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View richardwootton's profile

Walnut Table Top Question

by richardwootton
posted 01-18-2013 09:17 AM


22 replies so far

View Kelby's profile

Kelby

133 posts in 1065 days


#1 posted 01-18-2013 09:41 AM

The problem happens when the lighter wood is porous, in which case the sanding dust from the darker wood gets into the pores of the lighter wood and thus “contaminates” it.

I don’t use poplar, so I can’t say whether it is porous enough to cause problems. Usually, people use maple as a light contrasting wood with walnut, and maple is not porous so it does not create a problem.

If you are concerned, there are a few options.

One is to cut out the poplar and replace it with maple. :)

Two is to put a coat of shellac on the poplar while it is “uncontaminated”, and that should provide pretty good protection against the walnut sanding dust.

Three—- and this is what I would do—is sand the top until you are happy with it, then use a card scraper to scrape the poplar and surrounding area until it’s as fresh and clean as you want it. Then apply the finish.

-- Kelby

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1504 days


#2 posted 01-18-2013 04:40 PM

Poplar can be annoyingly soft, Richard. I think finishing is going to be frustrating not only for the contamination potential noted above, but also because it just doesn’t work up like walnut.

I don’t think it’s unworkable, I’d just like you to be prepared for what may be less than optimal results. In either case, there’s a whole lot of learning going on here, and that’s what it’s all about in my book.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15696 posts in 2872 days


#3 posted 01-18-2013 04:50 PM

I sort of agree with Lee. Work with it and learn from it.

I don’t think contamination will be a huge problem with those two wood types. One think I have found that works pretty well is to apply a shop vac nozzle to the lighter wood after sanding. That will pull most of the darker dust right out.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1812 days


#4 posted 01-18-2013 04:52 PM

I think Kelby nailed it. If this were porous like white oak, you’d have an issue with sanding dust getting in the pores. Otherwise, you might be safe. I did this recently with ebony inlays in QSWO and you have to be careful to work the ebony mostly BEFORE it is inlayed for this reason.

Poplar, though softer, works a lot like maple from that standpoint…and we’ve all done a bunch of walnut/maple pieces without much issue.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1250 posts in 609 days


#5 posted 01-18-2013 04:53 PM

Thanks for the input guys. I’ve got to go back to our local hardwoods store this weekend and get the maple for the aprons so I might just go ahead and get a little extra in case the poplar doesn’t end up working out.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1250 posts in 609 days


#6 posted 01-18-2013 05:52 PM

I talked to my lumber guy and he has some curly and quilted soft Maple. I’m guessing that’ll be a better option. I wish I’d have thought of this before I did my glue up. Live and learn!

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1250 posts in 609 days


#7 posted 01-19-2013 08:38 PM

I picked up some nice curly maple today for the aprons so if the Poplar does become contaminated too badly then I’ll just cut it out and replace it with the maple.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View USMCSergeant's profile

USMCSergeant

28 posts in 609 days


#8 posted 01-22-2013 06:12 AM

I hope you post a pic of the results. The movement in the walnut is beautiful!

View Marcus's profile

Marcus

1047 posts in 673 days


#9 posted 01-22-2013 01:53 PM

Hey Richard, I was hoping to see an update too. Post pics when available.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

1185 posts in 950 days


#10 posted 01-22-2013 02:14 PM

I agree with the point about it being soft. If a few dents in the poplar strip down the road will bother you in the future I’d replace it with maple now. If not then forge ahead.

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1250 posts in 609 days


#11 posted 01-22-2013 07:15 PM

Well I decided to go ahead and rip the poplar strip out and use some beautiful curly maple instead. I got sidetracked rough cutting my aprons, squaring my legs, and stabilizing/filling a couple of knots in the Walnut with a 2-part epoxy that I didn’t get around to regluing the top! I’ll post a picture or two of the maple a little later on though.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1250 posts in 609 days


#12 posted 01-22-2013 09:45 PM

Here’s a picture of one of the Curly Maple boards I bought. I can’t wait to see this finished.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1250 posts in 609 days


#13 posted 01-22-2013 09:45 PM

Unfortunately the figure doesn’t show up quite as well in the photo as it does in person.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1017 posts in 940 days


#14 posted 01-22-2013 10:07 PM

Curly maple… gotta love that stuff!

-- John, BC, Canada

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1250 posts in 609 days


#15 posted 01-22-2013 11:11 PM

I know it! This is the first time I have ever worked with it, but I sure am glad I found some one who carries a lot of nice clear curly.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10866 posts in 1344 days


#16 posted 01-23-2013 03:19 AM

Good decision and that is some very fancy maple! Walnut and maple always play well together.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

925 posts in 1008 days


#17 posted 01-23-2013 07:27 PM

It will work, I’ve used maple next to walnut. What I really noticed though is that the lighter colored woods can also contaminate darker woods, just have to sand a little more is all. I don’t think your poplar should be too porous to take the dust, but there’s really only one way to see. I would have had two strips of the poplar though to ballance it.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

311 posts in 904 days


#18 posted 01-23-2013 07:41 PM

Richard,
I noticed in your post about your walnut slabs that you are in central Arkansas. Where do you buy your lumber? I’d love to get my hands on some of that curly maple. I live in Little Rock.

-- Rex

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1250 posts in 609 days


#19 posted 01-23-2013 07:59 PM

Hey Rex, there are two places I buy lumber. Les Steen Hardwoods in North Little Rock off of East E street, and Sunset Hardwoods off exit 7 from 530. Sunset has a lot of exotics and Les has a lot of local varieties of hardwoods but he’s only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9-12. Both places have a good selection of curly maple to choose from.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

311 posts in 904 days


#20 posted 01-23-2013 08:06 PM

Thanks for the response! I’ve actually bought from both of those places before, I was just never looking for curly maple. Mostly I wanted to pick your brain and make sure there wasn’t some other supplier I had overlooked!

-- Rex

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1250 posts in 609 days


#21 posted 01-23-2013 08:15 PM

TCC, I actually thought about that and even laid it out when deciding how I wanted to glue it up, but I ended up liking the visual weight of the one strip being set about a third of the way into the table top. With two pieces it ended up looking a little too much like a cutting board or bread board.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1250 posts in 609 days


#22 posted 01-23-2013 08:36 PM

Rex there aren’t any others that I know of. There is a local part time sawyer in Avilla, which is about 30 minutes outside of Little Rock and I’m wanting to get him to saw some cherry and walnut slabs for me if I can make it work.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

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