Tulipwood, American

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American tulipwood is not only one of the largest trees in the forests of the eastern USA, it is also one of the most plentiful, representing about 9% of the country's standing hardwood resource. This has ensured that it is widely available and its size means that it can produce timber that is both very wide and very long. The tree is similar in shape to the European poplar, which is why it is called the yellow or tulip poplar in the USA, however it is not related. The growing region of the tree is extensive, stretching as far south as Florida and north to the southern parts of New England.

Sapwood of the American tulipwood is creamy white an can be streaked; heartwood varies from a pale yellow-brown to an olive green, which darkens to brown on exposure to UV light. The texture of the tulipwood is medium to fine and it is straight grained. Burls and swirls can occur in the grain and are not considered defects. Size and characteristics can vary dependent on the region in which it grows.

American tulipwood is an extremely versatile timber of moderate density. It has low values for shock resistance, bending, stiffness and compression. It is classified as 'medium' for steam bending. It has a good strength to weight ratio, making it an ideal wood for laminated beams and structures. However, it has not yet been tested in Australia for structural applications.

Tulipwood is easy to work, as it machines, planes, turns and bores well. It has high dimensional stability and rarely splits when nailed. It takes and holds paint, stains and enamel and can attain an excellent finish.

American tulipwood is ideal for a range of interior applications, such as furniture, joinery, cabinets, doors, panelling and mouldings. In the US it is used in the production of plywood. It is also an excellent timber for turning and carving.

Exported widely around the world, American tulipwood is a popular choice for architects and designers as a result of its unusual colour range.

 

 

Appearance

American tulipwood has an unusual appearance, with a creamy white sapwood and heartwood that ranges from pale yellow to olive green. Heartwood will turn to brown on exposure to UV light. The texture of tulipwood is medium to fine and it has a straight grain. Burls and swirls can occur in the grain, and these are not considered to detract from the appearance of the wood. A heavy purple mineral colouring can be present that is limited in the higher grades of the timber but unlimited in the lower grades.

 

Common Applications

Tulipwood is a cost-effective and versatile timber for a variety of interior applications, including furniture, joinery, cabinetry, doors, moulding and paneling. It is also a good timber for turning and carving.

 

 

 

Common Form

Sawn

Workability

American tulipwood is extremely easy to work. It machines, planes, turns and bores well, and dries easily with little degradation. It takes nails, glue and screws well. It also has good dimensional stability, and takes and holds paint, stains and enamels. A highly attractive finish can be achieved.

 

Origin of Timber

North America

Readily Available

NSW

Availability - Further Information

American tulipwood is exported widely. It is expected that its availability in Australia will increase with demand.

Availability - Further Information

Native Forest

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High

Tangential :

8.20%

Radial:

Unit Movement Tangential:

9.80%

Unit Movement Radial:

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:

Seasoned:

Density per Standard

Seasoned:

449kg/m3

Unseasoned:

0kg/m3

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:

Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned:

69.640

Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned:

Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned:

10.894

Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned:

Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned:

38.198

Impact - Unseasoned:

Impact - Seasoned:

Toughness - Unseasoned:

Toughness - Seasoned:

Hardness - Unseasoned:

2.402

Hardness - Seasoned:

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

Bushfire Resistance:

Not tested

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