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The Making of Cedar Shakes and Shingles

Just caught a Season Four re-run of Mike Rowe at a cedar mill in Washington state. In the episode, the owner of the mill featured actually states, “We use wood no one else wants!” While the show offers a great demonstration of the process it also illustrates why we say  “All Wood Is Not Created Equal!” When correctly harvested and milled, cedar shakes and shingles are not only beautiful but also durable, long lived, energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The Cedar Roof Company uses only Premium Cedar Shakes and #1 Grade Shingles from Waldun Forrest Group.

cedar roofing mill

Many pieces of equipment are used to mill a cedar log into shakes or shingles

Good Wood

Waldun begins with high-quality western red cedar trees harvested on Vancouver Island and pulled up river in long bundles. Waldun purchases only mature, straight trees for its premium shakes and shingles. Each log is sorted for various product requirements before even entering the mill. Once there, it is washed to remove mud and debris, then cut into rounds and split to reveal its grain. Experienced deck crews decide if it will be a hand split or sawn product.

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A huge cedar log is pulled into the mill

Rustic-looking shakes are created using the hand-split technique. The hydraulic splitters used by Waldun ensure a consistent cut along the grain. Shingles are a taper-sawn product that relies on skilled workmen to trim and sort them to the appropriate thickness and grain. Waldun separates the grain of its shakes and shingles; others throw it in one bin and sort while packing. These mills cannot guarantee the flat grain content in their bundles is as advertised and required by the CSSB.

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An employee uses a splitter at the Waldun cedar mill to create cedar shakes


Waldun is the largest member of this organization and, even so, insists that it use the strictest third-party grading agency available to certify that its members’ products meet the requirements of CSSB endorsement. To ensure compliance with CSSB standards, Waldun schedules three quality-control employees to supervise each of its shifts.

Guaranteed to be the Best

“Some mills pack excessive amounts of flat grain into their bundles,” says company owner, Curtis Walker. “Waldun counts every piece, ensuring our customers get no more than 20 percent flat grain in every No. 1 bundle of shakes we produce. That is the grading rule, and we don’t break it to lower our price. It is our philosophy.” The quality of its product is something in which all Waldun’s employees take a lot of pride. “In fact every product we produce is 100 percent guaranteed to be on grade or better. We have warranties signed in ink to stand behind it.”

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A sorter at the Waldun cedar mill separates the premium shakes


Do you know who harvested your cedar? If you chose the Cedar Roof Company, you can be assured your shakes or shingles are of the highest quality. If not, you may get the wood “no one else wants.”

Want another glimpse into a cedar mill? Check out this video from This Old House. Though the author of the post notes how dangerous it all appears, he notes that “Their product is top notch and they assured me that they had routine safety inspections and their record was very good.”


See How the Colors Compare

Colors depicted for comparison purposes only. Actual preservation color may vary based on the condition of wood roof. Please refer to the Gallery for more representations of colors.