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Pine, Poplar, and Red Oak – How to choose the best material for your next project!

Nov 15, 2020Tips0 comments

Lumber Boards

 

What’s the difference between Pine, Poplar, and Red Oak?

 

First, let’s get one thing straight…all three of these materials are classified as hardwoods as opposed to plywood. This means they are solid boards of one material (no plies), whereas plywood is layers of compressed material including particleboard and oriented strand board (OSB).

Plywood is made from thin sheets of these materials layered on top of each other. These thin layers, also called “plies”, are glued together in alternating right angles to create a cross-grain pattern, which you can see on the side of the lumber.

Plywood has recently become a popular look for furniture, but if you want a solid edge (no plies), you want to go with hardwood.

Now, let’s dive into the three main types of hardwood and the ones we always have ready for your next DIY home project!  Check the chart here for all of the 1x lumber we stock.

 

Let’s start with Pine!

 

Common pine is a softwood that has knots.  It generally has a yellowish tint to it and is able to be stained. It is also the most cost-effective option of the three hardwoods.

Here are a few pieces of pine cut to size.

Pine cut to size

 

Great, so what’s the deal with Poplar?

 

Poplar is harder than pine and the grade we stock has zero knots. That means it’s a good quality grade of lumber.

Poplar in general is considered a paint grade wood because of the big variation in color.  One-piece of poplar may look almost white, some look greenish, or even purple and black. The piece pictured below as you can see looks greenish, but no knots.

You will also notice the thickness of this piece, which is 5/4″ (that’s five-quarter). We stock 5/4″ x 12″ hardwoods that are a popular option for DIY shelving design because of their thickness.

This piece of poplar we cut and finished with a smooth rounded edge detail. The customizing options are endless, especially when you can complete your custom cut piece with any stain or bracket you want!

 

5/4" x 12" poplar

 

And, last but not least…Red Oak!

 

The Red Oak we stock has zero knots and is the hardest wood we stock. It is also the heaviest, and some would say nicest. It is considered a stain grade wood, which means the color does not vary so no need to paint, just stain to your heart’s desire! It does have a gorgeous red coloring to it.

In this picture, you can clearly see the difference between the three materials with pine on top (the lightest in color, some knots), then poplar (this piece has a greenish tint), and red oak on the bottom (reddish tint).

Pine, Poplar, Red Oak

 

Now what to do with these gorgeous hardwoods?

 

Anything! These three options offer a lot of versatility and are all especially popular options for custom shelving and floating shelf designs.

Check out our Instagram or Pinterest for more inspiration! All you have to decide on is the look you are going for like the gorgeous kitchen design below. 

Contact us to have your lumber cut to any size for your next project!

 

DIY Floating Shelf

 

Now what to do with these gorgeous hardwoods?

 

Anything! These three options offer a lot of versatility and are all especially popular options for custom shelving and floating shelf designs.

Check out our Instagram or Pinterest for more inspiration! All you have to decide on is the look you are going for like the gorgeous kitchen design below. 

Contact us to have your lumber cut to any size for your next project!

 

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