View Full Version : "White poplar" as planking?

02-12-2010, 10:22 AM
Hey all -

I'm in contact with a seller of what might be an interesting boat (or what might be a white elephant - in fact, I'm assuming it more likely will lean towards the latter).

Anyhow, he's actually helping the owner sell it, and he doesn't seem terribly knowledgeable about it. I asked him about its construction, and he said it's made of "white poplar".

In my experience, "poplar" get used to describe various trees and can be a generic term. White cedar would make more sense to me as a planking wood, so I'm wondering if he's misremembering.

The tree that I'm familiar with as "white poplar" is pretty soft and I don't think it would make very good boat-building wood.

Any ideas - would "white poplar" make a decent planking wood? Or is he likely just confused and meant white cedar?

Thanks much.

Jay Greer
02-12-2010, 10:46 AM
While I like "White Poplar" as a general use material for shop cabinets and box work, I would never use it for boat construction as it has an extreamly low resistance to rot.

Bruce Hooke
02-12-2010, 11:43 AM
As Jay noted, white poplar would be a very poor choice of planking material due to its poor rot resistance. Thus it seems not unlikely that the seller is mistaken. However, it also seems like you need definite information, not vague recollections. Were you planning to have a survey done?

02-12-2010, 12:59 PM
Right now, I'm just in the early stages of finding out about the boat in general. I haven't gone to take a look at it or anything. Just saw the listing on Craig's list and sent an e-mail. The guy says the owner built it in the 1990's, but he's now in his 80's and in failing health, and he is helping the owner sell the boat. He says the boat needs a little work and they've got it in a boat yard for that - I'm still trying to get him to be a bit more specific as to what "work" it actually needs, and to get him to send me some pictures. He said something about patching around one of the "rutters" and that the "other two rutters" are good. So I'm not sure what the heck that's all about.

You're confirming what I thought about poplar - I'm betting he just misremembered what the owner/builder told him. I think white cedar would be much more likely than white poplar.

Bruce Hooke
02-12-2010, 01:16 PM
If its an owner-build all bets are off. Some owner-builders do that damnedest stuff.