This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
The first species inhabits the Levant and adjoining countries, growing 60-80 ft. high and up to 8 ft. diam. The wood is more figured than beech, and is used in England for furniture; in Persia it is applied to carpentry in general. The second species, sometimes called "water-beech," "button-wood," and "sycamore," is one of the largest N. American trees, reaching 12 ft. diam. on the Ohio and Mississippi, but generally 3-4 ft. The wood is harder than the oriental kind, handsome when cut, works easily, and stands fairly well, but is short-grained and easily broken. It is very durable in water, and preferred in America for quays. Its weight is 40-46 lb. a cub ft.; cohesive force, 11,000 lb.; strength, 92; stiffness, 78; toughness, 108.
This tree has numerous massive arms; its height is 30-60 ft.; trunk 2-4 ft. in diam. The timber is specially adapted for the purposes of the ship-builder, and has usually formed the framework of the numerous vessels built in the northern provinces of New Zealand. Grows on rocky coasts, and is almost confined to the province of Auckland.
This tree is abundant in Burma, S. India, and the E. Archipelago. It is tall and straight, and about 6 ft. circ. It is used for the decks, masts, and yards of ships, being strong and light. Its texture is coarse and porous, but uniform: it is easy to saw and work up, holds nails well, but is not durable in damp. Its weight is 40-55 lb. a cub. ft.; cohesive force, 8000-14,700 lb. Another species (C. anguslifolium) from the Malabar Hills is said to furnish spars.
Five species of poplar are common in England : the white (P. alba), the black (P. nigra), the grey (P. canescens), the aspen or trembling poplar (P. tremula), and the Lombardy (P. dilatata); and two in America: the Ontario (P. macrophylla) and the black Italian (P. acladesca). They grow rapidly, and their wood is generally soft and light, proving durable in the dry, and not liable to swell or shrink. It makes good flooring for places subject to little wear, and is slow to burn. It is much used for butchers' trays and other purposes where weight is objectionable. The Lombardy is the lightest and least esteemed, but is proof against mice and insects. The weight is 24-33 lb. a cub. ft.; cohesive force, 4596-6641 lb.; strength, 50-86; stiffness, 44-66; toughness, 57-112. Poplar is one of the best woods for paper-making. The colour of the wood is yellowish- or browish-white. The annual rings are a little darker on one side than the other, and therefore distinct. They are of uniform texture, and without large medullary rays. The wood is light and soft, easily worked and carved, only indented, not splintered, by a blow. It should be well seasoned for 2 years before use.
When kept dry, it is tolerably durable, and not liable to swell or shrink.