Why We Use Poplar


The Hush Puppies of Hardwood.

A polite diatribe by Remmen Alatar

What’s up kitty cats, it’s your young and vivacious overlord: Remmen.  I want to talk to you about the hardwood many woodworkers love to hate: Poplar.

So why are most woodworkers so down on poplar?  It’s cheap, it’s soft on the hardwood scale, and it’s got odd color changes which turn yellow and brown over time and exposure to the sun.  Many hardwoods are loved for their uniform color: cherry, ebony, white oak, mahogany, to name a few. Most carpenters (*cough* Wood Elves) paint over poplar.  But as we ALL know, wood elves are bumbling, low-brow wastoids who can’t find a cultured left-foot let alone walk themselves to anything resembling an artistic aesthetic.  

I mean, who would ever play the lute in public but Wood Elves and scruffy bards on a weird celibacy kick? The harp is the true expression of an elven instrument.  Just ask high elven convert and patron saint of the harp: Joanna Newsome.  It is superior in shape alone. So here is Remmen’s definitive defense of poplar, the misunderstood wallflower of the lumber yards of this world.  

Poplar: why I like it and you should too (because if everyone likes what High Elves do, the world would be way more awesome):

  1. Reclaiming poplar off-cuts prevents tree waste - so we can now claim the moral high ground with abandon.  If the wood is cheap, people aren't fancy-dancy about saving it. And if you know one thing about me, you know I loves me some high ground to lord over the plebeian masses.

  2. The grain has some cool figure and color changes - from almost Holly levels of white, to green, to dark purple.  And who cares if it goes yellow or brown over time - the gradient of the color does not change, and neither does the figure.  

  3. It’s too uncool to use for most people (translation: that is why it’s SUPERCOOL!)

  4. Softer wood is worth your love. Patina is good. Indentations show character (except on my beautiful face).  At Item, we love dents, nicks, and scratches. It shows you love and use your box.

So there you go. Now that I’ve banged a few metaphors off your noggin, poplar is now definitively cool. Because I have now given it my High Elven stamp of approval, you can use it proudly and with glorious abandon.  Just save the off-cuts for us. Ol’ Remmen has already spent his parents’ monthly allowance on art commissions and fancy dice.

Your Better,

Remmen Alatar, High Elf of great renown.

Kyle Lange