Discover the Top-Grade Cedar for Optimal Results: Unveiling the Best Grade of Cedar

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When it comes to choosing cedar for your woodworking or construction projects, understanding the different grades available is essential. Each grade offers unique characteristics and qualities that can influence the overall appearance, durability, and cost of the finished product. In this article, we will explore the various grades of cedar and help you determine which grade is best suited for your needs.

Which Grade of Cedar is Best?

Appearance grades for cedar wood are classified using the letters A through D, with A representing the highest grade. In addition to these grades, there are two other terms used in relation to appearance grade cedar: Clear and Knotty or STK. Clear Cedar refers to A & Better Cedar, which is characterized by minimal knots. However, it’s important to note that Clear Cedar is not entirely free of knots.

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Understanding Cedar Grades

Cedar is graded based on its appearance, with four main categories: A, B, C, and D. Each grade has its own specifications and characteristics that define its quality and aesthetic appeal. In addition to these grades, there are two other terms commonly used: Clear Cedar and Knotty or STK Cedar.

Understanding Cedar Grades

Appearance Grades (A, B, C, D)

Cedar grades are denoted by the letters A through D, with A being the highest grade. Grade A cedar is prized for its superior appearance, featuring minimal imperfections and uniform color. As the grade decreases, the number of knots, blemishes, and color variations increases. Grade D cedar is often referred to as utility grade, suitable for projects where aesthetics are not the primary concern.

Clear Cedar

Clear Cedar, also known as A & Better Cedar, represents the highest quality within the appearance grades. It is characterized by its freedom from knots and uniform appearance, making it ideal for projects that require a clean and polished look. However, it’s important to note that Clear Cedar is not entirely free of knots, as small knots may still be present.

Knotty or STK Cedar

Knotty or STK (Select Tight Knot) Cedar embraces the natural beauty of knots and variations in the wood. This grade offers a more rustic and visually distinct appearance, making it a popular choice for projects where a natural and charming aesthetic is desired. The knots in Knotty Cedar are sound and secure, adding character to the wood.

Factors to Consider in Choosing Cedar Grades

Several factors should be considered when choosing the right grade of cedar for your project.

Desired Aesthetic

The grade of cedar you select will greatly influence the overall appearance of your finished project. If you desire a sleek and refined look, Clear Cedar or higher-grade options may be the best choice. On the other hand, if you appreciate the rustic charm and character that knots bring, Knotty or STK Cedar might be the perfect fit.

Desired Aesthetic

Project Requirements

Consider the specific requirements of your project. For applications where durability and longevity are crucial, higher-grade cedar with fewer knots and imperfections may be more suitable. In cases where appearance is less critical, lower-grade cedar can be a cost-effective option.

Budget Considerations

Budget is another significant factor to take into account. Higher-grade cedar typically commands a higher price due to its superior quality and appearance. It’s important to strike a balance between the desired

Benefits of Higher Grade Cedar

Superior Appearance

One of the primary advantages of choosing higher-grade cedar is the superior appearance it offers. Grade A and Clear Cedar, with their minimal knots and uniform color, provide a sleek and sophisticated look to any project. The absence of blemishes and defects ensures a clean and polished finish that adds elegance and visual appeal to the final product.

Fewer Knots and Imperfections

Higher-grade cedar also boasts fewer knots and imperfections compared to lower-grade options. This is particularly important for projects where a smooth and flawless surface is desired. The reduced presence of knots not only enhances the overall appearance but also contributes to the wood’s structural integrity, reducing the risk of potential weaknesses or vulnerabilities.

Fewer Knots and Imperfections

Enhanced Durability

Another benefit of opting for higher-grade cedar is its enhanced durability. The absence of knots and other defects means that the wood is less susceptible to potential weaknesses that can compromise its strength and longevity. Higher-grade cedar typically exhibits better resistance to rot, decay, and insect damage, making it more resilient and long-lasting, especially in outdoor applications.

Cost Differences Among Grades

It’s essential to acknowledge that the cost of cedar varies depending on the grade chosen. Higher-grade cedar, such as Clear Cedar, tends to be more expensive due to its superior quality and appearance. On the other hand, lower-grade cedar, such as Grade D or utility grade, is generally more affordable. Consider your budget and the specific requirements of your project when making a decision.

Value for Money

While higher-grade cedar may come at a higher price, it offers excellent value for money. The superior aesthetics, enhanced durability, and overall quality make it a worthwhile investment, especially for projects where appearance and longevity are key considerations. It’s crucial to evaluate the long-term benefits and assess whether the added cost justifies the desired outcome.

Assessing Individual Needs

Choosing the best grade of cedar ultimately depends on your individual needs and preferences. Consider the specific requirements of your project, including the desired aesthetic, level of durability, and budget constraints. Assessing these factors will help guide you towards the grade of cedar that aligns best with your goals.

Consulting with Professionals

If you’re unsure about which grade of cedar to choose or need expert advice, don’t hesitate to consult with professionals in the field. Architects, contractors, or experienced woodworkers can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on their expertise. They can assess your project requirements, offer guidance on the suitable grade of cedar, and help you make an informed decision.


When it comes to choosing the best grade of cedar, it’s crucial to consider factors such as appearance, durability, and cost. Higher-grade cedar, such as Grade A and Clear Cedar, offers superior aesthetics, fewer knots, and enhanced durability. While it may come at a higher price, the value for money and long-term benefits make it a compelling choice for many projects. However, lower-grade options, such as Knotty or STK Cedar, embrace a more rustic and natural appeal that can be desirable for certain applications. Ultimately, it’s important to assess your specific needs, consult with professionals if necessary, and make a decision that aligns with your project goals.

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Tom Hiddleston is a renowned expert in wood appraisal and a skilled craftsman with a wealth of experience in the woodworking industry. With over 20 years of experience, Tom has established himself as a leading authority in the field of wood identification, grading, and evaluation.

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