Cypress Wood | Uses, Types of Cypress

Introduction

Cypress is a common name for various coniferous trees. There are more than 12 true species of cypress. most of the cypress trees are native to the South. Mainly Cypress is found in wet soil.

Cypress is known for its durability and natural rot-resistant properties. Despite being sapwood, cypress wood is suitable for outdoor applications. Such as siding, fence, outdoor furniture, etc.

#Cypress Wood
Scientific nameCupressus
Tree Height80-120 ft (24-37 m) tall
WorkabilityEasy to work
DurabilityVery durable
Rot ResistanceNatural rot resistant
Wood TypeSoftwood
UsesExterior construction, docks, boatbuilding, interior trim, and veneer.

What color and appearance is cypress wood?

The color of cypress wood is light. This is the reason that it can be stained easily. The heartwood of cypress is pale to yellowish-brown and sapwood is nearly white. The amount of sapwood is very less.

Cypress has a straight grain and medium texture to coarse texture. Raw, unfinished surfaces have a greasy feel.

What is cypress wood good for?

Outdoor Uses

Cypress is a softwood wood but It has properties like hardwood and is the perfect choice for exterior applications. Because it has decay and water-resistant properties. Cypress contains Cypressene oil, which is a natural preservative resistant to decay.

But due to constant sunlight and dust, discoloration is a common problem in cypress(almost every wood species). Since stain and sealing are better options for exterior application. Cypress is considered better for exterior construction, docks, boatbuilding, etc.

Furniture

Cypress wood is very durable, stable, and shock-resistant. Australian Cypress (Callitris Columellaris), Mediterranean Cypress, and Nootka Cypress are famous for making quality interior and exterior furniture.

Flooring

The wood must be water-resistant and hard enough to make a durable and quality floor. Australian Cypress is a fairly durable and quite hard cypress species. Janka Hardness of Australian Cypress is 1,360 lbf (6,060 N) and the Average Dried Weight is 41 lbs/ft3 (650 kg/m3). which is sufficient for making flooring. 

How to clean cypress wood?

Cleaning the surface of any wood is an essential step before you can stain or paint it. Cypress is suitable for interior and exterior use. It is natural to have discoloration, mildew, and stains in exterior applications. This problem is likely not to occur in interior applications.

The discoloration is a common problem. This happens due to constant exposure to sunlight and dust. The yellowish-brown color of the cypress starts to fade.

In such a situation, to get the natural color again, it is necessary to clean the surface of the cypress and apply stain or paint.

Avoid any chemical-based solutions to clean laminates or wood surfaces that can ruin your wood stain. 

There are a few alternatives to strong chemicals-based solutions.

  • You can use Oxygen Bleach with the recommended amount of water. You can use a soft brush to apply on the wood surface for a small area and a garden hose for a large area.
  • These are the easiest and most commonly used to clean wood, siding, and floor. Mix an equal quantity of white vinegar, warm water, and baking soda and apply it to the wood surface.

How to Stain Cypress wood?

Cypress stands up to weather and use, That’s why owners often choose it for their siding and deck. Cypress can be easily stained.

If you want to choose cypress for outdoor purposes, the oiled base stain would be a better option and for interior cypress, polyurethane varnish is better.

Step 1: In the first step of the staining, clean the cypress with a wet cloth or sand with light hands, remove dark spots, if there are any spots. If the wood is already stained, sanding must be done to remove the stain before restaining.

Step 2: After the sanding process, you will need to clean the surface again with a dry cloth. Because in the next step we are going to stain. Therefore it is necessary to clean the surface from any kind of dust.

Step 3: Apply the first coat of stain with a brush or cloth. Rub the stain onto the wood with medium pressure. Apply the stain in the straight and reverse the direction of the grain. Fill the holes in the wood from all angles.

Step 4: After doing the first coat, let the wood dry well. It takes 3 to 4 hours of drying time in summer and 6 to 8 hours in winter (You can also read the instructions given on the box).

Step 5: After the stain dries, sand the wood again lightly.

Step 6: Now we are on the final step. Repeat the staining process with a second or final coat with a lighter hand and finally let it dry well. After this, you will get a smooth and durable surface.

Is cypress wood expensive?

Cypress is neither expensive nor cheap. Cypress is usually less expensive, generally, the cost of cypress lumber can be around $2 to $6 per board foot at your local lumberyard/retailer. Well, the price depends on many factors. Such as species of cypress, grade, size of lumber, and where are you buying from.

Some species can get you 2$ to 3$ per board foot but some can be 6$ to 8$. You will get cheap in the native state of cypress.

Based on the quality of the wood, the grade is classified. Such as grade A, B, and C. Grade A woods do not have knots and defects. The price of Grade A is higher than that of Grade B and C. Grade B and C may have some knots and defects. That’s why the price of this grade is low. By the way, there are fewer knots and defects in cypress. 

