Is Poplar Wood Good for Furniture?

Across the United States and Canada, one of the most standard hardwoods available for woodwork projects is poplar wood. It’s a wood that made the top ten kinds of wood that grow in the eastern United States. It gains popularity because of the wide color variation in its heartwood and sapwood. Poplar wood comes in various colors ranging from light brown and black to dark green. Sometimes, this color variation may trigger the sensitivity of several woodworkers, making them prefer a particular shade.

Typically, poplar wood is also known as “American tulipwood” or simply “tulipwood” in the United States. It’s one of the most exported types of wood, and it may be used as a substitute for some poplar hardwoods, such as cottonwood, aspen, and magnolia.

For the question, “is poplar wood good for furniture?” it should be understood that poplar is a versatile option with wide usability, one of which is making furniture. Poplar is completely an excellent wood for furniture. In fact, it plays a major role in making every variety of furniture.

Is Poplar Wood Good for Furniture

Common Uses of Poplar

Poplar is a popular wood in the wood product industry. It’s used in a variety of applications, particularly in making furniture. Below are some common uses of this wood:

  1. Furniture: It should be emphasized that poplar is commonly used in furniture making. Through it, a variety of outdoor and indoor furniture can be uniquely made.
  2. Cabinetry: When it comes to cabinetry or cabinet making, finishing and applying paint and stains are essential aspects. Poplar is characteristically very ready to take stains and paint, which makes it ideal for cabinet making. Besides, it is easy to work with– woodworkers can cut it easily and find it flexible during machining and sanding.
  3. Picture frames: Poplar wood can easily be shaped. It is an ideal option when it comes to making beautiful and ornate picture frames.
  4. Moldings and trim: Poplar is one of the woods that take pain easily; however, a pre-stain wood conditioner may have to be used before applying the stain. Woodworkers find it easy to carve and shape, making it a great material for making trims and moldings. Trims are used to give the borders of furniture more appealing looks. Moldings refer to the exquisitely-carved borders on which the edges of furniture can be placed for look enhancement. So, poplar is applied for both items in woodwork.
  5. Crates and Pallets: Purchasing poplar wood can be very easy as it can be seen at a reasonable price. So, it shouldn’t be surprising if used in making packing materials. Here, poplar is applied mainly to make pallets and crates used in industries.

Is Poplar Wood Good for Making Furniture?

Poplar is a hardwood perfect for making good furniture. Its role in creating different varieties of furniture cannot be underestimated.

Poplar typically does not feature differently-colored hues and exquisite grain patterns like woods, such as walnut, cherry, or oak. When it comes to furniture making, it’s more utilitarian wood.

Nevertheless, due to the availability and low cost of poplar, it can secure a prominent position in furniture making. Below are some instances of furniture that can be made from poplar:

  1. Chairs: Poplar is a hardwood, but it’s regarded as one of the softer varieties. Its softness, therefore, makes it a wood easy to work with when it comes to creating intricate carvings on chairs.
  2. Tables: Poplar is great for plywood tabletops and solid wood tables. It’s a perfect option for outdoor furniture because it’s capable of taking paint and polish easily. Besides, to secure the surface of the wood against the elements, poplar can be well-coated.
  3. Shelves: Poplar is great for making shelves (where light objects are stored). Here, some finish or wood veneer can be applied to make the wood look appealing.
  4. Benches and Workbenches: As a hardwood, poplar can sometimes withstand rough use. This makes it a viable wood for making benches and workshop workbenches.
  5. Cabinets and Cupboards: Woodworkers find poplar a suitable option for making cabinets and cupboards because it can take varnish and paint.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

How strong is poplar wood?

To know how strong poplar wood is, you will need to know its density, compressive strength, bending strength, stiffness, and hardness. The density of poplar wood is 0.42 (the higher the density of wood, the higher its strength; its compressive strength is 5540psi; its bending strength is 10100psi; its stiffness is 1.58Mpsi; its hardness is 540lb. Considering all these factors, poplar is obviously a strong wood type. Nevertheless, poplar is still less in strength and softer when compared to most hardwoods.

Is poplar wood good for furniture In terms of strength?

Although poplar can be softer when compared to most other hardwoods, it is still ideal for making furniture. This can be traced to its excellent dimensional stability.

The workability of poplar wood is the most important thing about it. Poplar can easily be manipulated through different woodworking tools such as saw, router, or lather. Ensure these tools are sharpened properly before any engagement to prevent the tearing of the wood.

By following the proper guidelines on working with poplar wood, getting strong poplar wood furniture for exterior and interior usage will be achievable.

Is poplar wood strong enough for bookshelves?

Yes, poplar wood is strong enough for making bookshelves. In fact, it’s one of the best options for making bookshelves. Nonetheless, woodworkers may encounter the challenge of poplar getting inevitably hidden, painted, or veneered when using the wood for bookshelves.

It’s recommended that paint or polyurethane finish be used for finishing after making the bookshelf to get the best output (great surface and increase in the lifetime of the shelf).

Is poplar strong enough for a bed?

Yes, poplar is strong enough for a bed. As a common wood for making bed frames, it features a length and grain significantly up to 16 ft long.

Poplar may be softer when compared to most hardwoods, but it remains more durable and shrinkage-resistant than all types of softwood.

Is poplar wood good for outdoor?

Poplar can only be used outdoors if protected from moisture and kept dry. Poplar furniture and woodworks are great for outdoor use with proper finishing methods and proper maintenance.


In a nutshell, poplar is a good wood for furniture. Although it’s not always the preferred option for furniture, it is affordable and available. It can be a great substitute for those who can’t afford expensive oak, walnut, and cherry. Even though the poplar wood is less expensive, it’s still capable of serving you well if properly maintained.

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