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3612 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  avewads
I'm building a shelve. I have been practicing with pine ready for the expensive wood. I've never heard if poplar. What's is it it's ugly to me, but expensive as the redoak
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Poplar is popular as a paintable material.
I use poplar on any project that I intend on staining. I like working with it; however, I don't like its colors.
I use it for practice wood. My painted work is done with soft maple for the most part.
I do as well, I've found poplar to be about the same price as soft maple around here and I prefer the maple.
lol, if you are ready for the expensive wood then skip the poplar. Staining is a real pain but on the flip side it work nice with hand tools.

Skip on over to the Mahogany, Cherry or Walnut.
Poplar has a lot of uses. It's cheap and machines well. Furniture companies use it as a secondary wood on walnut and mahogany furniture. The color varies greatly but if you select wood for a project that is uniform in color it can be stained very well for medium to dark color finishes. Since it is a closed grain wood it paints very well. Some areas of the country the wood has been used as framing materials. My mother's house is completely framed with poplar and it's well over a hundred years old.
Burb, what is your method for staining and finishing poplar? And do you get good results?
Poke around the poplar pile though...I've found some really wild and stunning looking pieces. I found a piece years ago that was striped with some curly figure and had about four different tones of green/grey. I used it to make some desk clocks and if they would have had another ten boards I would have bought them all.
Ezee said:
Burb, what is your method for staining and finishing poplar?
I have used wipe on oil-based stain followed by wipe on poly, both water & oil-based. I think I like the water based poly better ONLY because it dries so much faster and I can do multiple the same day.

Ezee said:
And do you get good results?
My weak point has always been stain, though I'm getting better. We also had a guess presenter this past Sat at our Woodturners Assn. His name is Les Casteel and he does AWESOME work. (www.woodthatrocks.com) He's a club member who has been published in the AAW journal, and will be a guest regional presenter at the upcoming SWAT in Waco.

Les has given me a lot of personal, and his 90 lecture on prep & finishing enabled me to take about 6 pages of notes!!!

Poplar (really tulip at least on the east coast, ) is a good utility wood. It is easy to work, relatively strong and usually inexpensive for a hardwood. It's good for things like drawer sides, cabinet frames, jigs, and other stuff where it doesn't need to be finished. It's also (as mentioned above) great for projects that are to be painted as it can be problematic to stain successfully, though some guys have it figured out. When stained, it has a tendency to be blotchy, and the grain is often unimpressive.

So far, 90% of all my projects use poplar. Since I am still very new to woodworking, poplar, for me, is easy to work with and relatively inexpensive. - Bob
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