Pencil Cedar (Juniperus procera)

 
 
 
 

Family - Coniferae

Distribution - Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire, Zimbabwe

Other Names: African pencil cedar, Afrikanishces bleistieftholz, East African cedar, East African juniper, Juniper, Mtarakwa, Mukuu, Murana, Murara, Mutarakwa, Mutarkwa, Mwangati, Ndarakwa, Ol tarakwa, Pencile cedar, Tarakit, Tarakuet, Tarokwa, Teet, Thed, Tolokyo, Torokio, Uganda juniper, Ugandan juniper

Characteristics: The sapwood is narrow and creamy-white in colour, and the heartwood is purplish or pinkish-red when freshly cut, becoming a uniform reddish-brown colour after drying. The wood is soft with a fine even grain, and it can be whittled easily, making it the standard wood for lead pencils. It is typically cedar - scented and dries to around 530 Kg / M3.

Working Qualities: The timber works easily, but because of frequent knots tends to tear out during planning. The wood can be stained and polished, but tends to split in nailing.

Uses: It is one of the best timbers for making pencils and the chips and shavings from this manufacture are recovered and used to distil essential oil. The fragrant, aromatic wood is also used for cigar boxes, linen and blanket chests, ship building, coffins, panelling and interior trim.

 
 
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