What is "Whitewood"?

Ask your wood and other materials questions here. Please DO NOT post pictures and ask us to identify your wood, we have found that accurate ID is nearly impossible, and such discussions will be deleted. Thanks.
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Alan Peterson
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What is "Whitewood"?

Post by Alan Peterson »

The folks at Rogue are rolling several very inexpensive flattop guitars out the door these days. We got one of their dreadnaughts here at the day job as a cheap knockaround guitar -- anyone who just wants to thumb a tune while on break, here's yer axe. Its not great, but its better than nothing.

The construction materials are listed as "laminated whitewood", which is about as generic a name of a material as one could want. I'm guessing its birch ply. Anyone know for sure?
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Barry Daniels
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Re: What is "Whitewood"?

Post by Barry Daniels »

Whitewood is a term that I first saw at Home Depot. The wood they sold for interior trim was labeled as "whitewood" which meant that is was either fir, pine, or some other generic type of conifer. Probably whatever was least expensive at the mill.
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Ryan Mazzocco
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Re: What is "Whitewood"?

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

Barry Daniels wrote:Whitewood is a term that I first saw at Home Depot. The wood they sold for interior trim was labeled as "whitewood" which meant that is was either fir, pine, or some other generic type of conifer. Probably whatever was least expensive at the mill.
+1

The first time I saw the term was at Lowe's. I was actually looking for budget material for my second guitar. I wanted to try using white pine. As I was looking through all the 1x material that I assumed was pine I noticed it was all labeled "Whitewood."
I asked one of the "Lowe's Experts" which prompted a meeting of the greatest minds in big box retail history. They all thought it could be some kind of pine, though one board had a prominent redish streak through the middle of it, indicating it could have a little bit of cedar running through it. :? :roll: So, the theory is that a pine and cedar cross bread? okay. :lol:
But by the end of it we did come to a unanimous decision; No one knew what it was.

Bill Raymond
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Re: What is "Whitewood"?

Post by Bill Raymond »

"White wood" seems to be an umbrella term for any coniferous wood that is available to the big box stores at a low price. Species can vary by local availability.

Brian Evans
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Re: What is "Whitewood"?

Post by Brian Evans »

Around here whitewood is usually poplar. In other words fast growing, soft, wide grained broadleaf "hardwood". It's usually pretty clear and straight, and I use it for face frames on cabinets that will get painted.

Todd Stock
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Re: What is "Whitewood"?

Post by Todd Stock »

Miriam Webster: Definition of whitewood. 1 : any of various trees with pale or white wood: as a : tulip tree 1 b : an Australian tree (Atalaya hemiglauca) of the soapberry family. 2 : the wood of a whitewood; especially : tulipwood 1.

I have seen the tern used in 19th c. books and other documents, generally addressing cabinetmaker's secondary woods like tulip poplar, etc.

Stephen Neal Saqui
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Re: What is "Whitewood"?

Post by Stephen Neal Saqui »

Also "whitewood" refers to woods like sycamore, basswood, etc. used for white veneers.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: What is "Whitewood"?

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Tulip poplar, true poplars, aspen,cottonwood, etc.. Light weight, light colored, fast growing "hardwoods" are called whitewood around here.

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