Generally grade A is used for exterior use and grade B and C for interior applications.

How to seal Cypress wood?

Wood Sealing
Wood sealing

Sealing is a necessary measure to keep the outdoor cypress beautiful and durable for a long time. The sealer acts as a protection layer between the external environment and the wood surface. So that moisture does not penetrate into the wood. Several better company’s wood sealers are available in the market.

Before applying the sealer, make sure that the surface is thoroughly clean and dry. Applying sealer is similar to painting. Use a soft brush. Allow the sealer to reach deep into the cracks and crevices.

If you are using a spray gun. So keep the spray gun at a distance of 9 to 12 inches from the wood.

Water-repellent preservatives can increase the longevity of cypress. This prevents the wood from rotting. and improves the quality of paint.

Types of Cypress

Australian Cypress(Callitris Columellaris)

Australian Cypress is commonly known as White Cypress Pine, Murray River Cypress-pine, and Northern Cypress-pine. There is a small evergreen tree. It is 4 to 12 meters long and the trunk diameter is 50 to 55 cm. Australian Cypress leaves are scale-like and 2–6 mm long and 0.5 mm broad in size.

Wood Color and grain pattern: Heartwood Color Can Vary From Light Tan To Darker Brown to Reddish-Brown Streaks. Sapwood is pale yellow or pinkish. Easily different can be seen in Sapwood and Heartwood.

Workability: Generally Easy To Work with hand tools and machines tools. Small knots can sometimes cause tears or other machining challenges. The density of Australian Cypress is higher, which can be difficult to work with. But glues and finishes well.

Hardness and weight: Australian Cypress’s Janka hardness is 1,360 lbf (6,060 N) and the average dried weight is 41 lbs/ft3 (650 kg/m3).

Uses: Veneer, Plywood, Flooring, Furniture, and Other exterior construction purposes.

Mediterranean Cypress

Mediterranean Cypress (also known as Italian cypress, Tuscan cypress, Persian cypress, or pencil pine), is native to the Eastern Mediterranean region. It is a medium-sized coniferous evergreen tree with a height of 35 m (115 ft) trunk diameter 2-3 ft (.6-1 m). The Mediterranean is very long-lived, with some trees reported being over 1,000 years old.

Wood Color and grain pattern: Heartwood varies from pale yellowish to reddish-brown. The sapwood is yellow. Sapwood and heartwood can be easily distinguished.

Workability: Easy to work with machines tools. Sometimes work can be difficult with hand tools due to knots and irregular grain. Also, Steam bending is not easy but glues, stains, and finishes do well.

Hardness and weight: Leyland  Cypress’s Janka Hardness is 560 lbf (2,490 N) and the Average Dried Weight is 33 lbs/ft3 (535 kg/m3).

Uses: fence posts, musical instruments (flamenco guitars), furniture, boatbuilding, and turned objects.

Pond Cypress

Pond Cypress is not a true cypress species. it is growing up to 50 to 60 ft. (15 – 18 m) tall. Its leaves are soft green and turn yellow in the fall. Pond Cypress has been considered as a better ornamental tree than bald cypress trees.

Because its spread is less and its maintenance also has to be reduced. It just needs a little pruning.

Hinoki Cypress

Hinoki cypress is a slow-growing evergreen conifer tree with a pyramidal shape. It is used as an ornamental tree. Hinoki is usually too large for residential gardens. That’s why it is planted in a large garden or open ground. Its leaves are dark green and its bark is reddish-brown.

There are many dwarf hinoki cypress trees available that are ideal for garden landscapes. such as the ‘Nana Gracilis’ that grows between 3 and 6 ft. (1 – 2 m) tall. 

Arizona Cypress

Arizona Cypress is a coniferous evergreen tree and native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. It grows to heights of 15–25 m (50-85 feet), and its trunk diameter reaches 55-60 cm (22 in). 

The gray-green to bright glaucous blue-green foliage grows in dense sprays. It is planted as ornamental in the garden and roadside. Its leaves are 2-5mm long. Their Growth Rate Medium (12 to 24 inches per year).

Uses: It is used as an ornamental tree. Arizona cypress seeds are eaten by squirrels, ground squirrels, and other rodents.

Nootka Cypress

Nootka Cypress is known from the other many names such as Yellow Cypress, Alaska Cypress, Nootka Cedar, Yellow Cedar, Alaska Cedar, and Alaska Yellow Cedar. It is native to the Northwest Coast of North America. It is an evergreen tree that grows about 100-120 ft (30-37 m) tall and 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) trunk diameter.

Wood Color and grain pattern: Heartwood is light yellow. The sapwood is whitish/pale yellow. It is difficult to identify sapwood and heartwood due to their similar color.

