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Thread: How things change/Working with poplar

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    How things change/Working with poplar

    I have been working on the design for an entertainment center for the living room. Of course I have several projects lined up to do in the house but this was the priority.

    Well the wife said as much as she wants a new TV which requires the new stand. She said she NEEDS a piece of furniture for the laundry room worse. It's actually going to be an interesting piece to make. For me anyway. My notebook with my sketches are in the shop so will post those latter.

    My question is about how popular is to work with? This is going to be a painted cabinet and I have read that popular is excellent wood for painted projects. Or is there something better to use for painted projects?

    Just curious how it is to work with? This will be a tall frame and panel construction cabinet, mission styling with flat panels. One large door and open shelves on one side for storing laundry baskets.

  2. #2
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    ozarks
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    jeff, poplar works well with power or hand tools it`s just got an ugly green tinge to it that makes it suitable for paint grade work...i`d suggest mdf for the panels `cause it paints so well and is cheap to boot....tod

  3. #3
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    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
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    I have worked quite a bit with poplar and quite like it, with the proviso that you paint it rather than stain it. It is not unlike maple to work with -just a slight amount softer. But, when I have tried to stain poplar, the colours have not worked out well. I find that parts of the poplar, at least the poplar that I have used, have a greenish tint which gets exacerbated by the stain.
    Cheers, Frank

  4. #4
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    Houston, TX
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    Jeff,

    As far as I'm concerned, tod and Frank nailed it. I have found enough poplar without the green to do some stain, but would never suggest that to anyone else.

  5. #5
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    Yup, works just fine for paint grade work. Tod is right too, use MDF for panels.
    I once heard that cats and women will do darn well what they please and that men and dogs would do well to accept it and just go on.

  6. #6
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    Thanks, I assumed it was easy to work with because it is used so much. Just have never used it enough to really know for sure.

    As for staining I had some luck. In our house I needed two doors stained and rest were painted. I had to order the doors to get the style I wanted. To get the two in oak of some other stainable wood it was going to cost triple the popular and they had a minimum order of something like 4 or 5 doors and wouldn't just make the two in oak. I wasn't about to spend that and then paint the extras! So I was basically stuck. The good thing was I had several doors the same size. So I took my chances and ordered them in poplar. Then I picked the best two doors to stain and it worked out OK.
    Last edited by Jeff Horton; 11-01-2006 at 08:07 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Placitas, NM in the foothills of the Sandia Mt
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    688

    Poplar

    Hey Jeff,
    Poplar is a great wood if you can get around the green tint, like by painting or a dark stain.

    Poplar is very straight grained, very forgiving if you joint or plane against the graint, but works very much like other hardwards.

    When I'm making furniture, I will often make a spare piece (say a leg or an apron) from poplar and do all my setups (blade height, etc) on it before I risk the maple or oak.

    Also, poplar is available - even here in the desert - in a wide variety of sizes, 8/4 and 12/4 included.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Central CA
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    I love using poplar when refurbing cabinets in our rentals. It machines very well and easily. Painting them does seem to be the easiest way to finish it though. I've yet to find any good sized pieces that don't have some green in them.
    Thanks, Mark.

    Custom Bonehead.

    My diet is working good. I'm down to needing just one chair now.

    "Just think how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider!" --George Carlin

  9. #9
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    Northwest Indiana
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    I did find the poplar takes Minwax's red mahogany real well. Most other colors though not so great like said above. The cabinets in my shop a stained with it.

  10. #10
    Poplar is commonly used for moldings and paint grade work. It works well with power and hand tools. I have stained it successfully too, but certainly it's not anywhere near the top of the heap in stainability. We use it almost exclusively for moldings for our houses.

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