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Thread: Aspen, Popple, Poplar or whatever you call it. Best use for it?

  1. #1
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    Default Aspen, Popple, Poplar or whatever you call it. Best use for it?

    On this parcel of land I am buying there are quite a few nice straight 20-28" diameter Quaking Aspens (populus tremuloides) and some Big Toothed Aspen (Populus Grandidentata) as well. We will have to take most of them down to clear the lot for our buildings. We will be having a sawyer with a band saw mill come later this summer to mill a bunch of maple, ash, and hemlock logs that will also be taken down for site work.

    My question is, never having worked with poplar, is it worth having these popple logs milled up for any purpose, and for what? The house and sugarhouse will be timber framed with hemlock timbers, and we will be using the ash and maple for interior finish. Can popple be used for rough framing material? I know it is light and brittle but could it be used for non-structural framing or siding? Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

    I know we could use it for sugarwood but these trees easily have two defect free straight 16' saw logs in each and it seems a shame to just turn them into firewood.
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  2. #2
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    Popple green can be used for roof boards. If you have painted casings it works great too because the knots do not stain through. With the yellows, greens, and sometimes violets it can also make a beautiful flooring. I once milled out some for floor with just a simple ship lap and then took cherry plugs and filled in where I had screwed the flooring down. Took a lot of time by looked amazing when finished.
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  3. #3
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    I use popple 2x6's for rafters and studs. also good roof boards as Moser said. As long as it is used in an application where it is pretty dry it is fine. I avoid using it for sills and don't like it for siding (I do know of one local Amishman who has an entire 100x34 barn built entirely of popple. Been standing about 10 years now and no visible sign of decay.)

  4. #4
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    aspen and poplar are two different species. poplar is a good building material. Aspen is good for nothing!

  5. #5
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    Agree with Dave y...poplar and aspen are very different. Tulip popular is great for 2x lumber Aspen is useless
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  6. #6
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    I think weve had this discussion on here before. I think its a regional vocabulary thing which confuses some people. DaveY and maplwwalnut are correct. Make sure the wood is tulip poplar not quaking aspen before cutting into boards. Around here people often call Aspen poplar and others refer to tulip poplar as poplar.
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  7. #7
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    In fact some real old barns have tulip poplar siding, usually board abd batten. As long as it can dry quickly and is not in contact with the ground it will last a very long time.
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  8. #8
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    If it is saw tooth aspen that you have, the stems of the leafs will be flat which causes then them to wave in a light breeze, they will send up root sprouts when you cut them.
    They are very tough to get rid of if you want to completely get rid of then. When they are cut or dying they will start to send up sprouts from round the tree not just the stump like other trees.

    As for a use, not much of anything. Aspen doesn't have a real high BTU content like oak or locust.
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  9. #9
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    I however do burn it, mixed in with better woods. I also sawed some and made my hunting blind with it. I assembled it next to the mill, then slung it and carried it to my hunting spot with my 4 ton excavator, with roof and all. Worked well. It has been in the current location for about 6 seasons so far. The only paint I used was some black spray to do a camo pattern like limbs in all directions.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, down to about 700 in '16, up to 1000 for 2019?
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    added a gooseneck equipment trailer and F350 to tow it to haul more sap
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    http://s1041.photobucket.com/albums/...anssugarhouse/
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  10. #10
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    I am not speaking about tulip poplar, which is not in the poplar (populus) family. Once again, I am inquiring about uses for Quaking or Big-Toothed Aspen. In many parts of VT people refer to these trees and cottonwood (populus deltoides) as popple. Not sure why but that may be confusing to some if people refer to tulip poplar as "popple" in other areas. Maybe people around here do call tulip poplar popple, but I sure don't.

    Not trying to start a debate about tree id here as I have that covered. Saw mills do cut aspen here and it does indeed have uses as lumber. It is commonly used for ski and snowboard cores as it is light and flexible.

    Back to my original question: It it worth sawing these logs for building material or should I buck them up for sugar wood? I'm not looking to leave these on the ground to rot as they are in the way and I am not willing to accept that they are good for nothing.
    Last edited by GeneralStark; 07-20-2013 at 05:54 PM.
    About 750 taps on High Vac.
    2.5 x 8 Intens-O-Fire
    Airtech 3 hp LR Pump
    Springtech Elite 500 RO
    14 x 24 Timber Frame SugarHouse
    16 x 22 Sap Shed w/ 1500 gal. + 700 gal. tanks
    www.littlehogbackfarm.com

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