Poplar, Balsam

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Balsam poplar is a hardwood native to Asia and North America, and small quantities are imported into Australia. It is used for match splints, plywood, artificial limbs, brake blocks, wood wool and boxes.
The heartwood of balsam poplar is pale brown, and the sapwood is white to cream and up to 80mm wide in fast-growing stems (about three growth rings). The grain is straight and the texture is fine but sometimes slightly uneven because of the harder latewood.
The woolly nature of balsam poplar makes it rather difficult to work unless tools are kept sharp. It glues and nails well. It is susceptible to termites and lyctid borer.

Appearance

The heartwood of balsam poplar is pale brown, and the sapwood is white to cream and up to 80mm wide in fast-growing stems (about three growth rings). The texture is fine but sometimes slightly uneven because of the harder latewood, and the grain is straight.

Common Applications

Balsam poplar is used for plywood, boxes, artificial limbs, wood wool, brake blocks, match splints and boxes.

Common Form

Veneer

Workability

Balsam poplar glues and nails well. Because it is rather woolly, it can be difficult to work unless tools are kept sharp.

Origin of Timber

Asia

Availability - Further Information

Balsam Poplar is of limited availability in Australia.

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High

Tangential :

4.30%

Radial:

1.80%

Unit Movement Tangential:

0.24%

Unit Movement Radial:

0.10%

Strength Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium High

Medium

Reasonably Low

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

S7

Seasoned:

SD1

SD2

SD3

SD4

SD5

SD6

SD7

SD8

Stress Grade

Structural
No. 1
Structural
No. 2
Structural
No. 3
Structural
No. 4
Structural
No. 5

Unseasoned:

F7

F5

F4

Seasoned:

Density per Standard

Seasoned:

410kg/m3

Unseasoned:

Joint Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

J1

J2

J3

J4

J5

J6

Seasoned:

JD1

JD2

JD3

JD4

JD5

JD6

Colour

  White, yellow, pale straw to light brown Pink to pink brown Light to dark red Brown, chocolate, mottled or streaky
   

Mechanical Properties

Modulus of Rupture - Unseasoned:

34

Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned:

70

Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned:

7.9

Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned:

11.5

Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned:

14.6

Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned:

34.6

Impact - Unseasoned:

Impact - Seasoned:

Toughness - Unseasoned:

Toughness - Seasoned:

Hardness - Unseasoned:

Hardness - Seasoned:

1.6

Durability

Low Moderate Reasonably High High
(0 - 5 yrs) (5 - 15 yrs) (15 - 25 yrs) (more than 25 yrs)

In-Ground:

(0 - 7 yrs) (7 - 15 yrs) (15 - 40 yrs) (More than 40 yrs)

Above ground:

(0 - 20 yrs, usually < 5) (21 - 40 yrs) (41 - 64 yrs) (More than 60 yrs)

Marine Borer Resistance:

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility:

Susceptible

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility - Other:

Termite Resistance:

Not Resistant

Fire Properties

1 - non-combustible 2 - reasonably non-combustible 3 - slightly combustible 4 - combustible

Fire Properties Group
Number:

Group Number - Other:

3 (MDF or particleboard ≥12mm; veneer thickness 0.6-0.85mm)

Average Specific Extinction Area:

<250

Bushfire Resistance:

Not Tested

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