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We will be cutting up and disposing of a large fallen poplar tree at the school where I work next week. This is the European poplar - very tall and slender - not the North American variety also known as tulipwood.


Does anyone have a view on whether it is useful for ship modelling, case construction or any other purpose related to our hobby?



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The Janka Scale hardness for Tulep is 540 where as the poplar that we commonly see in the US is 500 and bass is 380 for a comparison.  English box is 2840 and  Holly is 1080.   Best way to find out if it can be used  is to try a few pieces and see how you like working with it. 



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Poplar is a good replacement for bass wood.  A bit harder than bass.  I find it glues well and takes a nice finish.  One thing I like is that poplar does not get near as fuzzy as bass wood does when sanding.  Poplar can be milled into very thin strips on a circular saw with a hollow ground planer blade.  Good wood for framing and planking.

Edited by grsjax
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I have used poplar for larger projects like finish carpentry and furniture making and the like.  It is a very nice wood to work with and I see no reason why it would not work well for smaller parts and projects like our hobby. If anybody has any insight, I'm sure fellow readers would like to know

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  • 3 months later...

American Poplar has a great deal of green pigment in it.  It also has very similar grain as Cherry and takes a cherry stain well. 

It's excellent for painting and doesn't warp or twist, making it great for door panels and buildups. 

as far as modeling, I think it would be perfect for framing and bulkheads.


Warm Regards,



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Poplar is also very popular material for solid hull models, many of solid hulls in museums are poplar.

The finish is amazing, both for painting but also for planking.

Good wood for carving.

You can't go wrong with poplar. I have some waiting for a scratch built.

Edited by Nirvana
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Care needs to be taken with the name Poplar.

The accolades for the wood are most likely for - Liriodendron tuuipfera - Yellow poplar, Tulip poplar,Tuliptree, Canoe wood.

This is an excellent wood, especially if you like working wood with a hardness similar to Basswood.


Poplar is also the name for a different family of trees - probably closer to tall growing weeds  -  some of these

Populus nigra - Lombardy Poplar | alba - White Poplar | deltoides - Cottonwood | tremuloides - Quaking Aspen | x canadensis - Carolina Poplar.  

These tend to be "dirty" trees.  Rapid growing, weak-wooded,  fragile in wind storms, and drop a lot of junk.  I think the wood is soft and subject to splitting.  I am not sure which was the actual species, but I grew a row of "Siberian Poplar" - I think advertised on the back of Parade Magazine (never a good omen).  It did grow fast,  was dirty, brittle, and did not even make good fire wood - burned too fast with little heat.  Might as well use cardboard as that wood.

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