CLEAR is the top of the line in any wood.
This is an architect's grade - the rarest part of the tree, the hardest to get, the most expensive option. Clear and Clear Vertical Grain (CVG) are the Highest appearance grades we have. And of course the MOST expensive of the grade choices.
When you have to have CLEAR - NO KNOTS - but are planning to paint your wood siding then CLEAR FINGER JOINT (FJ) Cedar Siding is the best choice.
Finger Joint (FJ) has 2 major advantages
COST: CLEAR Cedar Boards are very expensive. With Finger Joint engineering you can have CLEAR no knot cedar for a lot less $$$.
BOARD LENGTH: CLEAR Cedar is in such limited supply that longer lengths are expensive. Finger joint CLEAR cedar is 90% 16 and 20 foot length
Scientific advancements in Joinery Technology
Years ago Finger Joint gained a poor reputation in the industry due to a problem called "telescoping". This happened when the "fingers" were on the face of the board, the glue would de-laminate and one side of the joint would pop up above the other (telescoping) causing major problems.
Here is the old style with finger across the face of the board:
images courtesy of DO IT YOURSELF and WoodGears.ca
Along came advancements in polymer glue technology and the "fingers" were re-engineered and moved from the face to the edge of the board eliminating the risk of telescoping problem. Here is a shot of the face of our unfinished finger joint cedar board which is now free of the appearance of fingers.
Most finger jointed bevel and trim products carry a 50 year warranty against rot, de-lamination and joint telescoping. That is better protection than any wood product out there. (Warranty may not apply to custom milled patterns).