Aspen for Fine Furniture: Final Report

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Aspen for Fine Furniture: Final Report

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University of Minnesota, Duluth


Technical Report


Aspen is an important part of the Minnesota sawmill industry with 100 million board feet sawn annually. Aspen lumber is primarily used to make low valued products such as pallets or in low price and low strength construction. The better quality aspen, #1 Common & Better, lumber is generally combined with the medium quality lumber in these products. Aspen high quality lumber should be used to make high value products such as fine furniture. The goal of this project was to solve the problems incurred when aspen is used to make high quality furniture. Aspen is perceived to be soft and weak, and difficult to finish. These perceptions are somewhat true. The results of this project show how Minnesota aspen can be used to make fine furniture, can be machined well, can be stained as well as painted while remaining an inexpensive hardwood. This project was started using GMC funding. The work has been successful in that three of the four project objectives are well advanced. The fourth objective, determination of aspen hardening, was not started as it was of lower priority. In the work reported here, we have determined that if conventional joining is used, aspen furniture will have weak joints . A new technique to make aspen furniture parts with strong joints has been developed and this technique has been reduced to practice using state-of-the-art quality control and manufacturing. Prototype pieces of a ready-to-assemble (RTA) living room furniture design have been produced. Future work in this project will consist of completion of the RTA living room furniture prototypes and determination of consumer acceptability through test marketing. The research into aspen hardening should be completed and is expected to result in a process that will speed up the naturally occurring aspen hardening.


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Reynolds, Hugh W. (1989). Aspen for Fine Furniture: Final Report. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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