Finishing a poplar box

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Forum topic by BerBer5985 posted 12-30-2011 09:32 AM 1585 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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445 posts in 2418 days

12-30-2011 09:32 AM

I just finished up a sliding lid pencil box in some poplar sapwood. I’m one who is drawn to unique and interesting grains/colors and I particularly don’t like stained woods. For the most part, I prefer to keep the wood natural. The piece has a lot of purple and green shades which I don’t want to cover up but I want to make pop? What’s a good finish for this box? I have Danish oil, tung oil “finish”, general finishes wipe on armour coat, wipe on poly, and a mix I made myself out of spar varnish, paint thinner, and blo. I don’t particularly want it to take 4 days to finish. Any suggestions on what might be a good answer. I don’tind purchasing another finish if theres a good recommendation.

This is how it currently stands with no finish.

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

6 replies so far

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2353 days

#1 posted 12-30-2011 09:50 AM

Well, whichever route you decide, you need to do so in a fairly short time period. I’ve always noticed that poplars grain tends to fade fairly quickly and it just becomes a mash of color if it’s not finished.

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

View americancanuck's profile


414 posts in 2608 days

#2 posted 12-30-2011 12:57 PM

shelac would be very fast with a final coat of wipe on or sprayed poly. Very nice job on the box

-- Retired and lovin it

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2562 days

#3 posted 12-30-2011 01:48 PM

I like the rounded ends on the square box. Its a small touch but it adds that little something different. good luck with the finish

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2921 days

#4 posted 12-30-2011 03:39 PM

clear shellac or lacquer

-- Life is good.

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2495 days

#5 posted 12-31-2011 05:55 AM

I’m a real fan of poplar for the colour you mention and have finished it best with shellac and real wiping varnish (not poly). Oils tend to muddy it and yes, be prepared for fading no matter what you do. The greens and purples will brown out but still remain quite lovely. If you want the green to remain longer then lightly tint your finish with an appropriately based dye.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View BerBer5985's profile


445 posts in 2418 days

#6 posted 12-31-2011 06:03 AM

I ended up using the general arm r coat for it. Put the first coat on tonight and so far it looks really nice! It’s a pencil box for an artist friend as a surprise gift. I think it will turn out good.

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

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