Sapwood is white, blending into the light brown heartwood. The contrast between sap and heartwood is small. The wood has a fine uniform texture and is straight grained.
Aspen does not split when nailed, it machines easily with a slightly fuzzy surface, and turns, bores, and sands well. It takes paint and stain well to produce a good finish, although care is required where the surface is fuzzy. It has low to moderate shrinkage and good dimensional stability. Aspen is a true poplar, and therefore has similar characteristics and properties to cottonwood and European poplar.
The wood is light and soft, with low bending strength and stiffness, and medium shock resistance. It has a very low bending classification.
Non-resistant to heartwood decay, and extremely resistant to preservative treatment.
Furniture parts (drawer sides), doors, mouldings, picture frames, interior joinery, toys, kitchen utensils. Matchsticks (USA). Important specialized uses include sauna laths, because of its low conductivity of heat and chopsticks.