It’s much lighter than pine, so furniture made from poplar will be easier to move around if you decide to rearrange your home. Working with pine is more difficult in many ways than working with most other woods---pine is softer, has a LOT of pitch/sap(which coats saw blades/etc.) Also, each board has to have the same moisture content and be dried the same way---air dry or kiln dry. Trim also includes baseboards and crown molding. If you’re not sure about how to scale the trim correctly to the various spaces in your home, consider hiring a designer to help you out, since the finishes are so important to the final look of your home. Are you new to doing your own woodworking projects? Poplar wood is considered a hardwood by species, but this can be somewhat confusing, as it is typically softer than pine, a common softwood. The density of a wood is determined based on the multiple growths and physiological factors such as Age, diameter, height, radial growth, geographical location, site and growing conditions etc. If you’re thinking about poplar vs. pine trim for your home, that’s a completely different story than if you are debating poplar vs. pine for furniture. The old-growth longleaf pine, or heart pine, is no longer available due to over-harvesting, so if you are interested in that type of wood, you will need to find a second-hand source. Poplar is somewhat harder and more dent-resistant than pine. We use poplar for one important reason: it is and always has been the wood of choice for health clinics world-wide. I strongly suggest using hardwood for all your face frames and cabinet doors. Poplar is called 'Painters Wood' due to the smooth texture of the sanded wood. Poplar Wood Vs. Wood is categorized into two groups based on their density as softwood and hardwood. It also provides a delightful glossy lacquered look which many users enjoy. Because of its soft nature, poplar may give you slightly more blurred edges than another type of hardwood, but it’s still better than pine. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll focus on the two most common kinds, which are regular white pine and yellow pine. There may appear to be a significant price difference between Poplar and MDF. It reflects the force in pounds required to push a small steel ball into the wood. Or Wood vs Pine. Pine develops a nice, rustic patina from age and use, and it resists shrinking and swelling. Table tops should be attached to the skirt/base in a manner that allows the top to move. While poplar and yellow poplar have essentially the same hardness, but there are many different types of pine, and they vary widely in terms of hardness. Instead of white pine, he priced all poplar (the location is SE Ohio) Is the poplar a suitable sub for the plan-recommended white pine? Although pine is sturdy and heavy, it’s not as heavy as oak. Poplar tends to be somewhat easier to work with since it’s lighter and has fewer knots and less sap. Sealing is especially important with pine. Press Esc to cancel. As a species, poplar is not inherently more stable than many sorts of pine, but the quality of poplar boards available at your big-box store may very well be higher than that of the pine they carry. Confused? Another factor for the cost is whether or not that type of wood is native to your area. So if you’re curious about comparative hardness, you first need to determine the type of pine you’re talking about. In this guide, we’ll talk poplar vs. pine and go through some pros and cons for both, specifically with regards to hardness, price, and use. And when we’re talking about the white pine and yellow pine most commonly used for furniture, they are also fairly softwoods. Trim is an important part of the finished look of your home. If you glued individual boards together to make the top that warped, you should have alternated grain patterns---that reduces some of the warping tendency. If you’re DIYing the furniture, definitely consider adding a coat of poly to get a professional look. You can also finish off the furniture you’re building with a nice coat of polyurethane. There are also options like cedar, redwood, larch, oak, and hemlock. Make sure to use poly or shellac for that. Curious about the difference between various types of wood? It is a light to medium weight hardwood, which means that it blends durability with mobility. Window casings and door trim can look quite charming when they’re done with stained pine finished with shellac, as long as you’re okay with that cozy cabin look. I'm a bit concerned about using all pine since I don't want the barn look, and I'm also not able to set the sap in the wood. Remember to keep the trim of a space in scale with the size and shape of the room. Pine has an attractive rich color, ranging from yellow-gold to amber or red-brown. Here’s what to look for when identifying pine, oak, maple, walnut, cherry, birch, cedar, poplar, ash, and Douglas fir. The frame will be white pine, however I'm going back and forth on the interior planking to be used for the walls and cathedral ceiling with dormers (white pine or poplar). Poplar. Type above and press Enter to search. Specific gravity as applied to wood, is the ratio of an ovendry weight of a wood sample to the weight of water (whose volume is equal to the volume of the