Wood Wisdom: Aromatic Cedar - High Spirits Flutes

Wood Wisdom: Aromatic Cedar

Posted on June 09, 2023 by Mindy Mellenbruch


For over 30-years we have been crafting flutes from single pieces of Aromatic Cedar and in the process we have become adept at choosing planks with natural characteristics to turn into incredible sounding flutes, including those with many knots in the wood.  We are experts at a technique called Turquoise Accent, which fills the occasional cosmetic wood knot.

 Every flute we make is unique piece of functional art. When you choose one of our Aromatic Cedar flutes we guarantee high-quality sound, flawless craftmanship, and its one-of-a-kind features created by nature.


Esteemed for its exceptional durability and remarkable moisture absorption properties, this wood is highly sought after for crafting musical instruments, particularly flutes. Craftsmen hold a deep appreciation for its unwavering quality, as it consistently produces a melodious, warm, full, resonant sound.

Aromatic Cedar, also known as Eastern Red Cedar, is a versatile evergreen tree native to the eastern United States and Canada. This coniferous species, belonging to the Juniper family, has a distinctive appearance characterized by a thick, conical shape and branches that start low on the trunk, almost at ground level. It can reach heights of 40 to 50 feet with a spread of 8 to 15 feet. The bark is fibrous and reddish-brown, while the leaves vary depending on the age of the tree or branch.

Renowned for its visual allure, Aromatic Cedar boasts a captivating warm reddish-brown heartwood and an exquisite fine grain pattern. The sapwood, appearing as pale yellow streaks and stripes, often intermingles with the heartwood. Knots are also commonly found in the wood.

Apart from its musical applications, Aromatic Cedar holds various practical and cultural significances. Its durable and fragrant wood is used for fence posts and is popular for lining clothes chests and closets as a natural moth repellent. The wood has a rich history in Native American traditions, where it is considered a ceremonial plant and used for prayer, healing, and protection against disease. Indigenous peoples also utilized Aromatic Cedar for making weapons, tools, and constructing timber circles.

Ecologically, Aromatic Cedar is a pioneer species, which means that it is one of the first trees to repopulate cleared, eroded, or otherwise damaged land. It can live for over 900 years and thrives in adverse conditions, making it ideal for wind breaks and shelterbelts. The tree's berries, which are actually small cones, are a source of food for various birds and mammals.

Aromatic Cedar's natural beauty, durability, and cultural significance inspire a sense of admiration and appreciation. Whether in practical applications or artistic endeavors, this exceptional tree continues to captivate and serve diverse purposes.

Tree Trivia:

  1. Native American tribes have a history of using juniper wood poles to mark tribal hunting territories. These poles, with their reddish color, inspired the name "Baton Rouge" for the city in Louisiana. 

  2. The pre-Columbian Mississippian culture constructed the impressive Cahokia Woodhenge series in western Illinois. These timber circles, built around 1000 AD, featured massive logs of eastern juniper. Woodhenge III, for example, consisted of 48 posts forming a circle with a diameter of 410 feet (120 m), with an additional pole at the center.

  3. During the devastating Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s, the Prairie States Forest Project encouraged farmers to plant windbreaks of eastern juniper across the Great Plains of the USA, serving as shelterbelts to combat the harsh conditions.

  4. In the Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma Ozarks, eastern juniper is widely used as a Christmas tree, adding a touch of natural beauty to holiday celebrations.

  5. Cedar waxwing birds are particularly fond of the juniper's "berries", hence their name. Remarkably, seeds that have been eaten by these birds have roughly three times higher germination rates compared to uneaten seeds.