What kind of wood is this?

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 06-11-2013 04:32 AM 984 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1313 posts in 1898 days

06-11-2013 04:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: poplar ash

Today I went to my local lumber supplier and asked him for some 4/4 ash for a mallet project. I bought the board and left. Easy peasy, right?

Wrong. I got home and started to take it from rough cut to dimensioned. As I began working on it, it started to look like I had something other than ash. The growth rings were much farther apart than any other ash I had ever worked with and it was not nearly as open-grained. It also wasn’t as hard and was a lighter color, with greenish yellow portions as well as some purple staining. End grain even seemed a little “spongy” like some of the fir you get at home depot or lowe’s. It machined pretty smoothly on the jointer, planer, and tablesaw. It also handplaned well in all directions. Felt sort of like a good quality hard pine.

My guess is that this might be poplar, but I have never worked with it, so it’s hard for me to say. Does this sound/look familiar to any of you guys?

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

13 replies so far

View mandatory66's profile


202 posts in 2093 days

#1 posted 06-11-2013 04:39 AM

Looks like poplar to me as well.That green is familiar, just finished a tool cabinet in poplar.

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2494 days

#2 posted 06-11-2013 04:39 AM


I’m real surprised your lumber supplier would make that mistake.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3304 days

#3 posted 06-11-2013 04:52 AM

the green and some dark to black
streaking in some boards

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2146 days

#4 posted 06-11-2013 05:05 AM

I’ll 4th poplar. And that would make a bad mallet. I don’t know how much they charged per board foot, but ash and poplar should be pretty inexpensive, so if you have another project in mind, you could use this plank for it and get something else for your mallet.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2340 days

#5 posted 06-11-2013 06:03 AM

Survey says? Poplar.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View WDHLT15's profile


1729 posts in 2439 days

#6 posted 06-11-2013 11:47 AM

Osage orange or black locust would make a fine mallet, but you might not be able to find any.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 1894 days

#7 posted 06-11-2013 12:20 PM

Poplar again. I have used it a lot and the green is a give away! In Florida the price is about the same so you did not loose any money. I would check the price where you are in case they owe you money back.

-- Coach Mancuso

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1898 days

#8 posted 06-11-2013 12:25 PM


That’s what I figured. It was only $8, so the gas money to get back there would be more than the trip was worth. Guess I’m never going back to that place again. Oh well, I guess I know what poplar looks like now. I’ll have to pick up some ash at my lunch break. Thanks for the input guys. LJs saves the day again.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View bondogaposis's profile


4680 posts in 2314 days

#9 posted 06-11-2013 12:37 PM

That’s poplar, way too soft for a mallet. I would definitely be wary of a wood dealer that doesn’t know his species. I hope you didn’t pay ash prices for a poplar board, on the other hand maybe you could get walnut for poplar price if he doesn’t know the difference.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2914 days

#10 posted 06-11-2013 12:43 PM

I’d let the know about the mistake and give them the opportunity to make it right, or worth your while to make a return trip. Mistakes may happen—-one customer might have picked up the poplar and put it back in the wrong spot, or there was a new guy working there. Who knows? Of course, if they have no interest in fixing it for you then they’ve lost your business.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Don W's profile

Don W

18684 posts in 2530 days

#11 posted 06-11-2013 01:06 PM

I guess poplar is the poplar answer. I agree with the above, give them a chance and see what happens. I can’t beleive someone who deals in wood can’t differentiate ash from poplar. Thats a bad day!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Tennessee's profile


2860 posts in 2477 days

#12 posted 06-11-2013 02:42 PM

Poplar, poplar, poplar…But you already knew that!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View BilltheDiver's profile


253 posts in 2848 days

#13 posted 06-11-2013 03:10 PM

Get your ash while you can. Supposedly there won’t be any available after a few more years. The emarald ash borer is responsible and is said to be devastating the forestry.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

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