Treeslayer, I think it may have to do with the soil. Some of the prettiest red gum lumber comes out of the middle of Alabama. What we have look’s more like the second pic. But, if you can get it with a lot of heart wood it will be pretty with a lot of red colors. I think aging a sweetgum log will help on the color.
The guy that sells to Woodcraft buys red gum lumber down around Cullman, Al. It looks like the first pic. Hard to get it looking like that. It’s not cheap!
I have a brand new 250 square foot cedar fence and enjoy it's current appearance. I'm searching for stain recommendations that will retain as much of the "new" look as I can get. I've checked Consumer Reports however it seems their recommendations met with very mixed reviews from users.
I know linseed oil is a premier preservative but seems pretty darned expensive for what I need.
I thought I'd check with the pro's for your thoughts.