finishing poplar without staining.
I've worked mostly with pine or oak in the past and a tiny bit of maple. Poplar is a whole new look and technique from what I've been reading.
I've got a bookcase from (we think) 1940-50 It appears to be predominantly heartwood and the grain is almost black, rather than the lighter browns and greens I saw in the lumber yard. We are trying to match the finish, to the extent possible, to the maple (blonde) furniture we have.
I've read a great deal of posts on numerous sites about staining poplar before finishing and the pre-conditioning, colors to use etc. All of it refers to making the wood resemble a different wood such as cherry , walnut,or mahogany. We want to keep the wood lighter. I don't know if i will work, but I'm game.
I read that the poplar will oxidize and the dark patterns will lighten. I don't know if this is a long process or if it takes only a week or so. Also, in the same article it mentioned shellacking the poplar. Will it oxidize after being shellacked? That doesn't make sense to me, but I have a pottery background and think in terms of fired glaze more than varnishes and stains.
IF we simply apply the shellac without a stain, what process must I follow so that it comes out smooth, protected and with honor.
I'm going to do the under side of the bottom shelf (only ever faces the floor) before I do any other part of the book case, just in case we really hate the result.
Any recommendations of both process and product are more than welcome. I already know that Minwax is NOT my best option.
Thanks to everyone, in advance.