There are softwoods and hardwoods in various sizes with wildly varying prices. Maple, walnut, ash, cherry, and oak all fit into this category. Since 2009 he has published two books and numerous articles, both online and in print. It’s soft enough that it's easy to cut and shape and isn’t too heavy, yet it has amazing strength for framing and other structural uses. You might pick up a block of softwood that is exceptionally hard or find a wood like poplar that is a hardwood, yet soft. Poplar wood is considered a hardwood by species, but this can be somewhat confusing, as it is typically softer than pine, a common softwood. Although it’s technically a hardwood, poplar is one of the softest commercially used woods available. But, it doesn’t take finishes very well and is rarely used for cabinet-grade woodworking or where a natural wood appearance is important. Poplar is a hardwood, but it’s not very hard. His work experience has spanned the computer world, from sales and support to training and repair. It has a medium steam-bending classification. Join the party! Here’s a great way to get it out of the woodpile and give it a new life. In most instances, poplar (or at least the wood sold as poplar in home centers) is actually the wood from the tulip tree. Wandering the lumber aisle at the local home improvement warehouse reveals a dizzying array of building materials. Get the facts about heat-treated wood, a safe alternative to pressure-treated wood, and find out how it can be used in the garden. Depending on who you ask, the term "softwood" can mean different things. Most general consumers may have never heard of Poplar because it is not typically an advertised material name. The gymnosperms, which include conifers such as pines and cedars, are called softwoods. Subscribe to the HGTV Inspiration newsletter to get our best tips and ideas delivered weekly. Perfect prep is mandatory for wood staining projects, so follow these wood cleaning tips to do it right. Some examples are oak, maple and poplar. As a yard tree, true poplars are fast-growing and tough. The hardness of poplar is about on par with that of pine or cedar, but the cellular structure gives it a much finer grain and more pleasing appearance than the more coarsely grained softwoods. One head-scratching thing about poplars is that some poplars aren’t really poplars. Poplar is a hardwood, but it isn’t a hard wood. Red maple, for example, is used for gymnasium floors and butcher blocks and has a Janka rating of 950. For example balsa is a hardwood due to its cellular structure and growing characteristics, but it is extremely light and soft, while yew wood is a softwood that is very tough and dense. Softwood comes from gymnosperm trees, like cedar, fir, and pine. A wood that is rated soft is lighter and more easily cut. When mature, they are impressive landscape features. Poplar is a hardwood tree that produces soft wood when compared to other hardwood trees. Poplar is a hardwood, but it’s not very hard. It has naturally occurring oils that resist moisture, and an off-the-chart Janka hardness rating of 3680! Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. I'd only use it in low budget applications because it's so soft. The most common species in the United States, yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), is found throughout the Northeast as well as in … Though the wood is commonly referred to simply as “ Poplar,” it is technically not in the Populus genus itself, (the genus also includes many species of Cottonwood and Aspen), but is instead in … Open shelving at its finest! Poplar is the cheapest hardwood used in construction. But what’s commonly called “yellow poplar” belongs to the genus Liriodendron, which means “lily tree.” Its springtime blossoms look a lot like tulips, earning the tree its other misleading nickname, “tulip poplar.”. Here’s the 101 on this beautiful and unique craft. The gymnosperms, which include conifers such as pines and cedars, are called softwoods. Botanically speaking, poplar is an angiosperm, which is referred to as hardwood. A botanist will tell you that softwoods have a simple cellular structure and lack vascular pores to transport water through the trunk. It is inexpensive because it is also the softest of the hardwoods. Poplar slides toward the lower end of the hardness scale with a rating of 540. This common wood needs a little de-mystification. Differentiating hardwood from softwood is the cellular structure, which is much more complex and includes pores throughout. A high Janka number is a good indicator that the wood species will make tough flooring, countertops or fine furniture. The slowness of growing adds to the cost of hardwood lumber and the density of the material makes it more difficult to work with, but it also gives the wood a more lasting quality. With a rating of 700, Douglas-fir sits between hard and soft on the Janka scale. A wood rated as hard is dense and difficult to cut or scratch. 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Poplar is a soft-hardwood, so you can’t expect its hardness to outweigh many types of woods. James T Wood is a teacher, blogger and author. A lumberjack will tell you that softwoods have needles and grow quick and straight. Poplar is often found in furniture and cabinets, but it's not commonly used for more demanding applications such as flooring. It’s easy to cut and nail and has uniform grain patterns. The softest hardwoods are softer than the hardest softwoods. This wood-burning technique may be trendy now, but it’s been around for hundreds of years. They tend to grow tall and upright as opposed to spreading out, and the leaves turn vibrant yellow in the fall. The hardness of poplar is about on par with that of pine or cedar, but the cellular structure gives it a much finer grain and more pleasing appearance than the more coarsely grained softwoods. Comments: Poplar is one of the most common utility hardwoods in the United States. He is also an accomplished public speaker and PowerPoint presenter. Poplar is a medium-density wood with low-bending, shock resistance, stiffness, and compression values. They are all talking about the same category of woods that come from trees like pine, spruce and redwood. A lower grade of maple will yield much better results for both durability and quality of finish. By creating an account you agree to the Hunker, University of Tennessee Extension: Hardwood and Softwood Species Native to Tennessee, by Dr. Brian Bond et al, 2002, American Hardwood Information Center: Poplar. It’s readily available at lumber stores and home improvement centers and is one of the least expensive woods you can buy. However, they have an aggressive root system that tends to crowd out other plants and may play havoc with sewer and drain lines. Poplar comes from a dicot, which makes it a hardwood. With the beauty of wood and aged terra cotta, these planters are sure to stun! 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