I just recently gotten back into woodworking (now that my kids are older and it is not cool to hang out with dad) and have make several greate pojects out of maple, red oak and plywood. My next project is going to be a blanket chest and I want to use a cheaper wood (still releatively hard so it machines well and doesn’t dent like pine when you “look” at it). I have chosen poplar. Besides painting it, what are some other finishing alternatives. I know it blotches so my traditional method of sanding (80, 100, 150, 200 then minwax prestain + gel strain than 2-3 coats of wipe on poly with steel wool in between) probably is not the best. Can someone give me a couple of alternatives? Thanks.