Redwood is ideal for outdoor projects because its heartwood is naturally resistant to attack by decay-causing fungi and wood-destroying insects. This species grows only in the fog belt of extreme southwestern Oregon down into central California, along the coast. In most areas of the country it is not available at local home improvement centers but can be found or ordered at larger lumberyards.
A mature redwood can grow to 325', with a trunk diameter of up to 15'. The heartwood varies in color from light cherry red to dark reddish brown. Sapwood is almost white or pale yellow. Redwood, like most softwoods, cuts easily, but one should always drill pilot holes before nailing or screwing.
Redwood splinters easily, but this can be remedied by gluing the splinters in place before sanding, to prevent catching. Redwood is rated good for planing, turning, boring, mortising, and routing, although it is a good idea to make several passes with a router to reduce tear-out and splintering. Though it holds screws and nails poorly, its gluing characteristics have been rated excellent.
Heart redwood is used extensively in construction as sill material where a frame construction meets its foundation. It is a popular wood for outdoor furniture, siding, fences, decks, porches, and other architectural elements that will be subjected to the vagaries of weather.
Wood grain images provided by HobbitHouseInc.com