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
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:
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 years time to
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 its 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 youd prefer an outdoor solution
to storing your cushions and pillows, consider our Stowaway
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