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Poplar sapwood ranges in color from creamy white, to greyish-white, to white with a yellowish cast, and is sometimes striped. The heartwood, which is usually tan, also presents a wide variety of tones, sometimes with a slightly greenish cast, and occasionally with dark purplish streaks. Poplar offers a uniform, fine texture and is light to medium in weight with a straight grain.
Formal Name: Liriodendron Tulipifera
Other Names: Yellow Poplar, Tulip Wood
The Yellow Poplar is one of the most abundant hardwoods in the Eastern United States. Poplar grows throughout the Appalachian region and is also found in the South along the Gulf Coast, in central Florida, and in areas of Arkansas and Louisiana.
Yellow Poplar is exceptionally easy to work with both hand and machine tools, although its woolly texture can blunt tools slightly. It planes and turns beautifully, and has satisfactory nailing properties, with good screwing and gluing properties. It is a medium-density wood with low shock resistance and stiffness. It does not shape or sand well, but holds paint, enamel and stain well. On occasion, stain will produce patchy results.
Poplar gained wide usage for furniture framing and drawers in the early part of the 20th century. Today, it often is used for mouldings and millwork, boxes, pallets and shipping crates. Poplar is also used widely in plywood veneers and particle board.