This article was published in the August 2003 issue of Building Products Digest                             



    Cypress lumber is oft times the most maligned lumber in the industry. Primarily because most folks don't where to look for it and or don't know what to do with it when they find it. 

    Quoting directly from one Texas timber frame manufacturer, "Cypress is not a particularly strong wood." We have reclaimed houses, barns, docks, warehouses, and cotton gins that were built from cypress lumber that have stood for hundreds of years, and in commercial cases have withstood tremendous workloads. We would then re-saw or re-mill this wood and be astounded at the quality of the product. This is not something I have seen in any other common lumber.

    Another quote is "prone to ring shake separation." I would certainly hope so, if not the cypress shake would be on it's backside. Ring separation has not been a factor in any  cypress lumber that we have handled. The most often used criticism I have heard is, "it's so expensive". Well I'll tell you what you can do to belay that comment, nail a yellow pine 2"x 4" and cypress 2" x 4"  board to the side of a building, come back ten years later get your cypress board and try to retrieve what is left of the nails where the pine board was. 

    "Expense is always relative to quality." A quote I will attribute to my ex-wife. Obviously, if you are building a low budget home. Cypress would not be the lumber of choice.  If you are building for those that are interested in an investment as well as the aesthetic beauty of the product, cypress is the lumber of choice.

     "Cypress is just not available in quantity." Same Texan.  I certainly will not suggest that it is as common as the pine that is being eaten by the pine beetle, but I have not had an order that I couldn't fill. That brings up another subject, wood decay and insect resistance. There are very few types of lumber that even come close to cypress lumber in these departments.  

    Last but not least, lumber treatment. As far as I know lumber treatment as we know it, has only been around for a few decades. There are cypress lumber buildings and roofs that have stood in this country for as long as there has been a U.S.A.     

Written by:
Dennis Proffer
Cypress Shakes