American cottonwood

Populus deltoides

General Description

The sapwood is white and may contain brown streaks while the heartwood may be pale to light brown. It is a diffuse porous timber with a coarse texture. The wood is generally straight grained and contains relatively few defects. As a true poplar cottonwood has similar characteristics and properties to American aspen and European poplar.

Other Common names

Eastern cottonwood, Eastern poplar, Carolina poplar

Distribution & Availability

Cottonwood is a true poplar and grows commercially in the Central and Southern States, where it is widely available in lumber and veneer. This species may be limited in some export markets where demand is low.

View Physical & Mechanical Properties

Physical & Mechanical Properties

Cottonwood is relatively light in weight. The wood is soft, and weak in bending and compression, and low in shock resistance. It has no odour or taste when dry.

American cottonwood - Physical & Mechanical Properties

Specific Gravity (12% M.C.):0.4
Average Weight (12% M.C.):449 kg/m3
Average Volume Shrinkage (Green to 6% M.C.):11.30%
Modulus of Rupture:58.608 MPa
Modulus of Elasticity:9466 MPa
Compressive strength (parallel to grain):
33.854 MPa
Hardness:1913 N
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View Working Properties

Working Properties

General machinability is fair, although tension wood is frequently present and can cause a fuzzy surface when cut, if machine blades are not very sharp or set at correct angles, which in turn will require additional care when finishing. The wood glues well and has good resistance to splitting when nailing and screwing. It dries easily but may still have a tendency to warp, with small movement in performance.

American cottonwood - Working Properties

SawingFair
PlaningFair
DrillingFair
BoringGood
TurningGood
Carving
Good
Moulding
Good
Nailing
Good
Screwing
Good
Gluing
Good
Finishing
Good
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View Main Uses

Main Uses

Furniture, furniture parts, interior joinery and mouldings, toys and kitchen utensils. A specialised use in America is Venetian blinds and shutters. Some export markets in Asia and Europe, especially Italy, use this cost effective, light coloured species for dark staining in reproduction furniture.

American cottonwood - Main Uses

Doors
Flooring
Furniture
Joinery
Kitchen cabinets
Mouldings and
turnings
Veneered panels
Sports goods

Tool handles

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Other Information

Occasionally referred to as white poplar and is not to be confused with American tulipwood which is known as yellow poplar in the USA. Sometimes sawn into 9/4 (57.15mm) thickness for Venetian blinds.

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