What kind of wood is this?

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 438 days ago 563 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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715 posts in 562 days

438 days ago

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


95 posts in 757 days

#1 posted 438 days ago

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

477 posts in 1157 days

#2 posted 438 days ago


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

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View patron's profile


13001 posts in 1968 days

#3 posted 438 days ago

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


1346 posts in 810 days

#4 posted 438 days ago

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 1004 days

#5 posted 438 days ago

Survey says? Poplar.

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

View WDHLT15's profile


1093 posts in 1103 days

#6 posted 437 days ago

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 LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

View coachmancuso's profile


257 posts in 558 days

#7 posted 437 days ago

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


715 posts in 562 days

#8 posted 437 days ago


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


2480 posts in 978 days

#9 posted 437 days ago

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


4138 posts in 1578 days

#10 posted 437 days ago

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

14842 posts in 1194 days

#11 posted 437 days ago

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!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Tennessee's profile


1447 posts in 1141 days

#12 posted 437 days ago

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

-- Paul, Tennessee,

View BilltheDiver's profile


228 posts in 1512 days

#13 posted 437 days ago

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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