wood sample at a specified moisture content). Western white pine gains a bit on the hardness scale, coming in at 420 lbf, but that is still a lot less than poplar. However, the terms hardwood and softwood don’t necessarily dictate whether a tree’s lumber is comparatively soft or hard in terms of density. The radiata pine, however, is significantly harder, with a rating of 710 lbf, and the Southern yellow pine (longleaf variety) is even better at a super-hard 870 lbf. I have also uploaded the video from my Youtube channel. Pine is a softwood however poplar is a soft hardwood. Poplar wood is typically a white or creamy yellow hue, though it can be brownish or appear with mineral streaks of various colors in it, referred to as “rainbow poplar.” Although it is used more for utilitarian purposes (it’s more likely to be used for drawers than cabinet fronts or for match sticks than tables), it does occasionally make an appearance in some artisan furniture. Some notable examples of the category are oak, maple, and poplar. Many guitar manufacturers as a substitute for alder are using this wood, as it is quite similar in tone. I am of the impression that radiata pine is one of those fast growing plantation trees. Poplar isn’t all that well suited for varied hot and cold conditions ... great marks for durability, coming in at 22-31 pounds per cubic foot on average. Although pine is sturdy and heavy, it’s not as heavy as oak. And of course, if you are willing to pay a lot more, you can get into the high-end woods like maple, cherry, walnut, and mahogany, or even into the realm of exotic lumber. Now let’s talk about cost. It takes paint very well. If that’s the aesthetic you want, go for it. Any input would be great. This is usually visible at both microscopic level and at the surface — hardwoods tend to have broad leaves, while softwoods tend to have needles and cones. Only Poplar has allowed some of the very sickest people to detoxify. But which one is better to work with? As we have said, poplar machines better than pine. But, that might not happen---so replacing it will be necessary. If you want a more durable paint grade wood, check out Soft Maple, it is only soft relative to hard maple and around here (NY-Penn border) is quite affordable.Mr T. Do not try this at home! One question to ask on woodworking or home improvement projects is what species of wood to use. While the lumber from such companies might be a bit more expensive, it’s well worth it to support the health of the planet, its forests, and its creatures. Poplar is a fairly soft, porous wood. Well, it all depends on the type of pine you are talking about. Cherry is smetimes stained very dark, to make the grain look more even. Some experts recommend using a Minwax pre-stain conditioner and following that up with stain. In some cases, if you’re looking for a rarer type of pine, you may be out of luck. This serves as a final seal, securing the wood against spills, moisture, and damage. The Effects of Different Stains on Poplar Wood: A few weeks ago I wanted to see the effects of different stains on White Pine, well this time I used common Poplar that you can buy at Lowes or Home Depot. We’ll break it down for you. There is really not much difference in the strength between pine and poplar. Be aware that some kinds of pine will tend to splinter and crack when they are dry, while other types of pine, such as the Southern yellow pine, tend to have a lot of sap. Sometimes you can obtain some of this beautiful, magnificent wood from older buildings that are being taken down or remodeled. Are they environmentally conscious, focused on planting new trees, and preserving habitats? There are many species of hardwoods; poplar, hickory, birch, oak, mahogany. It’s much lighter than pine, so furniture made from poplar will be easier to move around if you decide to rearrange your home. As you look for places to purchase your pine or poplar, consider where the seller is getting their lumber. Curious about the tree that ranks highest of all the trees, not just the pines? This was my first big woodworking project. A house with small rooms and lower ceilings will look more crowded and small if you use large, wide trim pieces in a darker color. The main problem with any wood is the moisture content and the structure of the grain. My first piece, a sidetable, now has a warped board, which happens to be part of the table top. Then poplar is better painted. Pine is cheaper than several other types of wood, including oak. Even the most discriminating clinics, such as Dr. William Rae’s Environmental Health Center in Dallas, Texas only use saunas made from Poplar wood. A lot also depends on construction methods, but your pics aren't good enough to make out the details of what you did. Pine It’s relatively easy to identify this type of wood because of the frequent presence of dark knots and its distinct yellow color (although this can sometimes lean more towards pale yellow or light brown, depending on the exact species). Keep in mind, as we mentioned before, that there are many varieties of pine. