cottonwood uses

Cottonwood Uses: From Crafting to Cleaning

Back in the days, travelers bound for the West look for signs of the Cottonwood because having one in an area is a sign that there is water nearby. This is the reason why Cottonwood groves have served as a rendezvous for tired travelers. Homesteaders use Cottonwood timber as windbreaks, cutting them for firewood and fence posts, while some turn them into boxes and baskets. Some have been creative enough to turn timbers of Cottonwood to cargo vessels and canoes. Indeed, when talking about Cottonwood uses, there’s a lot that we can think of, from crafting to cleaning. Let us take a look at some of them. 

1. Bathroom Casing and Cabinets

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Eastern Cottonwood, particular, make good bathroom casing and cabinets. This wood is very attractive, with figure that easily reminds you of maple with curly grain, eyes and other interesting features. Cottonwood has the tendency to fuzz a bit when surfaced, which is why a bit of attention should be provided to finishing. Velvit oil is a good choice for this. 

2. Lowboy Decking

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Cottonwood is also an amazing wood option for lowboy decking, since it gives rather than breaking under the use of heavy equipment. Some professionals who have tried this, use a different type of wood for the stock trailer, such as white oak, black locust, osage orange and others, as they are rot resistant. 

3. Boxes and Crates

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It has been noted that because of certain features of Cottonwood, such as its light weight, colorlessness, lack of taste and odor, as well as nail-holding capacity, around half of the harvested Cottonwood are made into boxes and crates. This wood is also efficient in holding printing ink quite well than other wood, making it the preferred choice for shipping logos and labels. Even though some ultimately become commercial veneer for low-priced and utility furniture, most are turned into boxes and crates, which are beautiful in their own nature. 

4. Children’s Toys

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All of the commercial qualities of Cottonwood also make it ideal for making children’s toys. The think stock of Cottonwood handles paints well, and even with stenciled scrollsaw projects. With features that are similar to that of basswood, Cottonwood easily fulfills the needs of carvers. They can also be used for making board games for children. 

5. Furniture

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Many dismiss the idea of using Cottonwood for furniture projects because it is not especially strong. They say that it is also difficult to achieve a clean cut with Cottonwood. While this is partially correct, there are specific varieties of Cottonwood that can be used for building furniture, rather than thinking of them as useless in general. 

6. Kitchen Utensils

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Talking about versatility, Cottonwood can also be used in making kitchen utensils. This includes spoons and cutting boards. One reason for this is because Cottonwood is lightweight, and offers very good workability. 

7. Carving

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Cottonwood is actually great for carving. As a softwood, carving becomes very easy. Typically, the bark of Cottonwood is easy to carve, thanks to its natural consistency. Still, the tools that you need to use should be sharp. Extra care should also be practiced since stop cuts may tear, instead of cut, the wood. 

8. Masks

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Have you seen those wooden masks that are often used in cultural events? There is a possibility that Cottonwood is used to make them. Along with basswood, Cottonwood is the preferred type of wood for this use because of its workability, lightweight, and affordability. 

9. Pulp for Fine Paper Production

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As a true Poplar, Cottonwood is usually used for the production of pulp for fine paper. Cottonwood is moderately weak, which is good for bending, light in weight, moderately soft, and offers low ability in shock resistance. Despite being somewhat ‘weak’, it does not easily split, and paints well. 

10. Interior Parts

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Dry Cottonwood can also be used for making interior parts. If you are planning to use Cottonwood for interior parts, there is no need to mill more than an inch of stock. Still, experts suggest milling 5 quarter, with as much width as possible so that there is enough space for you to mill out cup and bow, while still having stock of half and three quarters. 

11. DIY Decors for Home

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If you are planning to make your own decors at home from wood, Cottonwood is a good option to take into consideration. For one, it is good for beginners. If you are only making decors, then there is no need to look for the features of a hardwood. Items that are good to look at can be made out of this wood, and still be attractive to look at. 

12. Saddles

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If you are planning to make a saddle that is made out of wood, one of the safest options to consider is Cottonwood. Since it is easy to work with, and lightweight, it will adjust accordingly, depending on what you want to make out of it. In fact, more have been experimenting more on making saddles made out of Cottonwood. 

13. Framing, Shelving, Paneling and Sub Floors

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While these may not be regarded as the main use of Cottonwood, but using this type of wood for these uses make it a good support for other types of hardwoods. 

14. Caskets

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Some have reported making caskets out of Cottonwood. They are effective because they are lightweight, easy to work with, and affordable. 

15. Pallets

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Yes, Cottonwood may also be used for making pallets. However, it should be for pallets where there is no expected to be heavy loading to occur. 


As presented in this article, there are several Cottonwood uses that you can think of. This wood is both versatile and useful. Rather than think of this tree as a junk tree with less use, it can be used in many different ways, just like other types of woods. Whether you are crafting a woodworking project at home, or aiming at using it for a bigger plan, this versatile wood will surely help you achieve your goal. If you have other ideas in mind, feel free to share them in the comments section below!



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