Last edited 13 Nov 2020

The Properties of Tulipwood



Tulipwood is the pinkish and yellowish wood which is wielded from tulip tress found in the Eastern side of North America and parts of China. In America, the wood is referred to tulip poplar, even though the tree has no relation to the poplars. This reference is due to the trees height, which can exceed 100 feet.

Tulipwood is very light, approximately 490kg per cubic meter, but it is very strong. The wood can be stained very easily, and in some cases, is used as a low-cost alternative to walnut and cherry, particularly in furniture and doors.



The green colour of tulipwood darkens upon exposure to UV light, turning brown. It has a medium to fine texture, with the size of the sapwood and other characteristics varying upon the region it is grown in.

Tulipwood offers many beneficial properties for use:

  • Low bending.
  • Shock resistance.
  • Offers stiff and compressed values.
  • It is strong for its weight, making it ideal for laminated beams and structures.
  • It is a common material due to its versatility and dimensional stability.
  • It has little tendency to split when nailed.
  • It holds paint, enamel and stain very well.

Brazilian Tulipwood

Brazilian Tulipwood is a different species of a very dense, high-quality wood. It is known to be yielded by Dalbergia decipularis, a species restricted to a small area in Brazil. This type of wood can come in a variety of colours within its appearance, which can be streaked with yellows, reds, oranges and pinks.

The pores on this material are open and medium-sized, with the grain straight, offering a fine texture. Brazilian Tulipwood is a common material due to its resistance to decay and insect attack. With its high density, it turns very well and holds a high polish.

Common uses for Brazilian Tulipwood include:

  • Fine furniture.
  • Musical instruments.
  • Small turned objects.
  • Veneer.
  • Marquetry.

Australian Tulipwood

Australian Tulipwood is the common name of Harpullia, with certain varieties prized for their dark coloured timber. The most commonly known of this material is Harpullia pendula, which is planted along the east coast of Australia as a street tree.

As the material is tough, heavy, fine grained and highly durable, it is excellent for turnery and cabinet timber.

Common uses

Tulipwood offers many desirable characteristics, and is suitable for a wide variety of uses, such as:

Tulipwood is the second most available species due to its mellow colour and high-performance properties, including its great stability and ease of machinery.

--G&S Specialist Timber

Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

Designing Buildings Anywhere

Get the Firefox add-on to access 20,000 definitions direct from any website

Find out more Accept cookies and
don't show me this again