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Pete, i have made a couple of log beds out of aspen (Quaking aspen grows like weeds up here in PA) and i was sort of dissapointed with it, it is very easy to machine, but it is softer than basswood, not as soft as balsa, and you really can't get a good finish when sanding it.  Being so soft it does not take a stain or finish well unless you use a sealer. It does have a uniform color however.



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In "Know Your Woods" by Albert Constantine Jr.


The entry for Quaking Aspen is Populus tremuloides "This aspen shrinks very little and in bending qualities ranks with the best hardwoods."


The entry for Cottonwood,Eastern is Populous deltoides  "This tree is known by several other names including ASPEN, COTTONWOOD, CAROLINA POPLAR, WATER POPLAR, YELLOW COTTONWOOD."


We have three of the species native to Canada on our 20 acres of property. Quaking Aspen, Black Polar, and Balsam Poplar, they are generally short lived and grow fast. I have some 6 inch diameter logs that are free of checks and are at least 7 years old and dry. I have cut some that is re-sawn and stacked as potential future model building wood. It tends to get fluffy when sanded but smooth as silk when planed by hand. The model that I showed in the other thread on polar was in fact Quaking Aspen, we have a tendency to lump them all in together under the same name.


The only way to tell the difference between the different species of polar is by looking at the pore structure in the end grain under a microscope, I am led to believe that the poplar sold commercially is often of mixed species under the common names. This is certainly true of the 50 plus species of White Oak that are sold in North America. White Oak is White Oak right?



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Brad and Micheal

    Thanks for your reply. So it would seem if care is taken on the way it is finished it should be a descent wood for framing. It is kinda like the basswood--hurry up and it will be sloppy---take you time, pay attention and you can get a nice finish on it.  Think I may give it a try.


Really appreciate it

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Today I re-sawed some of the Trembling Aspen that I cut down in  2006.I originally cut it into some planks in 2008.


the sizes that I cut today were .30" x .075" and .75" x .015", .75" x .020",  .75" x .035" I did not try to cut specific thicknesses but just arbitrarily cut thick and thin slices of the boards and then measured them.




this picture shows the dry wood the curved piece is the .75" x .020" bent dry it is about a 1.5" radius




This picture shows the .75 x .015" cut with a pair of scissors




This picture shows the .30" x .075" bent to about a .75" radius after soaking in cold water for 15 minutes.




This picture shows .75" x .035" bent round a .25" radius after 15 minutes in cold water




This picture shows .75" x .015" bent round a .125" dowel after 15 minutes in cold water




This picture shows .75" x .015" bent round some .75" dowel after 15 minutes in cold water







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  • 3 weeks later...

I used Aspen (from Hobby Mill) for the hull and deck planking on my Fair American.  I wanted a white wood (no paint on her) and Jeff at Hobby Mill convinced me it would be whiter than the Holly.  Not sure I would use it for framing!.  Color was the ONLY reason I chose it.


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