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Thread: Aspen wood?

  1. #1
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    Aspen wood?

    Anyone have experiecne working with aspen? The local (NE) Lowes started carrying the boards and I was impressed with the clarity and bright white appearance. How well does it work compared to other lumber? How hard? How does it take stain?

    Thanks for your thoughts.
    Terry

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Achey View Post
    Anyone have experiecne working with aspen? The local (NE) Lowes started carrying the boards and I was impressed with the clarity and bright white appearance. How well does it work compared to other lumber? How hard? How does it take stain?

    Thanks for your thoughts.
    Terry
    Here in Minnesota we call aspen "popple".. not sure if it is the same species as carried by Lowes. My local HD carries what they call aspen but it has a greenish tinge. Our local popple is nice to work with, easy to machine, is fairly hard and once in awhile has nice grain. I used local milled popple for bedroom flooring and it looks great.. IMO. I don't have any experience with staining aspen so I can't comment on that.. try a few pieces with different stains, dyes etc and see for yourself.

    One of the problems with buying planed lumber at Lowes or HD is that the boards are often not flat enough for furniture. By the time you joint and plane the cups, twists and bows out there isn't enough thickeness left.. except maybe for drawer sides.

  3. #3
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    Do not confuse Aspen with (tulip) poplar...different species and different properties. Aspen is softer and can get the "fuzzies". Poplar (tulip/yellow poplar) is harder and a common furniture wood. The heartwood of the poplar does sometimes have a green hue when fresh cut, but it browns out with oxidation and time. Aspen is fine for small projects and crafting, but not one I like for furniture.
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  4. #4
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    Aspen

    I tried Aspen and don't like it at all. Very difficult to get really smooth and doesn't like finishing.
    Carry on, regardless.

  5. #5
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    Aspen is very fiberous. I have cut dovetails with a router on it and man, the chips are fluffy and fiber. Its soft wood. I agree is looks nice. Its clear looking stuff. Picked up a board at Lowes to check out. Also it is prone to tearout, even with a backerboard.
    One good turn deserves another

  6. #6
    It is not bad for small projects. I got several panels of aspen from Lowes. I believe they were about 24" x 60". They were edge glued from smaller pieces of aspen.

    I made a doll armoire for my grand-daughter to use with her American dolls. It does get a little fuzzy but it smoothes out by sanding after the first coat of finish. It is a soft wood and easy to work, but does dent easily.
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  7. #7
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    I use aspen a lot for painted furniture. You don't have to deal with knots. It is very inexpensive. I don't have much problem with it getting fuzzy. I know if it is from a tree with a lot of tension in it, you will get fuzzy wood. I did a lot of samples with General finishes solvent and water base stains. They worked very well on the aspen. To control stain problems, I used a spit coat of shellac or a 50/50 mix of water base poly and water for a seal coat. Both worked very well. Aspen is harder then pine, not as hard as soft maple. It does work well for drawers. The white color is very nice. The mills I buy from only cut certain types of aspen for lumber. I believe they use other types for pallets only and for paper. Hope this helps. bob

  8. #8
    Here is a picture of my back patio. It has a tounge and groove Aspen ceiling. Here in Colorado we can get T&G Aspen pretty cheap from the mill. I used a sanding sealer and two coats of a Tung oil and Polyurethane mixture. I had the local paint store add some red tint to the mixture to give it a little bit of color. Aspen really needs to be a light color since adding any stain makes for a very splotchy finish. It can be a real nice look and I've done T&G Aspen interior ceilings with just a Polyurethane finish. It does have its weaknesses in that it soft and can get fuzzy but we use it a lot and can be real nice. The one picture has an Aspen tree in the background.
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  9. #9
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    Thanks for the feedback, guys. Now that you mention it, the boards I saw at Lowes were fuzzy. Nice little doll armoire Ralph! No confusing it with poplar. PA has plenty of hardwoods to choose from and poplar is a "poplar" and economical choice for painted projects or other uses where finishes aren't important. In fact, I just finished a modified version of Norm's woodshop hutch using poplar for edging.

    I was intrigued by the plain and fresh beauty of the aspen, but sounds like a wood best suited for hobbying or painting. Thanks again for the advise!

    Terry

  10. #10
    I've worked with Aspen in 2 different regards: woodworking and tree cutting. Unlike a lot of other woods, aspen (populus tremoloides) (hence the term "popple") disintegrates in a hurry when it's felled and lays on the ground. Another woodworker told me he once tried to make some outdoor steps from aspen and they deteriorated within a year.

    I made some cabinet doors and drawer fronts for a customer (specific to their request) and experienced the fuzzies, some difficult in cutting profiles with the router, and staining was all over the place (we ended up painting them).

    I categorize it very low end, i.e. when I need very clear pine and I'm gonna paint it, but it does have it place in the wood rack once one understands it characteristics and issues.

  11. #11
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    Terry

    Do an internet search on Peter Bloch, and you may have have a new appreciation for what can be done with Aspen.

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