three examples of picket shapes
Photo: Ted Morrison
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Which Wood?

D. Eastern White Cedar: Grows from New England to Minnesota. Stable and sap-free with small, tight knots. Shown: 1½-inch-by-4-foot Nantucket picket, about $27.50 per linear foot; Walpole Woodworkers

E. Cypress: From southern swamps, this tan relative of redwood is stable and sap-free. Can have small, tight knots. Shown: 3-inch-by-4-foot Gothic picket, about $17.50 per linear foot; Duluth Timber Co.

F. Western Red Cedar: A Pacific Northwest wood with superior rot and insect resistance. Stable and sap-free. Shown: 1½-inch-by-4-foot Illinois picket, about $6.50 per linear foot; endola's Fence Company

What's whitewood? A catchall term for inferior species of spruce, pine, and fir used in cheap fence panels. Unless treated to deter rot and insects, they have about half the life span of woods that are naturally rot resistant.
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