The characteristics of cottonwood for furniture construction and finishing.

Craftsman Style

¶ Most of this wood is used for making paper pulp, but some is used for building construction. It is substituted for whitewood (poplar) but is not as good. Cottonwood is a close-grain, compact, light-weight wood and is very soft indeed. The sapwood is nearly white while the heartwood is dark brown. This wood has little strength and warps to a considerable extent.

¶ It is not difficult to paint this wood because it absorbs paint readily and offers good anchorage for it. It is so soft and porous, however, that extreme care must be taken to be sure it is dry, because it absorbs much moisture. When allowed to stand in the weather un-painted it molds, turns very dark and decays on the surface. In that condition it is a treacherous wood to paint, the wood fibres having little strength, the paint scales off as the wood on the surface crumbles away. Cottonwood is also subject to dry-rot. Sometimes when painted while wet, dry rot occurs under the paint causing the paint to scale off. So paint cottonwood only when absolutely dry, use plenty of oil and allow plenty of time for each coat to dry,a week between coats is little enough.

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