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Tidewater Workshop
Oceanville, NJ  08231
1-800-666-TIDE (8433)


About Our White CedarAbout Our White Cedar

Most of our furniture uses some component of White Cedar, a beautiful, durable and affordable alternative to costly teak and cheap, environmentally unsound plastic. Because we use a wide variety of suppliers, the wood we use may vary greatly in color, texture, and species. Please be rest assured that after 22 years building our furniture, we use wood that will last and keep its appearance and shape. Unlike teak, mahogany or other exotic rainforest and tropical hardwoods, our wood comes from the United States and Canada, where strict worker and environmental protection laws ensure that it is harvested in accordance with the highest standards.
The cedar we use grows quickly to commercial height in about one-third the number of years it takes for teak and mahogany, which makes our cedar a rapidly renewable natural resource. The milling and construction processes we use creates virtually no waste, (unlike production of plastic outdoor furniture) and we recycle all of our unused wood into mulch and other such products.
Not every single stick of lumber we use is traditional white cedar. We have found, over the past 100 years, that certain components will hold up better and provide improved performance when we use hardwoods, whitewoods, or other suitable material instead.
All of our furniture is shipped natural, unfinished - our wood is NOT pressure treated, a toxic process applied to the wooden furniture sold in many home and hardware chains. Our White Cedar is 100% natural and safe for you, your family and our environment.

Beautiful White Cedar
White Cedar is known as the “Tree of Life” and the “aristocrat of wood” not only because of its beautiful pinkish white tan color and mild, insect repelling aroma, but also because the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory gives it the highest possible rating for decay and disease resistance. It was worshiped as an elixir by Native Americans. Because cedar is wood and not man-made, and because we source it from a number of different locations, there can be some noticeable variations in color, scent, finish, look, and feel when the wood is brand new. This is normal and the differences will soften as all of the wood will take paint, stain, or finish the same, will weather the same, and will last pretty much as long.

Our cedar has few knots since the dimensions we use are cut from the tree tops where large limbs are uncommon. We insist on solid knots, usually no more than the size of a nickel in diameter. We would be unkind to the environment and very wasteful if we were to use nothing but clear cedar. We cut away all soft and loose knots and the small remaining knots add subtle character.

Checking and Rot

Because the cedar we use grows along swamp water basins in Maine and eastern Canada, it is naturally resistant to rot and severe cracking or “checking.” Cedar absorbs and loses moisture at a moderate rate, so it is not subject to the extreme drying out and swelling associated with other wood not suitable for outdoors such as oak or pine. Some checks may appear on surfaces over time. If these checks are not large and deep enough to accommodate a couple toothpicks, they are not structurally significant cracks and should disappear with a good rinsing of water.

The Stages of Natural Weathering:

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Stage 6

All of our furniture is shipped natural, untreated. In its natural untreated state, White Cedar is a very light colored wood, ranging from a pale pinkish tan to a light golden hue. As it is left outside in the elements, uncovered and untreated, White Cedar will “weather,” gradually changing color and ultimately turning a beautiful silvery grey. There are several steps (shown above) between “clear” or unweathered wood, and weathered grey wood. First, the yellow tones of the wood will deepen, and in the initial stage of weathering your furniture will be a golden color. As time passes, depending on the climate and weather conditions in your area, the furniture will begin to show grey areas, and for a period may appear uneven and blotchy in color. This mottled appearance can be mistaken for mold or mildew. It is not. It is the actual cellulose enrichment of the wood surface caused by wind-blown abrasion, rain and sunlight which removes the colored extratives and lignin. The color of the wood will, with time, even out to a consistent silvery-grey. Because wood is a natural material, and not a mass-produced artificial substance, there will be slight variations amongst the different pieces of wood that make up your furniture. As such, some pieces may turn grey before others. This is normal, and will resolve with time. In a standard four-season climate, furniture left outdoors and fully exposed to the elements will typically take about a year’s time to fully weather.

Staining, Painting & Preserving

While we enjoy the natural weathering process our furniture undergoes over time, we know there are many people who wish to preserve the natural look of unfinished cedar. We suggest a new wood preservative, that allows for a certain amount of moisture to penetrate the finish so the wood is not “waxed” and robbed of all moisture. Do not use a “water sealer.” This will cause unpredictable cracking, mildew or other conditions that may be very unpleasant. There are others who prefer to paint or stain the furniture to match the trim or siding finish on their home. If you plan to match existing painted surfaces, we suggest, for consistency, that you use the very same paint or stain that was used on the existing area. If you are not sure, use a semi-gloss latex that will absorb into the cedar better than oil base and help the cedar retain essential moisture. It is fine to oil your cedar furniture just like teak, since the process is akin to adding moisture. While not essential, painting or staining your furniture will have the same effect as waxing your car has on a paint job - you will add maybe 3-5 years and some beauty for the life of your pieces. As with any finish job, some light sanding and a coat of primer will make for a nicer finished product.

Extending The Life of Your Furniture
Your Tidewater Workshop furniture is designed to give you many years of pleasure. The naturally weather resistant cedar will be at home in any climate, during any season- there's no need to drag it inside during the snow or cover it during the rain. However, if you wish to extend the life of your furniture, especially if it’s been stained or painted, our Tidewater Furniture Covers are perfect for protecting your pieces from the harsher elements. When it comes to caring for your Tidewater Cushions and Pillows, they, too can be left outdoors year round, as they are made of solution-dyed, weather-resistant fabric. Naturally, the life of your cushions and pillows will be extended if they are stored indoors. If you’d prefer an outdoor solution to storing your cushions and pillows, consider our Stowaway Bench.

Please also see: Why You Should Do Business With Us

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Tidewater Workshop
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 456
Oceanville, NJ 08231

Physical Offices and Merchandise Returns:
11OO Doughty Road
Pleasantville, NJ 08232