Why is 8' Poplar Hard To Find?

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We are often asked why is Poplar in eight foot only lengths so hard to find?  We get this question often from moulding and millwork manufacturers who prefer to receive eight foot board lengths because it works best for their finished products.  For them, longer length boards just become harder to work with and usually end up being shortened as a finished product  leaving an assortment of unusable shorts that just pile up in their inventory.

So why is eight foot Poplar so hard to find?  It is basically because of the way it is grown and sawn.  Poplar trees typically reach heights of 150 feet tall.  It is generally known to be a species that grows straight with a high percentage of long clear lengths in its logs.  When timber is harvested, loggers try to keep each log as long as possible. The reason for this is because they are trying to achieve the most footage with the best grade as possible. This usually means that 12′ and longer lengths will be the first cuts because this is where the best grade usually found.44 POP W1F June

Then sawmills will maximize the long clear lengths they cut. They improve their log cutting yields by cutting these longer logs versus sawing, flipping and rotating multiple shorter ones during the cutting process.  It makes sense. Sawmills would much rather cut two twelve foot logs instead of three eight foot logs.  They can produce similar board feet totals faster and with less wear and tear on their machines.

So how can you increase your chances of getting more 8’ Poplar?  We think the best answer is to work closely with your supplier.  Consider developing a regular hardwood inventory replenishment program with your supplier to receive the inventories you need when you need them.  Also consider accepting less than truck load quantities.  Sometimes consider accepting 8 foot Poplar as it develops and is ready for shipment and make it the foundation for a mixed load shipment with other species like Ash, Red Oak, Hard Maple or White Oak.  Even consider other species that have similar working properties to Poplar as a substitute species as required.

Eight foot Poplar lengths are not always the easiest sort to find but they are out there.  We can help you find them if you need them. 

Let us know if we can be of any assistance!

Tony Cimorelli
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