Help me choose: beech VS cedar shoetrees

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by 40kaas-nl, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    As other have pointed out already, the American Red Cedar is a different species from the Cedars of Lebanon. Red Cedar is a rather cheap and nasty wood, lots of knots and the wild and random streaks of white sapwood running through. It's traditional use in the States was shingles and house cladding.

    I just picked on the net a picture of red cedar furniture, as well as a chest in cedar of Lebanon and I believe everybody agrees that red cedar not the nicest timber for furniture use.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Oak, cherry, walnut, maple are classic furniture woods, red cedar isn't.

    So, what do you do with a product you have no market for, you invent a market. It really doesn't matter what species of wood a shoe tree is made from, the proper fit is far more important.
     
  2. Tomasso

    Tomasso Senior member

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    Red Cedar is a rather cheap and nasty wood, lots of knots and the wild and random streaks of white sapwood running through. It’s traditional use in the States was shingles and house cladding..I believe everybody agrees that red cedar not the nicest timber for furniture use..
    Red cedar is a popular choice in furniture for use in rustic settings such as cabins, summer homes, cottages and fishing camps because it is insect resistant. I've seen some beautiful furniture made with red cedar, especially logged, and it can be a bit pricey.
    http://store.aspenlog.com/Log_Furnit..._Log_Furniture
    http://www.clayoquotcrafts.com/

    Here's a little info about the characteristics of red cedar.

    http://www.shawcreekgeneralstore.com/benefits.htm

    So, what do you do with a product you have no market for, you invent a market.

    [​IMG] I'd bet that shoe trees constitutes less than 1% of the red cedar market.
     
  3. Ivan Kipling

    Ivan Kipling Senior member

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    I believe that red cedar leaves, are included in a very popular men's fragrance, from Hermes: Rocabar.

    One of my favorite fragrances, Memoire D'Homme . . . is supposed to be imbued by blue cedar.
     
  4. johnapril

    johnapril Senior member

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    Clear cedar is the new redwood.
     
  5. kitonbrioni

    kitonbrioni Senior member

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    Go with the lowest cost option, but red cedar does have a pleasant smell and is light in weight compared to beech.
     
  6. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Senior member

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    Cedar? I dont even know her...

    Tough choice though

    Oh well, life's a Beech[​IMG]
     
  7. 40kaas-nl

    40kaas-nl Senior member

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    Wow, thanks for all the answers everyone! I have only one pair of shoetrees at the moment; cedar wood and made by/for Church's. And they actally developped a large split [​IMG] So I guess I will go for the beech version afterall. But tomorrow I will visit my shoemaker (to pick up some C&J that I had partially resoled) and will take a look at whatever they have to offer. I will post some pics when I bought my shoetrees; it might also be a good opportunity to show you my small shoe collection! [​IMG]
     
  8. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Funny, none of the bespoke shoes I have came with cedar trees. They tend to use a lighter, varnished wood. Though EG left theirs unvarnished.
     
  9. 40kaas-nl

    40kaas-nl Senior member

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    Today I visited my shoemaker and asked him about this issue. The cedar wood shoetrees he had for sale were €45 and I decided this was a bit expensive. So this afternoon I bought 4 pairs of the €22 beech shoetrees through the website I mentioned in my first post. The shoemaker had an interesting point though for choosing cedar and that was that it should help to control the growth of funghi and bacteria...? I know from reading on SF that moths do not like cedar wood but this is something I have never heard before. What do you guys think? PS: I am very happy with the way he resoled my C&J exept for the fact that one nail came out trough the side of the (Rendenbach) heelpiece. Took a file and corrected the small mistake myself [​IMG]
     
  10. pejsek

    pejsek Senior member

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    Lobb uses mahogany.

    I have never seen Lobb mahogany trees--at least on the bespoke.
     
  11. Tomasso

    Tomasso Senior member

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    I have never seen Lobb mahogany trees--at least on the bespoke.
    From JL Website:"The trees are usually made from mahogany, but Obeche wood can be used to make very light weight trees".

    http://www.johnlobbltd.co.uk/catalog...Trees/tree.htm
     
  12. pejsek

    pejsek Senior member

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    Well, that's interesting. I can't help but suspect this is pure marketing. I've seen lots of bespoke trees and they've all been made of light hard wood of various sorts. Also seems kind of silly to take a relatively heavy wood like mahogany and then drill it out for lightness. Actually, the search for lightness seems to be a key factor in the design of bespoke trees. Many are hollowed out and then there's the style I associate with Maxwell, where two pieces of wood are joined with a hinged mechanism made out of some sort of aluminum alloy. I'm sure the mahogany is beautiful, but I'd have to deduct points for lack of function.
     
  13. Leaveitothexperts

    Leaveitothexperts Senior member

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    Is there any empirical evidence that shoe trees actually absorb moisture? If not, one could theoretically use any wood, varnished/unvarnished.

    Shoes obviously accumulate moisture after wear. so how about this proposition?

    After wear, the primary/main role of the shoe tree is to maintain shape while the shoe dries out (whether or not this drying is due to natural conditions or due to absorbent/unvarnished wood).

    As an aside to the main question, I have noticed that most shoe trees have low vamp area (don't know if this is the exact terminology). I don't own any besopoke trees but I find the trees sold by JM are pretty good. Any thoughts?

    http://www.johnstonmurphy.com/catalo...re&PLOID=32862
     
  14. Tomasso

    Tomasso Senior member

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    After wear, the primary/main role of the shoe tree is to maintain shape while the shoe dries out (whether or not this drying is due to natural conditions or due to absorbent/unvarnished wood).


    I would agree.[​IMG]
     
  15. tabasco

    tabasco New Member

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    Were MAPLE ! and full sized, complete with arch, and full heel. The man was a grain merchant, no end of bespoke stuff.

    My take on the above discussion is that cedar is cheap, very easy to work/shape, and smells nice. It's also light weight, and well be easier to pack.
    However, cedar splinters easier (it's a conifer).

    I prefer my inherited maple trees over my purchased cedars; oh, I use cedar in my closet as it smells nice.
     

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