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. That’s because pine wood has most features of the former: light, having low density, easy to be cut, and grow fast. Properly sanded, you can paint poplar and no one will know that you used a cheap wood. Pine is a softer wood and more prone to damage, but accepts stain very well. Again, this is a very general overview. Poplar doesn’t dent as easily as pine does. The distinction between and softwood is related to how the species produces seeds. In general, hardwood trees grow slowly and as a result are more hard and dense but this isnt always the case. Trim is thinner than furniture and requires more machining to get it just right visually. Pine is tough and shock-resistant. Aged maple nougat hardwood vs pine plank flooring for cottage - help me decide! It’s the Australian Buloke, at 5,060 lbf. When viewed under a microscope, softwoods have no visibl… If you’re set on having stained pine trim, keep in mind that its final look is going to be a bit blockier and more rustic. Pine is a soft wood that warps easily, is difficult to dry evenly, and can have a lot of stress in the structure---meaning it can warp even as it is being cut more than most other woods. The prices for certain types of wood, especially pine, will vary depending on the type of pine lumber you plan to use. Some types of harder pine can make beautiful trim, include lovely crown molding. Cost Vs Quality Trade Off. In most instances, poplar (or at least the wood sold as poplar in home centers) is actually the wood from the tulip tree. It is a light to medium weight hardwood, which means that it blends durability with mobility. If it has to be shipped in from another section of the country, chances are it will be more expensive. Specializing in building and renovating homes, Thomas Luttrell has worked in homebuilding since 2002. There are differences between the physical structures of hardwoods and softwoods. As a species, poplar is not inherently more stable than many sorts of pine, but the quality of poplar boards available at your big-box store may very well be higher than that of the pine they carry. This is where the confusion arises and why poplar is considered a “hardwood.” Also, yellow poplar is a deciduous tree which means this type of tree sheds its leaves annually, therefore, the wood from the yellow poplar is considered to be a hardwood. Poplar is harder wood, but is difficult to stain, so painting is a better option with poplar. So when choosing your wood, bear in mind that Poplar has more enduring qualities than Pine. Maple is a popular light colored wood for furniture, walnut is the common dark choice. I heard, after the fact that I should have used poplar. See my entertainment center and end table at The scale being used is the Janka scale, developed by Gabriel Janka. It is commonly considered the cheapest wood used in furniture. In previous decades, heart pine was sometimes used for the beams or floor joists in such buildings. Part of the final color shade will depend on the type of stain and shellac that you use. The second sawyer is a smaller operation - he can do white pine, poplar on the 22 footers and honey locust for the decking. Poplar is somewhat harder and more dent-resistant than pine. Though they may not be the strongest types of pine, they are fairly easy to work with, and they yield a sturdy, attractive result. That’s why we would recommend using poplar or another wood, rather than pine. Poplar is an example of a tree that is technically a hardwood but had density and hardness that is more typical of a softwood. In softwoods, medullary rays and tracheidstransport water and produce sap. Hardwoods vs Softwoods. For example, poplar is technically a hardwood, but it is softer than some kinds of pine, which is a softwood. OR he can do all hardwood - … Are they working with companies that are careful about over-harvesting? The type of wood used makes a difference ... resistance to decay, and durability. The Caribbean Heart Pine is close to first place, at 1280 lbf. Yes, it’s more expensive than pine, but pine is too soft and will not hold up a cabinet door for long, and will not hold up to the amount or ware-and-tare cabinets get. Poplar is a hardwood tree that produces soft wood when compared to other hardwood trees. Density is the single most important indicator of strength in wood: a wood that is heavier (i.e., more wood substance per unit volume) will generally tend to be stronger than a lighter one. Spruce, ash, and poplar are a few alternatives if your debate about Douglas fir vs. pine isn’t shaping up the way you want. Love the look of the old pine knotty board but it is a pain to deal with every spring. As for the warped top---if it is fastened securely, taking it off and letting it just sit for several days might allow the warp to even out. If you paint over a knot in pine, you'll be able to spot it from a mile a way. 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. Poplar doesn’t dent as easily as pine does. Poplar is often found in furniture and cabinets, but it's not commonly used for more demanding applications such as … What are the benefits of poplar vs pine? But the pine with peak hardness is the True Pine (Timborana), with a stunning score of 1570 lbf. With newer pine lumber, even the grain spacing need to be matched to a degree---pine is fast growing and is harvested sooner that it used to be---meaning the growth rings are wider, which increases warping probability. I designed and built some living room furniture last year. