedar


my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K)
colors will vary under other lighting conditions


two planks both cut from the same longer plank; the bottom pic shows both heartwood and sapwood


closeup of the pair directly above


plank and end grain --- this was cut from the larger plank above


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above


both sides of a Northern white cedar / Thuja occidentalis sample plank,one side of which is all sapwood


end grain and end grain closeup of the sample plank directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Northern white cedar / Thuja occidentalis --- HUGE enlargements are present


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above --- although the closeup is mostly just saw marks you can make out the growth rings (barely).


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above but inverted


both sides of a sample plank of Northern white cedar / Thuja occidentalis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Northern white cedar / Thuja occidentalis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Northern white cedar / Thuja occidentalis --- HUGE enlargements are present.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


first face and the end grain of a sample of Northern white cedar / Thuja occidentalis. This part of a collection which is discussed here: COLLECTION A


the second face, before and after sanding, showing how the patina from aging is only surface deep.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above.


The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views

web pics:


plank --- this is a pic of the plank from which my own samples above are taken --- the color on this pic is washed out --- my pics' colors are accurate


plank just listed as arborvitae


plank identified as Northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis)


end grain listed as Northern white cedar / Thuja occidentalis


planks listed as Northern white cedar


bench just listed as arborvitae


side and top views of a bowl blank listed as arborvitae


although listed as a "bowl", I'd be more inclined to call this turning a spittoon but whatever you call it, it sure is pretty