In 1940, scientists found some fossils in Japan for a new, unfamiliar species of wood that was quite similar to redwood
and sequoia that are living trees in
California. (Since this find, fossils of
the same genus have been found in the
Badlands of western North Dakota.)
Then in China in 1941, botanists and
foresters were surprised when three
living trees of an unknown species,
that eventually turned out to be the
same tree as the fossils, were found in
These three trees were named dawn
redwood. Seeds of these trees were collected and were been planted in various locations throughout the world.
Now, as these trees mature and more
are being planted, the wood properties are being collected and published.
Dawn redwood is a very fast growing
softwood tree, if grown in good condi-
3 feet in diameter at age 26 years. This
growth rate is very attractive to forest-
ers and land-owners. It has the poten-
tial to be a short-rotation crop tree.
The wood is somewhat similar to
California redwood.It could be used
for house siding and shakes, boat
houses, outdoor furniture, garden trel-
lises, outdoor signs and similar items
not requiring strong wood. ;
A living fossil.
; Want more? For more on this and other species, search the Wood Explorer collection at woodworkingnetwork.com/wood-explorer
by Gene Wengert
firstname.lastname@example.org WOOD EXPLORER
Density. The density of samples col-
lected has ranged from 18 to 26 pounds
per cubic foot. The lower densities are for
the faster growing material and the higher
density for slower growth.
Drying. Drying is very easy. The wood
should be dried using the same procedures as California redwood, which
includes end coating green lumber. The
radial shrinkage is exceptionally low, but
the tangential shrinkage is quite high for a
low density wood.
Gluing and Machining. Gluing is
easy. Machining requires exceptionally
sharp cutters to avoid compressing the
fibers and subsequent fuzzing.
Stability. Except for the excessive
swelling of collapsed wood the first time
such wood is exposed to high RH, dawn
redwood is fairly stable tangentially.
Strength. The strength (MOR) of low
density dawn redwood was 6400 psi;
high density was 8000 psi. The stiffness
(MOE) of low density was 0.48 million
psi; high density was 1. 1 million psi.
Color and Grain. Dawn redwood
has heartwood that is more pink than
red. The sapwood, which can be several
inches wide, is brilliant white.