Aspen for Drawers

      Would Aspen be good wood to use for drawer boxes? Here's the thinking. October 1, 2005

We just purchased a dovetailing machine. The guy I work with insists that he heard that good material for sides/back is aspen. I really don't know what that is. Im guessing it is a sub-species of poplar? Anyway it doesn't seem that easy to find around here. I am thinking about going with baltic birch, maple, cherry, and etc. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Aspen is in the Populus genus. Aspen grows in New England, the lake states and the Rockies, primarily. It is very low density and is not exceptionally strong. It is prone to fuzzing when machining. In other words, it is not the most desired wood you can find. As a result, the price is low. For drawer sides, it is a good choice often, but it does have a few problems, including an odor at times in discolored wood.

From contributor R:
I agree with Gene. I tried aspen on several jobs a few years back and the cost savings did not come close to off-setting the time it took to work the material. It was horrible. If you can get it, basswood is excellent for drawer sides, works well and is fairly stable. Beech is good as well, but hard to find in the states at a good price point. I personally use the Blum Tandembox system for my designs.

From the original questioner:
Also, we are green at this. Is there a formula or way of thinking about pricing for dovetailing -price per square inch? I know it's never that simple, but suggestions are certainly welcome. We are in Canada and there doesn't seem to be much appreciation for the quality and look of dovetailing yet.

From contributor N:
To the original questioner: Im wondering what you mean that there isn't an appreciation for dovetails? I find the exact opposite. If a client doesn't want metal sided drawers, 90% of the time they want dovetails after they've seen a sample.

From the original questioner:
Well, basswood is sounds like it would machine nice, because they use it for carving but the price is double what maple is around here.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: General

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2017 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article