Aspen wood is a soft and light wood with many uses. But, these uses are limited by the wood’s characteristics.
We will help you figure out what to do with Aspen wood and the best woodworking ideas in this article.
Uses of Aspen wood range from furniture making to creating home accessories. It has excellent machinability and significantly high shock resistance. It is soft and whitish but strong enough for woodworking.
Aspen wood is a soft hardwood with a 420 lbf (1,868 N) hardness rating. It is light but strong enough for furniture making. Besides, it is suitable for stuffing, paneling, flooring, and packing. Beyond woodworking, it is a raw material for the pulping industry.
Using Aspen wood for woodworking projects has its advantages. For instance, it is easy to curve and hard to splinter or split. Thus, you can drive screws and nails into the wood without cracking.
Aspen wood is smooth and stains easily, making it ideal for most types of finishes. However, it is not durable. So, you should not use it to build support columns or areas you depend on for strength and stability. Neither should you use it in humid and wet areas.
Characteristics of Aspen Wood: What Makes it Good for WoodWorking?
The Aspen sapwood has a whitish, creamy color. This color gradually transitions into whitish-light brown heartwood. Mechanically, the Aspen wood is relatively easy to bend and has weak edge compression. It is also less stiff and has a significantly high shock resistance.
When you use Aspen wood as a surfacing material, it chips easily and develops fuzzy grain after a while. Due to this quality, it is predisposed to water and insect damage if you do not finish well.
Using it as surfacing material in wet areas is not advisable. These areas include kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. On the upside, it is easy to paint and glue.
The wood has excellent finishing properties due to its porous structure. It absorbs pigments and stains well. The pigments penetrate and spread into the wood, leaving no room for wood stain problems.
Its porous nature prevents the formation of blotchy surfaces on the wood. It gives it aesthetically good streaks and a visually appealing color combo. This makes every piece of woodworking unique.
Even though Aspen wood does not split easily, it has a low nail holding capability and poor longevity. It makes up for these weaknesses with its fair volumetric shrinkage.
Here is a list of qualities that make Aspen wood ideal for a woodworking project:
- Good machinability
- Has a lightweight
- It is soft
- Easy to stain and paint, making it easy for different types of finishes
- It is easy to cut
- The wood is strong enough for building but flexible to curve
Best Woodworking Ideas for Using Aspen Wood On
Aspen wood has applications in most small and large woodworking projects. This is because of its strength and softness. Applying various treatments to the wood for each project makes it better.
Here are some woodworking ideas that you can use Aspen wood on:
- Home Accessories
- Crates and Boxes
Flooring with Aspen Wood
Despite Aspen wood being a soft hardwood, it has commendable edge stability. It also does not expand or contract significantly with humidity and temperature changes. As such, it retains its form for a long time.
Aspen wood as a flooring material is very stable. It has good staining and paints application ability allowing for excellent finishes.
It is moderately flexible and lightweight. You can also transform it into different shapes without splitting. Most importantly, Aspen wood is not very flammable. This makes it safe to use as a flooring material.
However, it is essential to maintain and care for the Aspen wood floor properly. to prevent it from deteriorating. Its inability to resist moisture, dent, and scratches makes it easy to develop issues that may lead to rot. The wood is also at risk of pest and insect attacks.
You can lay the Aspen wood floor on top of the underfloor heating by gluing or nailing it. If you choose to glue it in place, you must install an acoustic rubber underlayment. To nail it down, on the other hand, you have to fix a plywood subfloor.
Aspen Wood For Furniture Making
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Aspen wood’s ease of machining qualifies it as an excellent furniture-making material. You can use it to make hidden parts, doors, and paneling or as core stock.
You can make furniture for the living room, dining, and bedroom. Since Aspen wood does not splinter, you can use it to make smooth dining seats. In addition, you can take advantage of its porous nature and great staining ability. Create rustic armchairs for your living room.
For the bedroom, you can use Aspen wood to make a log bed. Even more interesting is that you can customize each piece to suit your interior decor needs.
Since Aspen wood isn’t durable, you must finish it properly. For instance, add a layer of varnish to your furniture to protect it from abrasion and water damage.
Maintaining each furniture piece appropriately will increase its longevity. Fortunately, simple furniture maintenance routines will suffice. For instance, you can dust using the recommended furniture cleaner and polish.
Aspen Wood for Cabinet Door Making
Most woodworkers prefer making cabinet doors using maple due to its durability. Aspen is a good substitute, especially if you want a simple and natural look. It is easily machinable and sands properly.
Installing it is pretty straightforward. It glues effortlessly and stays straight after fixing it. However, it is advisable to use new sandpaper to avoid getting peach fuzz as you sand the wood.
