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Poplar? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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  • Poplar?

    I have a source of wood; a cabinetmaker will give me his cutoffs. They are mostly oak and poplar. I know oak is OK; are there any considerations for poplar? I haven't found anything, and in fact some have mentioned it, but I just want to be sure.

    I hope it's OK because, as you know, woodworking cutoffs are the driest wood available.


    - Fio
    There is nothing quite so satisfying as drinking a cold beer, while tending a hot fire, in an oven that you built yourself, and making the best pizza that your friends have ever had.

  • #2

    The aspens that grew in Northern Michigan when I was a kid were called poplars. It was a really soft wood, it burned but didn't give much heat. Cabinetmakers poplar is an entirely different wood, hard like maple, smooth closed grain, greenish white in color, really stable, it's the choice for building things that are going to be painted or veneered. I don't know what kind of tree it comes out of, but I'm sure it's fine to burn. Give it a try
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


    • #3
      I've had good luck with off-cuts. They are dried, and they seem to come in good sizes and shapes for burning in a brick oven. I can't comment on poplar, and haven't burned it, but my guess is that is has to be tight grained enough to burn well if they are making cabinets out of it. Is it somewhere between cheap and free?

      I agree. Give it a try, and it might be good.

      David, from northern MI, to NJ. That'a a move.
      Last edited by james; 11-17-2006, 03:56 PM.
      Pizza Ovens
      Outdoor Fireplaces


      • #4
        Poplar grows well here in the southeastern us.

        It dries nicely when dry. Gives off a lot of heat and burns quickly. Seems like a neutral wood. I would not imagine it would add much flavor to what you are cooking.

        My oven progress -


        • #5

          Here, the greenish grained wood you guys are referring to is called "gofer"
          wood, meaning add one stick and gofer another. I burn quite a lot of it, and tend to call it an "understorey" wood, because I layer it under harder woods.

          It's fine, really, classed as a semi-hardwood. In woodworking terms, it's desirable, because it can be, machined quite cleanly, holds a good, tight line, and paints well. If you can get offcuts, gofer it. It doesn't have the BTUs of harder woods, but it burns bright.

          It has virtually no oil, so I think it's scent will be about neutral for pizza.

          I'd bow to more expert opinion, but I think aspen is somewhat different. With that, I have no experience.


          "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


          • #6
            Jim is exactly right about poplar. Its also called tulip. Its the sapwood thats almost white and the heartwood thats green to brown. Quite often its udes to make popsickle sticks and tongue depressors. i's sure ie would be fine for cooking. Even better if its free. As far as aspen goes; when its dry it has no flavor or odor. Its used quite frequently in the food industry. Wooden spoons and forks, containers, ect. But it is very light and will burn quickly.