Ever use cyprus?

-- Last Updated: Feb-09-08 1:54 PM EST --

I just went to a specialty lumber yard to get some ash for making thwarts. None of it was really in the size/grain that I wanted -- same thing with the white oak. So I asked what else I could consider for my application. The owner took me to the cyprus.

Wow, what nice, straight-grained and light wood. I ended up buying more than twice what I needed just to have some on hand.

Anyone have experience with its strength and rot resistance?

Who is the dealer?
I’ll be up arounf President’s Day and may want to pick some up.


the only Cypress I’ve ever used
is the 220 Werner carbon bent shaft

Historic houses
Here in Dallas, Texas, a couple of houses have been added to the historic register just because they were made of cypress. One of the was moved and is being restored. Supposedly, it will never rot.

Seems a little heavy to me, though, for other that spot use.

Cypress has splinters!
Cypress is not nearly as strong as ash or oak (hardwoods) and is considered a softwood. It is somewhat rot resistant but does not compare to red cedar in this aspect. If allowed to weather, it will fuzz up and produce lots of splinters. It’s easy to work but is prone to splitting. The cyress today has a lot of sapwood that is relatively weak.

got it at Mars Lumber
up in Cranberry

I rather think that cypress can equal
red cedar in rot resistance. The problem I see with cypress for gunwales is getting long straight grain runs. Don’t even see such clear lengths in red cedar anymore.

I assume you’re talking about western red cedar, not that eastern juniper incorrectly called cedar.

Cypress is a traditional boat building
material. Many a pirogue has been built of cypress. Great wood, unpainted it becomes a beautiful silver gray. I lived in a house built of cypress siding. It was constructed in 1911, painted once, and never painted again. The only rot was on the pine finish boards.

Good Stuff
My memory is that it is a little heavier and stronger than western red cedar and about as rot resistant. We used to have many elevated wooden water tanks around farmsteads when I was a kid, many of them remained beside old derelict windmill towers to mark were a farmhouse was gone. Often the water tanks were in better shape than anything else left. I was told that those types of tanks were always made of cypress in those days.

BTW, a fellow I run into regularly at a local lake has a homemade sea kayak that he used reclaimed cypress in.

from south Louisiana, I can attest to the rot resistance. I used cypress to replace the gunwales on a malecite and the are really nice though certainly not as impact resistant as ash. It was my best choice as far as availability in my area. Additionally it is not a heavy wood at all and bends nicely.

Cypress canoe
We still have the canoe my father built in 1938 out of local cypress and canvas. It has seen many, many years of use as a river canoe, fishing canoe and war and games canoe. It’s heavy, with the canvas and coats of paint, but it’s stored at our camp on the lake, so we don’t have to portage it.

We do need to remember that selection
has a BIG influence on the results for any wood. I recently tried to replace my deck planking with western red cedar, and even though I was allowed to select boards, I did not get anything like the clear cedar used in the past to make rowing shells. The same appears true for cypress. Getting good cypress for thwarts shouldn’t be hard, but longer pieces for gunwales or planks would be hard.

So, in comparing one wood to another, we need to know that the best reasonably available wood of each was compared.

Mars Lumber
Mars Lumber is one of our few remaining lumber retailers that still does its own millwork. These are the guys I went to when I wanted to check out the various options for my home made pole. They were intrigued by the project and had a number of suggestions. (As I recounted in an earlier post, the owner ultimately decided that my best option was to cut and dry my own ash sapling.)

I rebuilt my front porch with Cypress. Mars Lumber milled it to my specs. After hauling it around, I wouldn’t have said it was a “light” wood; but, I realize that wood weights really are relative. I liked working with it; and I found that I was able to do some delicate cutting.

One of the reasons I chose the Cypress is that it is reputed to hold paint very well. In comments relative to using it for gunwales, I haven’t seen any comments about its ability to be oiled or polyurethaned.

Really sounds like a visit to Mars Lumber is in order.


Hereford and Hops
You can’t get to or from Mars Lumber without driving past ‘Hereford and Hops’. Its a pretty good microbrewery and they allow you to cook your own steaks.

I have a board fence made of cypress that was constructed by my grandpa in the 1950’s. The boards are still like new and remain solid in spite of being outside in the weather for nearly 60 years!

I live in northern Iowa.

Well, as long as
Hereford & Hops is going to be blocking my way…

Now it looks like I will ahve an abbreviated visit, so I may not have time to see the sights in Mars. Pity - I have relatives in Myoma.


similar to cedar
…in terms of rot resistance.

There are a few companies
reclaiming sunken cypress trees and once cut and dried are this type of cypress is superior to western cedar.