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English from Iowa University. Long story short, if money isn't an issue, pick poplar. I hope this helps somebody before the… For the standard poplar or yellow poplar tree, the lumber’s average hardness is typically 540 lb-ft. By contrast, the Eastern white pine is rated at 380 lbf, which is significantly lower or softer. Because of their softer nature, porosity, and grain texture, both pine and poplar tend to be very blotchy when you stain them. The best way to avoid that ugly blotchiness is to pre-condition the wood. Pine is an inexpensive, lightweight wood that can be yellowish or whitish with brown knots. Either poplar or pine will work, but they each have their own advantages. Fastening the top securely to the skirt/base will not allow the expansion/contraction to occur---and the wood warps. Are you planning to build a piece of furniture, such as a desk, chair, table, bookcase, or dresser? beetle kill pine vs barn wood for mountain modern fireplace facade. Cons: It's a … I learned the hard way about warping and the usefulness of having the right tools. Pinewood, especially the white and yellow varieties typically used for furniture, tends to have knots. Poplar also has two very different colors---white and green----often in the same board----which makes the wood not worth staining. Most of my house is in line and every spring the wood trim in my arts and crafts living room expands causing misalignment in the cabinet doors. When it comes to trees, hardness is referred to in terms of pound-feet, or lb-ft, or lbf, as it is often abbreviated. I would think poplar would more stable as well as easier to mill. and is difficult to stain evenly. Poplar: one of the softer hardwoods, nicely resonant with a meaty tone. Hardwoods have vessel elements that transport water throughout the wood; under a microscope, these elements appear as pores. Softwoods are evergreen, meaning that they keep all their leaves even during the coldest of times. Many people blur the definitions of the two categories by naming softwoods “pine” and hardwoods “wood” in general. You can see my ebony tanle at So if you’re leaning towards making pine furniture, you’ll be shopping for yellow or white pine lumber. Poplar may be a bit blotchy to stain, as we will discuss in the next section, but it is much easier to machine, especially if you’re looking for a nice crisp finish. Wood from the yellow poplar is mostly used for the same applications like some softwoods such as western pine. Also, poplar, which is actually a hardwood, is a bit more durable than pine, which makes it a better choice for applications that receive lots of traffic or abuse, like chair rail … All that to say—pine is typically cheaper, but in some cases, you may want to throw down the extra cash and choose poplar. Do I leave it and have it come off as "rustic" or rebuild the entire top? Even poplar, with its straighter and narrower grain, is typically painted when it is used as molding or trim. Many pieces of dark (almost black) furniture sold as 'cherry' are actually alder with the dark stain and called 'cherry stain'. Maple Wood. As you begin working with wood, you will likely notice that two of the cheaper, softer, commonly used woods are poplar and pine. Cherry hardwood vs pickled white pine for bedrooms? However, being a softwood, Finger Jointed Pine is less durable than Poplar and more susceptible to moisture changes in the air than Poplar. Poplar vs. Pine: Trim Ebony measures 3,220 on the Janka scale; balsa wood measures 100. Since it doesn’t have any knots, you’ll be able to sand, treat, and finish or paint it to look like a more expensive wood, whereas pine is pretty much discernible by the knots and chunky texture no matter what you do to it. Poplar also has a tighter grain structure than pine. It's often used for rustic pieces, ... (The same holds true for birch and poplar.) You’ll usually see pine used for rustic furniture, like that found in a mountain cabin, a beach house, or a farmhouse. The term can refer to any number of pieces, from door and window casings, to cap molding and back band, to chair rail and wall paneling. Some additional considerations involve the sourcing of the wood. These knots can eventually leak some sap, and if they are not sealed, that can be awkward and sticky. In many cases, it’s even cheaper than poplar. Poplar is a good choice for projects where a premium-quality painted finish is the goal. Keep in mind that because of its broad grain and frequent knots, pine trim is usually meant to be painted, not stained. Hardwoods are deciduous trees, which means that they shed all their leaves once a year, prior to the cold season. The Janka hardness rating measures wood to rate its suitability for flooring. Basswood: the principal wood used on many Japanese made instruments. It depends on how you are going to finish it. The finer and more detailed the project, the harder and more expensive the wood you will need for it. However, it may be a tad more susceptible to temperature changes and effects, so be aware that it isn’t really the best choice for furniture that you plan to use outdoors. Because of that, the term for this unit of measure is pound-force.