Workability: Great workability with hand and machine tools. Due to having heavy grains, some may have trouble in machine operation. But it holds Paint Well. Stains, Glues, and Finishes Well.

Hardness and weight: Leyland  Cypress’s Janka Hardness is 580 lbf (2,580 N) and the Average Dried Weight is 31 lbs/ft3 (495 kg/m3).

Uses: It is a durable and rot-resistant wood species. Which is used to make quality carving objects, boatbuilding, siding, flooring, decking, outdoor furniture, musical instruments, boxes, and chests, etc.

Leyland Cypress

Leyland Cypress is a fast-growing coniferous evergreen tree, It is used in horticulture. It is originated as a hybrid in Wales, UK. Leyland reaches a size between 20 and 25 m high and its trunk diameter is 2-3 ft (.6-1 m). It is a fast-growing tree that grows about 1 meter per year.

According to Wikipedia, Leyland Cypress is a hybrid of two other cypress species: Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and Nootka cypress (Cupressus nootkatensis).

Wood Color and grain pattern: Heartwood varies from pale yellowish to reddish-brown. The sapwood is yellow. Sapwood and heartwood can be easily distinguished.

Workability: Overall easy to work with hand and electric machines. Sometimes work can be difficult due to knots and irregular grain. Also, Steam bending is not easy but glues, stains, and finishes do well.

Hardness and weight: Leyland  Cypress’s Janka Hardness is 430 lbf (1,890 N) and the Average Dried Weight is 31 lbs/ft3 (500 kg/m3).

Uses: Utility lumber, fence posts, musical instruments, quality furniture, boatbuilding, and turned small objects.

Monterey Cypress

Monterey Cypress is a coniferous tree, Endemic to the central coast of California; cultivated throughout North America and Europe. The height of its tree is 50-82 ft (15-25 m) and the trunk diameter is  2-3 ft (.6-1 m). The leaves are scale-like, 2–5 mm long.

Wood Color and grain pattern: Heartwood is a pale yellowish or reddish-brown. The sapwood is yellow. Sapwood and heartwood can be easily differentiated

Workability: Overall easy to work with hand and electric machines. Sometimes work can be difficult due to knots and irregular grain. Also, Steam bending is not easy but glues, stains, and finishes do well.

Hardness and weight: Monterey Cypress’s Janka Hardness is 620 lbf (2,750 N) and the Average Dried Weight is 32 lbs/ft3 (515 kg/m3).

Uses Utility lumber, fence posts, musical instruments (flamenco guitars), furniture, boatbuilding, and turned objects.

Mexican Cypress(Cupressus lusitanica)

Mexican Cypress is also known as white cedar, It is native to Mexico and Central America. The height of its tree is 20-40 m and the trunk diameter is 2-3 ft (.6-1 m). The leaves are scale-like, 2–5 mm long.

Wood Color and grain pattern: Heartwood is a pale yellowish or sometimes reddish-brown. The sapwood is yellow, it is completely different from the heartwood.

Workability: Easy to work with hand and machine tools. Knots and irregular grain can make it difficult to work. Steam bending is also difficult to do but glues, stains, and finishes do well.

Hardness and weight: Mexican Cypress’s Janka Hardness is 500 lbf (2,240 N) and the Average Dried Weight is 29 lbs/ft3 (470 kg/m3).

Uses Construction lumber, poles/posts, musical instruments (flamenco guitars), and turned objects.

Gowen Cypress (Cupressus goveniana)

Gowen cypress is also known as Californian cypress.  It is an evergreen tree. It is distributed from Endemic to Coastal California. There is not much population of this species and neither does it grow in large quantities in the forests.

The height of the tree is about 30-50 ft (9-16 m) and the trunk diameter is 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m). The leaves of Gowen Cypress grow in the dense spray. Some leaves are dark green to yellow-green in color. The leaves are 2–5 mm (0.08–0.20 in) long and are rounded.

Wood Color and grain pattern: Heartwood of Gowen Cypress is yellowish or reddish-brown. Whereas sapwood is yellow. The sapwood is narrow. Grain is usually straight, but due to knots in some parts, there may be irregular grain. Fine, uniform texture with a good natural luster.

Workability: It is overall easy to work with hand and machine tools, although can be somewhat difficult due to the presence of knots. Glues, stains, and finishes well but stream bending is difficult.

Hardness and weight: Gowen Cypress’s Janka Hardness is 570 lbf (2,520 N) and the Average Dried Weight is 30 lbs/ft3 (480 kg/m3)

Uses Fence posts, musical instruments (flamenco guitars), furniture, boatbuilding, and turned objects.

Where to buy cypress wood?

Cypress wood is easily available to you both online (Lowes, Homedepot) and offline stores. If you are shopping from the offline store then always buy from a trusted store only. There are many true and false species of cypress whose price and properties are not the same. So be careful while buying.

Read also Cypress vs Cedar Wood

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