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Help me choose: beech VS cedar shoetrees

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Really need to buy some decent shoetrees for all my recent shoe purchases I like these trees made from beech and the are only €22! They are not varnished, that is a good thing... right? http://pbolten.free.fr/essais/en-us/dept_8.html But the same site also has shoetrees made from cedar wood (€35). Are these really superior to the beech ones? And does the difference justify the price? (Pure functionally, I do not mind the plain look of the beech ones). Thanks
post #2 of 35
Stay clear from beechwood shoe trees. Your best bet will be any that are made from cedar wood. I am not sure of the shopping conditions in the Netherlands, but I would imagine you could find some considerably cheaper at some local shops there.

Also, yes any wood that is varnished is moot and you might as well use plastic shoe trees if you're going that route.
post #3 of 35
It doesn't make any difference whether you choose birch or cedar. Birch is a European, cedar an American wood. Until the 1950s or 60s the American wood of choice was maple; when that became too expensive, cedar was chosen.

All the European bespoke firms make their shoe trees in European hardwood.
post #4 of 35
Obeche perhaps but not beech.

Cedar for longer-term storage.
post #5 of 35
Cedar trees by all means; they wick moisture very well and keep your shoes smelling fresh. I do suggest you check out bexley.fr; they just got in a new shipment of trees.
post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe
It doesn't make any difference whether you choose birch or cedar. Birch is a European, cedar an American wood. Until the 1950s or 60s the American wood of choice was maple; when that became too expensive, cedar was chosen.

All the European bespoke firms make their shoe trees in European hardwood.

Bengal-stripe, normally I hold your knowledge in the highest regard, but I've got to question this assertion of yours. I thought cedar was desirable precisely because it was a porous, highly absorbent softwood. An additional bonus is that it is so aromatic. Birch and maple are hardwoods--both, especially birch, being used in the manufacture of gunstocks, inter alia. If the woods used are inconsequential, why don't they just manufacture them from pine and cut the costs accordingly?
post #7 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLibourel
Bengal-stripe, normally I hold your knowledge in the highest regard, but I've got to question this assertion of yours. I thought cedar was desirable precisely because it was a porous, highly absorbent softwood. An additional bonus is that it is so aromatic. Birch and maple are hardwoods--both, especially birch, being used in the manufacture of gunstocks, inter alia. If the woods used are inconsequential, why don't they just manufacture them from pine and cut the costs accordingly?

I, too, question the assertion and am in agreement with you in regards to the reasoning for using cedar wood as opposed to other woods. I have always been taught that cedar is the best without question.
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrchapel
I have always been taught that cedar is the best without question.

Lobb uses mahogany.
post #9 of 35
Cedar, for the smell alone.

You should be able to find some nice cedar trees for quite a bit cheaper on Ebay, or some of the popular online stores.
post #10 of 35
I really rather doubt if cedar is an American wood -- perhaps the use of cedar for trees began here, but what of the famed cedars of Lebanon? I just like the smell. Regards, Huntsman
post #11 of 35
I completely agree with bengal-stripe...the advertised benefits of cedar are as much marketing as fact. I have many shoe trees from both Woodlore and Rochester, and Beech trees from Dasco and the Dasco are far superior, IMO. The cost, of course, is far greater as well. Lime is also a very nice wood to use in shoe trees.

Both woods are porous, and therefore perform the basic task of absorbing moisture from the linings of shoes. Cedar has become the wood of choice here due to its low cost. Not sure if the cedar used by the 2 American manufacturers is of US origin, but I do know that you can buy 50,000 BF quantities of cedar from Peru for around $.04 per BF. Also, this comes into the US duty-free while the EU subjects it to tariffs. Beech, on the other hand, is readily sourced at reasonable prices from the Baltic states, from what I am told, inside the EU. Again, I don't know if this cedar is used or not, but the bottom line is cedar is very cheap.

I have quite a few cedar trees that are split/chipped, or have bled enough that the springs have become clogged and therefore almost useless while my beech and lime trees are perfect 5 years along...

Quote:
If the woods used are inconsequential, why don't they just manufacture them from pine and cut the costs accordingly?

cedar is pine
post #12 of 35
I completely agree with bengal-stripe...the advertised benefits of cedar are as much marketing as fact. I have many shoe trees from both Woodlore and Rochester, and Beech trees from Dasco and the Dasco are far superior, IMO. The cost, of course, is far greater as well. Lime is also a very nice wood to use in shoe trees.

Both woods are porous, and therefore perform the basic task of absorbing moisture from the linings of shoes. Cedar has become the wood of choice here due to its low cost. Not sure if the cedar used by the 2 American manufacturers is of US origin, but I do know that you can buy 50,000 BF quantities of cedar from Peru for around $.04 per BF. Also, this comes into the US duty-free while the EU subjects it to tariffs. Beech, on the other hand, is readily sourced at reasonable prices from the Baltic states, from what I am told, inside the EU. Again, I don't know if this cedar is used or not, but the bottom line is cedar is very cheap.

I have quite a few cedar trees that are split/chipped, or have bled enough that the springs have become clogged and therefore almost useless while my beech and lime trees are perfect 5 years along...

Quote:
If the woods used are inconsequential, why don't they just manufacture them from pine and cut the costs accordingly?

cedar is pine
post #13 of 35
A few minutes research on the Net reveals that the true cedars (genus cedrus) are strictly old-world plants. I suspect the cedar used by Woodlore (and maybe Rochester) is Western Red Cedar, which is not a real cedar but actually a tree of the genus thuja.

Thus, real cedar is anything but "an American wood."

However, between Bengal-stripe and Ron Rider, I shall certainly defer to their superior knowledge.
post #14 of 35
European shoemakers have told me pretty much what bengal and rider have indicated: nothing special about cedar.
post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artisan Fan
Obeche perhaps but not beech.

Cedar for longer-term storage.

I imagine Jason Amesbury uses obeche, but do you know if obeche is readily available in the US at competitive prices. I mean $50 or less per pair of obeche trees?

BTW: Your thread on your Bespoke shoe experience is fascinating and informative! Thanks
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