Some woodworkers praise it for its ease of gluing and inability to crack when nailing. Others fault its suitability as a dovetailing or drawer box material.
Aspen Wood for Making Door Frames
There are considerations you must take when building a door frame:
- You must determine the door’s location. Typically, doors are either internal or external.
- You have to qualify your project on cost and the structure you’d like to put up.
- You must choose wood to use in your woodworking project.
Often, hardwood is the go-to option when working on external door frames. This is because they withstand weather elements better.
However, for the internal doors, less dense hardwoods are preferred. Aspen is a soft hardwood, so it is ideal for internal doors in pretty dry areas within the house.
Internal doors do not necessarily need to be strong to withstand break-ins. As such, you should focus more on the cost of building one and how good it will look in your house.
Aspen wood cuts when you weigh it against all these qualities. Because it is easy to work with it, and it looks great with different finishes.
You can opt to stain, paint or retain its natural look. However, you should note that Aspen is not dent and water resistant. It also has a low nail holding capacity. So you might have to find a creative solution to these two issues.
Aspen Wood for Making Candle Holders
Aspen wood is not very flammable compared to other hardwoods. It also does not change significantly with changes in temperature and humidity.
For the most part, the wood is straight. This character makes it ideal for use as a candle holder. You need to drill a hole into the log to pull off this project. Do this using a drill and a wood burrowing bit.
When sourcing the aspen log to use as a candle holder, find one with a 4-inch diameter. This is thick enough for drilling and inserting metal holders in.
Mix up the length of these logs. Preferably, get ten, seven, and five-inch long logs. Use a one and a half inch wood-bit burrow to drill into the aspen log.
The depth of your hole should be similar to the length of the candle metal casing you want to fit into the hole. Once your hole is in place, fit your metal casing and candle.
Aspen Wood for Making a Table Lamp
Due to Aspen wood’s softness and ease of machining, you can create a unique table lamp for your home. If a table lamp is not appealing enough, you can consider making a lamp stand or a log light.
To make a table lamp using Aspen wood, you need to:
- Find a dead aspen log with natural marks from scars and elk chew, among others. It is even better if the log shows signs of natural dying, like cracks.
- Remove the bark of your log and sand it to achieve a smooth finish.
- Drill a hole in the center of your log for wiring.
- Apply oil to the sanded log to give it character. Oiling reveals all the different colors of the Aspen wood.
- Apply lacquer, preferably three coats, to give it a consistent, smooth finish.
- Fix the wire, a lamp harp, and a shade at the top.
- Attach the base. It should be three and a half inches.
Aspen Wood Corner Light Shade
Aspen wood is ideal for making a wooden corner light shade because of its:
- Whitish color
- Excellent machinability
- Ability to withstand temperature changes
You can fit this shade on a light fixture close to a wall in most of the rooms in your house.
Erecting Replaceable Fencing
Using Aspen wood to make fencing might seem counterintuitive. Nevertheless, if durability is not a concern, you can put up a fence using cheap Aspen wood. For instance, you can erect a snow fence using Aspen wood.
Aspen Wood for Making Sauna Benches
Ordinarily, ideal wood for making sauna benches must meet predetermined criteria. For example, the wood should not get very hot, secrete resin or create splinters.
Instead, it should be relatively smooth and have a light tone. All of which Aspen wood qualifies for. But before using it inside a sauna, Aspen wood should be heat-treated and let cure well.
Is Aspen wood good for furniture?
Yes. Aspen is an excellent wood for furniture and creating decorative pieces. It has good machining properties and does not split during nailing. However, it is not as strong and durable as oak. Therefore, using it in columns, walls, or humid areas is not advisable.
What can you make with Aspen?
Aspen wood is ideal for building natural-looking furniture. Specifically, you can use this wood to make:
- Cabinet doors
- Internal doors
- Rustic-looking chairs
- Table lamps
- Cabinets and crates
Other than furniture, you can make moldings, toys, matchsticks, and toothpicks.
Is Aspen wood suitable for building?
Yes. Aspen wood has a 420 lbf (1,868 N) hardness rating. This hardness score is strong enough for limited uses in a building. It is commonly used as wall studs and building pallets.
Is Aspen a hardwood?
Yes. Aspen is a soft hardwood. While this idea seems contradictory, it is true. Aspen wood is more robust than your typical softwood but softer than standard hardwood. For this reason, Aspen is viewed as a weak type of wood. It has an 8400 psi bending strength and 4250 psi compression strength.
Figuring out what to do with aspen wood is not as hard as you thought. You require a little bit of creativity to come up with functional designs.
You can use your woodworking skills with designs to create furniture for sale or use at home. Either way, you stand to gain from converting Aspen from a simple wood into a functional piece.
This video shows the steps you should follow to create a wooden candle holder from an Aspen log.