Cedars of Lebanon – A Very Special Wood (1/30/2023)

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Irene Tukuafu Reports from the Field on Delivery of Cedars of Lebanon to Iowa.

Many people know Irene Tukuafu who lives in a round log house on the Nauvoo side of the banks of the Mississippi River. This morning she went to the Monk Creek Wood Works Mill in Iowa to inspect the delivery of Lebanon Cedar logs from the Tyler Arboretum in Pennsylvania.

She was the first person to begin working with wood cut from the cedar tree from the birthplace of America. Irene has made hundreds of musical instruments out of fine woods for 35 years. Over these years, she has become an expert in evaluating wood.

Here is a copy of an email that she sent this evening. We offer the email for your review and enjoyment.


Dear John, My impressions for this day. I woke up early as usual and got ready or what I knew was going to be an exciting day. As I started my scripture study, John calls just before 7 A.M.

OF COURSE I’m going to be there midmorning. and sliding down (more slowly then Saturday) my steep driveway ….. I was on the road at 9:30 A.M. (It’s 14 degrees this morning.) It took me about one hour and it’s quite out in the country and it’s beautiful out there.

When I got there, the owner, Dennis Janssen, was closing a big building that holds the BIG SAWS. I walked over to these Cedar of Lebanon logs and took photos. I KNEW I was seeing something very special. The largest collection of Cedar of Lebanon logs in the USA and there’s still 1/3 more logs to come here.

I’ve been making harps and musical instruments since 1988, I reached out and touched these logs. I feel that my very own ancestors saw this tree as I have 3 sets of grandparents that were on the Mayflower when it first landed. And as John told the story that folks used to gather around this ancient tree when it was green and growing to have meetings ………….. who knows but some were my ancestors gathered there over 150 years ago. I’ll find out when I go to the Spirit World and ask them myself. Ha. Needless to say, I’m a tree lover and I’m loving this big tree, even though it’s cut down logs. All wood does its own living after it is cut down. Some wood takes in humidity, some wood breathes differently. Some wood is tight grained and some wood is very open grained. The colors of various woods are without measure. Some wood has more fragrance than others. This Cedar of Lebanon wood has the most beautiful smell of any other wood I’ve smelled in my life!!

John gave me a warped board of this cedar and I had it milled to 2 very thin pieces because I wanted to see the quality of this wood. WOAH, the smell was sooooooooooooo awesome. No wonder Solomon wanted to have the first Temple with this wood inside. I LOVE THIS SMELL. I’ll be making a teardrop dulcimer top with the two good pieces I got from this wood. I’ll use olive wood for the fretboard & scroll head and Koa wood for sides. Koa wood is a variety of Acacia Wood. This dulcimer will be made with only woods that are used in the Bible. So you can see why I was sooooooooooo excited to see this wood for myself. I’ve taken a photo of the teardrop dulcimer and the Cedar of Lebanon wood next to it. I’ll be taking this dulcimer to Hawaii and in a little shop next to the ocean, I’ll be making my “Biblical dulcimer”. I’ve found some Olive wood that I can get while I’m in S.L.C. and I’ll get the koa wood when I’m in Hawaii. Soooooooooooo “stay tuned”. I’ll be coming back with a new dulcimer to play for anyone that wants to hear it.

Aloha, Irene Tukuafu


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Irene Tukuafu at Monk Creek Wood Works Yard with Cedars of Lebanon Logs Delivered this Morning.

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Dennis Janssen. President and Owner of Monk Creek Wood Works in Donalleson, Iowa.

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Cedars of Lebanon at the Phoenicia Ship Museum in Montrose, Iowa.

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