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Know Your Wood Cambia

Post on 1st August 2021

Tulip Wood is rapidly becoming quite the must-have timber – a popular addition to any home – but not to be confused with Poplar because despite it also being called American Poplar, it isn’t actually a member of the Poplar genus (Populus).

One of the reasons for Tulipwood garnering far more interest of late, is the variety of applications it can be used for. Its versatility and how varied the finish can be are getting noticed for a multitude of reasons.

So in true Know Your Wood fashion, we’re here to share its many merits now it’s being added to our Slatted Screen Fencing team…

Let’s Clear Something Up First – I’m Confused What Tulipwood Is!

If you’re anything like us, you might do a little research whilst assessing your fencing or garden timber options. Be prepared for confusion though as Tulipwood has quite a collection of aliases! Just one search and we’re seeing results for Yellow Poplar, Canary Whitewood, Canary Wood and Tulip Poplar.

Another dive in and we’re presented with Brazilian Tulipwood, Cambiawood, Cambia Poplar, American Whitewood and just Poplar if you’re on an American website. And there’s also the confusion of whether it’s a Thermally Modified Tulipwood or not.

Tulip wood is a stunning timber with light tones prior to the cambia process.

In a nutshell, Tulipwood is the name given to the wood from the Tulip Tree and Cambia is the name given to the wood after it has been thermally modified. If you’d like to know more about the benefits of thermally modified wood, and what the process is to thermally modify it, you can read about that here.

In its raw form, Tulipwood comes from the Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) and its shape resembles the European Poplar hence the nickname. The Tulipwood, or Cambia Wood that we supply has been thermally modified, but let’s take a look at the natural traits of the Tulip tree’s wood first, and just to keep the confusion at bay, we’re just going to call it Tulipwood from hereon!


Tulipwood Is Highly Sustainable 

Sustainability is core to our ethos, so this is where Tulipwood really shines. It is one of the most sustainable woods on the planet with an extremely high natural regeneration rate.

Tulip trees grow in all 33 of the U.S. states associated with American hardwoods – most of these are on the eastern side of the country but they are most prevalent in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. We absolutely love how hugely under-exploited it is, and this is one of the reasons we’ve chosen to add it to our range.

The growth rate of the trees is much greater than the level of harvesting in every single state it is grown in, with all states having a harvest level of less than 50% of the growth level. This is partly down to it being such a fast-growing timber which regenerates, but also because of the natural reseeding and re-growing from the stumps of the harvested tulip trees.

We’ve only ever sourced wood from suppliers who model the same sustainability standards as us, so we’ve been able to welcome Tulipwood to our range with wide-open arms.

Tulipwood Is Naturally Strong AND Resists Warping

This characteristic alone makes Tulipwood a serious contender for any indoor or outdoor project. Being so lightweight means it can be used where some other timber isn’t practical, but the strength that comes from wood around half the weight of oak is quite mind-blowing when combined with such a low risk of warping.

At roughly three times stronger than an equivalent softwood and stiffer against rolling shear (the stress placed on the wood when it is planed), Tulipwood is rapidly becoming a favourite for the homeowners of the world.

It is for this reason that Tulipwood is also widely used in Amish communities for roof decking and frames, as the last thing you want is the structure of your entire home to be skewed once the wood has aged and completely dried out.

It’s the same with your fencing and decking – you want it to have kept its beautiful straight lines as it ages!

Tulipwood Is A Natural Stunner

In comparison to other woods, Tulipwood has a beautifully unique colour. Its light colours initially look like they vary from beige to light brown, but on closer inspection, you’ll see it leans into yellow and olive green tones too. The visual aesthetic of Tulipwood varies from standard timber effects and adds character to your wood projects that other wood may not offer. 
What’s also amazing is the complete visual transformation the wood goes through once thermally modified. Through the thermal treatment process, the lightness of the wood completely disappears to provide a beautifully rich and dark wood, with hues similar to those of walnut, but Cambia Wood has the benefit of the visual variety Tulipwood is known for.


The natural details in Tulipwood are still there, such as the very obvious grain, and the colour gradients, but the heat and thermal treatment create a completely different colour, so you’re left with a much darker and warmer wood that turns any Cambia project into a striking aesthetic.

The texture is unusual too, being smoother than many other kinds of wood. You can clearly see plenty of definition and organic patterns in the grain, but running your fingers along it will surprise you at how smooth it feels. This is what makes it particularly popular for household projects such as flooring, construction or fencing and decking.

In addition, the lightness of the wood both in terms of colour and weight means that it lends itself really well to being stained, painted or treated. The natural variation in just one piece of Tulipwood can be absolutely stunning, so using this for vast areas of timber such as cladding, fencing or decking can add a truly stunning aesthetic to any garden or home.

Tulipwood Is Fantastic Value For Money

Last but most definitely not least, is how economical Tulipwood is for how much utility and beauty it offers. This may be partly due to it still being a bit of an unsung hero – ask any UK DIY fan or homeowner what Tulipwood or Cambiawood is, and the majority will be stumped (no pun intended!).

The price tag that attaches itself to popular or high-demand products hasn’t quite reached our shores yet, so it is definitely the perfect time to capitalise on this while you have the chance!

If you’d like to know more about using thermally modified Tulipwood (or Cambiawood) for your fencing or garden projects, get in touch here and our team will happily advise you on the best options for your needs.