The lumber commonly known by these names comes principally from the tulip tree, which is often called yellow poplar. It is a large tree, quite common in the Ohio Basin and in some portions of the South.
It is extensively used in the Eastern and Middle States for inside finish of the cheaper grade, cabinet work and turned posts. It is also especially adapted for shelving, as it can be obtained in very wide boards entirely free from knots.
Whitewood can be finished in its natural color, but is generally stained in imitation of cherry or some other close-grained wood, and when skillfully done it is difficult to detect the imitation. On account of its close grain and great lateral cohesion of its fibres, it is well adapted for carving that is to be painted.
The wood shrinks considerably in seasoning and warps badly. A solid door of whitewood is quite sure to warp or spring unless made of thoroughly seasoned and kiln-dried lumber. For first-class work whitewood doors should be made by veneering on a pine core, as is done with hard woods.
Sycamore. - A large tree, of rapid growth, common and largest in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, but found in nearly all parts of the Eastern United States. The wood is moderately heavy, quite hard, stiff, strong, tough, usually cross grained, of coarse texture and white to light brown in color. It is hard to work, shrinks moderately, warps and checks considerably, but stands well when properly treated. It is a handsome wood and is used considerably for finishing lumber.
Black Walnut. - A large tree, with a stout trunk, formerly quite abundant throughout the Allegheny region ; occurs from New England to Texas and from Michigan to Florida. The finest figured walnut trees are found on the slopes of the Blue Ridge and Cumberland Mountains. The wood is heavy, hard, strong and of coarse texture; the narrow sapwood is white, the heartwood chocolate brown. It shrinks moderately in drying, works and stands well, takes a good polish and is exceedingly well adapted for inside finish and furniture. At one time it was in great demand for this purpose and is again coming into favor. It is now used principally in the form of thin stuff and veneers. The finer grades of walnut have a beautiful figure and are carefully selected before cutting ; they are sold chiefly in the form of veneers and used in the manufacture of furniture.