This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
There is a wood which greatly resembles good red cedar and which is found only in the State of California. One species of this tree grows to an enormous size and is famous on this account, but this is not the one which yields the lumber used for building purposes, which is known as the common redwood. The wood is used for cheap interior finish and for shingles, also for use in heavy construction, thus serving nearly the same purposes as does hard pine in the eastern states. Redwood is light, and not very strong, but on the other hand, it is remarkably durable, resisting fire to a considerable extent. It is easy to work and will take a polish so that it is valuable for inside finish, and some of the wood has a wavy grain which adds greatly to its finished appearance. This wood is known as "curly" redwood. In color the heartwood is red, but the sapwood is nearly white, with the wood between them varying in color and averaging a rich reddish brown. The grain is usually straight and the wood is solid and dense in structure but the grain is more or less coarse in appearance.