• Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by ShopMonkey posted 03-27-2009 03:28 AM 1637 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ShopMonkey's profile


26 posts in 2875 days

03-27-2009 03:28 AM

Does anyone know how much cottonwood is a boardfoot?

I mill my own lumber too and have access to some, so does anyone have any experiance with this species?

-- I like trees ...... as long as their by the board foot.

15 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17573 posts in 3094 days

#1 posted 03-27-2009 04:57 AM

It doesn’t even make good fire wood as far as i know. I have always been told to avoid it. so I have.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View trimmer's profile


90 posts in 2859 days

#2 posted 03-27-2009 05:43 AM

I have been using popular here in Florida on some pieces it’ 1.95 a bd.ft. here.
Can be finished to look like Cherry.
Also takes paint very well. And is easy to mill, and sand.
Alot of woodworkers don’t like

View JuniorJoiner's profile


463 posts in 2859 days

#3 posted 03-27-2009 06:38 AM

I had a whole bunch of free cottonwood once. i made one project from it and burned the rest.
i actually had to add extra scrap wood to the fire to burn down the cottonwood.
so far as i can tell it is a weed and not much good for woodworking in board form.
maybe stick-makers or guys making rough/rustic furniture could put it to use.
who knows, maybe it’s fire-resistant properties is good for something.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View LesB's profile


1228 posts in 2862 days

#4 posted 03-27-2009 07:10 AM

I only know of three possible good uses for cottonwood. Carvers like it because with its soft and has smooth grain it is easy to cut and at times plywood mills use it as filler on cheap plywood. Third, it can be used to make paper. In Oregon they are raising a hybrid popular cottonwood cross that they can harvest in just 7 years for paper production. I have not heard of saw wood from cottonwood.

-- Les B, Oregon

View ShopMonkey's profile


26 posts in 2875 days

#5 posted 03-27-2009 07:54 AM

Awesome. Thanks guys!

-- I like trees ...... as long as their by the board foot.

View Steve Maskery's profile

Steve Maskery

47 posts in 2803 days

#6 posted 03-27-2009 10:42 AM

I’ve seen cottonwood used in Sierra Leone. It’s horrible stuff, makes balsa look like oak. We don’t have cottonwood trees here in the UK, so it was interesting for me to see them. Vicious things, aren’t they? There is a bit of footage at the end of this video:

Nobody could tell me how old that tree was, but the cottonwood tree was brought back to SL by freed slaves after emancipation, so it could be as much as 200 years old.

-- The Complete Tablesaw -

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3324 days

#7 posted 03-27-2009 02:27 PM

It’s $1 bft here. I have much experience with it. It dries easy (fast-flat). It does smell like cat urine though even dry and running it through the planer. I sell it for cabinet backs/drawer bottoms…secondary wood. I personally don’t have much use for it. It does make good stickers though for stacking your other hardwoods, that is what I do with most cottonwoods I get-make stickers.

On a side note if the bark is thick and chunky…there is more money in the bark sold to carvers than lumber.

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 2944 days

#8 posted 03-27-2009 03:34 PM

I don’t know what it’s worth, but I do know it has been used more and more around here when people want to cut the final cost of their custom stairs when they just want a solid wood that will be painted. It’s cheaper than tulip poplar.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View mart's profile


190 posts in 3043 days

#9 posted 03-27-2009 05:59 PM

In south central (Wasilla) Alaska we really only have spruce, birch and cottonwood to chose from. A lot of cottonwood is used for paneling and is attractive in that application. I have seen some kitchen cabinets done in cottonwood and they looked really nice. How they are holding up to every day use I couldn’t say. I am planning on cutting some for lumber this spring. Probably will end up for drawer bottoms or other miscellaneous uses. I have thought about doing some cottonwood cabinets for the second bathroom/laundry room to replace the hideous photo finish junk that’s in there now. They don’t get used hard so it might hold up well.


View ShopMonkey's profile


26 posts in 2875 days

#10 posted 03-27-2009 06:41 PM

Well it looks like ill be leaven this stuff alone. thanks guys!

-- I like trees ...... as long as their by the board foot.

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 2851 days

#11 posted 03-28-2009 03:42 PM

Why not mill it up dry it and give it to the local cub Scout pack and get a possible tax deduction. It has to be good enough for a bird house or a boot jack or recipe holder.

Maybe a local boy Scout camp could put it to use in a woodcarving merit badge class.

I know it would take some time and energy to mill it up but you could be helping some boy become a lumberjock.

Possibly they would take it wet and dry it in the rafters of some camp buildings.

Thank you for considering this donation

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View LONGHAIR's profile


94 posts in 3233 days

#12 posted 03-28-2009 03:58 PM

Here in Ohio, it is cheaper than Poplar, somwhere around 2$ a BF. I have used it a few times as a secondary wood, drawers, drawer bottoms, ect. I like it for this because it “disapppears” better than Poplar. Poplar can be rather colorful, where-as Cottonwood is about as clean/clear/white as you could ask for.

View Al Killian's profile

Al Killian

273 posts in 3172 days

#13 posted 03-29-2009 01:30 AM

I get it for around $1.00 and use it for paint grade molding.

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3518 days

#14 posted 03-29-2009 01:42 AM

We have lots of cottonwood trees here in Montana. There are lots of them down by the river, just a stone’s throw behind my house, and we have one in our backyard. (Thank goodness it is cottonless variety.)

Anyway, I know of a couple guys that make rustic furniture with it and my personal experience with it is from cutting firewood.

The wood moves a lot as dimensioned lumber (twisting) and it is real stringy when splitting. This is because it has an intertwined grain. It does not seem to have straight grain like oak, cherry, or black walnut.

It seems to be fitting for rustic furniture. I have stayed away from it because I am afraid for liability issues that someone would not like the way that it moves or it twists more than acceptable.

It is attractive when freshly cut and finished. Very bright white with accent streaks of brown. But it turns yellow within a few years, not from the finish, but just the wood.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View BTKS's profile


1984 posts in 2883 days

#15 posted 03-29-2009 02:23 AM

Have just had some milled up for lumber. Not a wood I would try to use for furniture, very open grain, but makes excellent lumber. It doesn’t split at the ends when nailed. Needs to good and dry before use due to it’s shrinkage. Grandpa loved the stuff and out local sawyers love it for lumber. Most of it ends up in pallets or secondary uses though.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics