The cedar we picked up yesterday was, without a doubt, rough looking on the outside. Indeed, each and every long piece has a section approximately 10 inches long two feet from one end that is completely rotted through. Since all the wood came from old water towers, my guess is that the rot line was right at the surface of the water where whatever foreign elements were in the water (bacteria, moss, scum, soap, whatever) tended to float.
But, to be honest, the surface of the full length of pretty much every board looks a little porous and dead. I suppose that isn't altogether surprising for boards more than 20 years old. It looks like this (top and bottom of a piece of a slice of board shown):
But lo and behold, look at the cross-section of the same piece of wood (click to enlarge):
What appear from the surface to be deep cracks in the wood end barely a millimeter below the surface. And not only that, but this stuff smells like heaven inside. The fresh cedar smell is positively addictive. I'm sniffing this board so much, I'm becoming a cedar huffer.
Anyway, I suppose this comes as no surprise to some people, but I had never messed around with cedar before.
Oh, and for anyone who doesn't know already, the dark arc line curving from just left of top center to lower right is just a saw mark where the saw blade got hot and left a little burn mark on the wood.
So, all in all, I'm pretty happy about this score. Thank you Craigslist!