Smart, Cost-Effective, Treasured for Generations.

Aspen

Populus tremuloides - Other Name: Popple
 
 

Stain Selector

Clear

Light

Medium

Dark

 

Where It Grows

Commercially in the Northeast.
Average tree height is 40 to 60 feet. The aspen has a short life span: just before reaching full growth, it has a tendency to suffer from decay. Aspens are known for seeding and thriving in places where fires have been.

Main uses

Furniture parts (drawer sides), doors, mouldings, picture frames, millwork, toys, kitchen utensils, food containers, baskets and matchsticks. Important specialized uses include sauna laths because of its low conductivity of heat, and chopsticks.

Relative Abundance

Together, aspen, basswood, cottonwood, elm, gum, hackberry, sassafras, sycamore and willow represent 12.5 percent of commercially available U.S. hardwoods.

Did You Know?

Chopsticks and excelsior (the packing material) often are made of aspen.

General Description

Sapwood is white, blending into the light brown heartwood. The contrast between sap and heartwood is small. The wood has a fine uniform texture and is straight-grained.

Working Properties

Aspen does not split when nailed, it machines easily with a slightly fuzzy surface, and turns, bores, and sands well. It takes paint and stain well to produce a good finish although care is required where the surface is fuzzy. It has low to moderate shrinkage and good dimensional stability. Aspen is a true poplar, and therefore has similar characteristics and properties to cottonwood.

Physical Properties

The wood is light and soft, with low bending strength and stiffness, and medium shock resistance. It has a very low bending classification.

Availability

Limited, and rarely available in thick stock.

Working Properties


Machining

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Nailing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Screwing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Gluing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Finishing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good
 

Strength and Mechanical Properties (inch-pound)a


 

Static Bending

Moisture Content

Specific Gravity (b)

Modulus of Rupture
(lbf/in2)

Modulus of Elasticity (c)
(106 lbf/in2)

Work to Maximum Load
(in-lbf/in3)

Green-12% 0.35-0.39 5,100-9,100 0.86-1.43 5.7-7.7

Impact Bending
to Grain
(in)

Compression
Parallel to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Compression
Perpendicular to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Shear
Parallel to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Tension
Perpendicular to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Side Hardness
(lbf)

— -22 2,140-5,300 180-450 660-1,080 — -260 — -350

a) Results of tests on small clear specimens in the green and air-dried conditions. Definition of properties; impact bending is height of drop that causes complete failure, using 0.71-kg (50 lb.) hammer; compression parallel to grain is also called maximum crushing strength; compression perpendicular to grain is fiber stress at proportional limit; shear is maximum shearing strength; tension is maximum tensile strength; and side hardness is hardness measured when load is perpendicular to grain.

b) Specific gravity is based on weight when ovendry and volume when green or at 12% moisture content

c) Modulus of elasticity measured from a simply supported, center-loaded beam, on a span depth ratio of 14/1. To correct for shear reflection, the modulus can be increased by 10%.