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The heartwood of Spanish Cedar ranges in color from pinkish- to reddish-brown, when first cut. The color darkens as it ages to a dark reddish-brown, and sometimes displays a purplish tinge. The sapwood ranges in tones from white to pinkish-white. The grain is prominent and usually straight, but sometimes appears interlocked. The wood texture ranges from fine and uniform to coarse and uneven, with a medium luster. Spanish Cedar produces a distinctive odor and is often oily on the surface.
Formal Name: Cedrela odorata
Other Names: South American Cedar, Brazilian Cedar, Cigar-box Cedar
Spanish Cedar grows in Central and South America from Mexico to Argentina. It is found in all South American countries except Chile. Spanish Cedar is also plantation-grown in West Africa.
Spanish Cedar works easily with both hand and machine tools. The wood occasionally has a woolly surface appearance when tools are not kept sharp. It is somewhat difficult to bore, but has good nailing and gluing properties. Spanish Cedar is easily cut into veneers. It stains and finishes well, but gums and oils can present a problem when polishing.
Spanish Cedar is popular for use in cigar boxes, blanket chests, boat building, home construction and decks. It is also used in utility plywood, as plywood core stock and as sliced and rotary-cut veneers, especially for decorative veneers and paneling.