Pine and Poplar

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by NotVeryExperienced posted 06-12-2015 10:29 PM 1781 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View NotVeryExperienced's profile


1 post in 1075 days

06-12-2015 10:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bar pine poplar staining

I am going to be building a bar. All of the wood I will be using for the bar top and the side paneling is going to be southern yellow pine. However, the bar rail that I found and would like to use is poplar. I was just wondering if there much difference in appearance of the two side by side. And what I could do while staining to make them look as close as possible.

Thank you

13 replies so far

View Dabcan's profile


255 posts in 2667 days

#1 posted 06-13-2015 01:45 AM

Pine has a more yellow tint to it than Poplar. You’ll also have more knots in pine, unless you get some particularly clear pieces. If you’re going to stain them you might not notice much difference.

-- @craftcollectif ,,

View Ted's profile


2846 posts in 2207 days

#2 posted 06-13-2015 02:12 AM

The grain is completely different. You might be able to get them similar in color by experimenting with different stains, but you’ll need some scraps (will you be cutting the bar rail?), and pine tends to be very blotchy when stained. There are ways to avoid the blotchyness, such as sealing or using a conditioner, using gel stain rather than penetrating stain, but it’s tricky and requires some patience.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View cdaniels's profile


1320 posts in 1497 days

#3 posted 06-13-2015 02:19 AM

+1 on what ted said. alternately you could go for a contrast of color. make one dark and one lighter, one always compliments the other in that case. like painting the trim in your house a diff color than your walls.

-- Jesus was a carpenter... I'm just saying

View Woodknack's profile


11610 posts in 2376 days

#4 posted 06-13-2015 03:39 AM

Yep, very different. Both are blotchy when stained so take Ted’s advice on staining for both woods. Better is to use a toner which will disguise the grain and match color better.

-- Rick M,

View rwe2156's profile


2924 posts in 1476 days

#5 posted 06-13-2015 11:45 AM

In cases like this, from a stylistic standpoint, I think about highlighting the differences, not trying to hide them.

In the case of the SYP, have you considered leaving it natural and not staining it?

My rec is save yourself the hassle of trying to match colors in diff species of wood its extremely difficult unless you’re really experienced.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View bondogaposis's profile


4723 posts in 2347 days

#6 posted 06-13-2015 12:46 PM

I have a rule about pine, “never stain it”. I either paint pine or finish it clear. I also generally only use poplar on painted projects. They are very different woods and you will be unable to make them look alike unless you paint them. They are both very prone to blotching when staining and the grain reversal you get when you stain pine is ugly in my book and that is why I don’t do it. You can prevent blotching but all of the extra steps involved are just not worth it to me.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View alittleoff's profile


539 posts in 1272 days

#7 posted 06-13-2015 01:27 PM

I’ve used poplay a few times in the last year for different projects and have done the same with yellow pine. But, I’ve never combined the two. I’ve always stained the poplar and clear coated the pine. I would like to see a picture when you finish it. Never seen the two together.

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1226 days

#8 posted 06-13-2015 02:04 PM

Darn near night and day. I don’t cross species unless it is premeditated for contrast i.e. mahogany and maple. You’d have better luck trying g to get oak and pine to match and still to the semi educated eye it sticks out like a nun in a cat house.

My humble suggestion: find someone with a shaper who has a cutter that matches what you want and have it made from pine or make it all from poplar.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3168 posts in 3227 days

#9 posted 06-13-2015 03:08 PM

Here is a coffee table I built. The legs are 2×4 studs milled and glued and milled. So is the basic frame. All of the flat boards are white pine from the local big box store.

I don’t have any pics of anything finished made from poplar. The buffet and my mom’s cabinets were painted so that won’t help.

The poplar soaks up the stain similar to the white pine. You can see the difference in the pine boards on the table top vs the yellow pine legs.

Hope this helps.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 1218 days

#10 posted 06-13-2015 03:10 PM

I like both species, SYP is a bit denser and harder than Poplar, using Poplar as the rail it might dent up easy.

-- I meant to do that!

View cdaniels's profile


1320 posts in 1497 days

#11 posted 06-13-2015 04:19 PM

poplar workbench top finished with just mineral oil and wax

-- Jesus was a carpenter... I'm just saying

View dealmaster's profile


6 posts in 1070 days

#12 posted 06-17-2015 03:04 PM

Yeah I would use SYP if possible. It will probably be cheaper, as well as stronger. It won’t stain super-well, so if you’re gonna stain it, use a pre stain conditioner first.

View jeffswildwood's profile


3184 posts in 1973 days

#13 posted 06-17-2015 08:58 PM

I have used pine and poplar together in many project and both work well together with stain. The only difference I found is poplar will stain a bit darker then the pine, more soak up. I used cherry stain once and the pine was very light toned, the poplar came out rich and as it should be. Best thing to do is try some scrap samples first, and try this at different grits of sandpaper 120, 220, 320.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics