I had to use a lot of this in my apprenticeship. Like any other wood
there is wide variety from trunk to trunk, from very fine ringed to
very wide thick and relatively heavy. In general it is simialr to
spruce if somewhat lighter and often a lot softer. It is much stiffer
and breaks easily. It is very easy to work with, generally quite stable
but the heavy uneven stuff is a caution and warps as much as or more
than anything else. Unlike western red cedar, it is easy to plane and
takes a real shine. Sanding is not good. Finishes well with oil and can
of course be lacquered. It nails very wery well when clenched and is
almost indestructible used untreated outside.
Very good for parts that should combine lightness with stabilty, e.g.
cloth-spanned aeroplanes, organ trackers and backfalls, pallets... Or
at least that was the going train of thought back then concerning the
organ parts. today we - some of us at least - know better. I cut many
miles of trackers 6x1mm out of readwood. As the stuff became hard to
get a very expensive, we went to yellow cedar which is nowhere near as
good for the purpose.
I made my first italian 1969 entirely out of readwood except for the
WP. 230cm long 19cm high, GG/BB-d3 2x8, 19kg. Strange conicedence:
almost like what Peter described and it, too had black plastic jacks,
from Schuetze, not from Burton, altho I did consider them and still
have the letter from Burton in the drawer.
Anyhow, rewood has one BIG problem:
It is treacherous with gluing when PVAc resins are used. Often enough
glued up stock would simply fall apart when the barclamps were removed.
Many different PVAc(white) glues were tried and the manufacturers,
obviously interested in this then (60ies) popular wood that could not
be glued tested it in their labs. Rakoll, Keim and Zimmermann.
Rakoll - http://www.rakoll.com/en/fr1a.html
this was what we normally used, the sorts BL, L and SR bought in the
Keim was since absorbed by CIBA which was then absorbed by
The various sorts of Keimfix© are as such on the market. I am not found
Zimmermann in Pfullingen who were and still are curious and willing to
go out of their way to help.
The manufacturers were stumped as well, When redwood does glue with
PVAc, its sticks good enuf, but one can never be sure.
IT glues well with hide glue, though. Modern PU adhesives are probably
also not a problem. We did not try Titebond back then and I have not
tried since, but it might be alright.
Altho the Henkel© products , e.g. Loctite© are good, thru much bad
experience, I would not touch Ponal© with a ten foot pole.
It has another big drawback: ugly dangerous splinters that are almost
impossible to remove until they fester...