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Butchers Block Counter made of...Poplar?

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Forum topic by PeteH posted 740 days ago 2090 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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PeteH

5 posts in 741 days


740 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: poplar counter butcher block island kitchen

So I started a kitchen remodel almost a year ago, I’m still not done, and my budget is gone. I’ve decided to go with a butchers block style counter on the island/peninsula, but I’m having trouble deciding on the wood. I was thinking poplar because of the low cost (local yard has rough cut for $1.40), but I know it’s fairly soft. Fortunately, most of the stuff they have has very little mix between heart and sapwood, so it’s almost all the nice light color with virtually no greens or browns. This surface will be used mostly as a prep counter and a bar at which to sit and eat. Does this sound reasonable or should I spend a the extra money on hard maple? As a side note I already have nearly enough poplar to do it that was intended for a wardrobe I was going to try to build for my girlfriend, but I’m slowly realizing I may be in over my head on that project anyway.

Of course if I use poplar, finishing will be an issue. I have a light beige floor and I’ll be installing tan/beige countertops in the rest of the kitchen, so I want to keep this light as well. The cabinets are a dark/deep redish stained maple (Harvest in the Diamond cabinet line). Any pointers there would be appreciated as well, as I haven’t worked with Poplar before.

Thanks for whatever help you guys can give me.

-- Pete


8 replies so far

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2699 posts in 1173 days


#1 posted 740 days ago

Poplar is too soft IMHO, though others may disagree.

Hard maple or soft maple would work great. Soft maple might be cheaper for you, and it’s as hard as cherry.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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OldLarry

18 posts in 760 days


#2 posted 740 days ago

I agree, poplar is way too soft.
You can buy maple tops made to your size for little more than what you will pay for the maple @ retail.

-- Larry, Nebraska

View Doss's profile

Doss

779 posts in 861 days


#3 posted 740 days ago

Not only is the poplar going to be too soft if you use it for its intended purpose, but you’re going to end up replacing it quickly too because of that. Even if it’s not used for cutting, it’s still a pretty soft countertop material.

Add to that the fun of jointing the edges of those rough cut boards just to get them ready and you’re already talking about a pretty expensive project (time and/or money).

Find some wood that holds up well as mentioned above.

There are times to use supplies you have sitting around and times that you do not. If you’re remodeling your home, most of the time, you’re not going to want to build things like this out of your leftovers.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10538 posts in 1287 days


#4 posted 740 days ago

I used 18×18 tile framed in white oak. The tile was cheap and durable as well as reducing the wood cost for the project. I put thin foam floor underlayment under the tile and did not glue/attach the tile otherwise. That way it is easy to replace if it gets broken or you want to change colors. Just a thought.

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

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PeteH

5 posts in 741 days


#5 posted 739 days ago

Thanks, everyone, for the replies. That’s kind of what I was afraid of. I’m extremely stubborn by nature, so it’ll take quite a bit of work to resist the urge to try and prove you all wrong….which I realize would be futile. Fortunately I have time to come to my senses…my shop hasn’t recovered from being turned into a storage room a couple months ago, so I’m still cleaning it out. I’ll start shopping for some nice maple, and I’ll go ahead and have the lumber yard put one edge on it for me to make life a little easier.

To gfadvm, I agree with you and kind of like the idea myself, but my girlfriend and (hopefully) soon to be fiance isn’t such a fan, so I figure it’s easier to go ahead and make sure she likes it now. That way I (hopefully) wont be rebuilding it a year from now…

-- Pete

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2699 posts in 1173 days


#6 posted 739 days ago

If you really want to win her over, make it out of cherry. :)

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10538 posts in 1287 days


#7 posted 739 days ago

Some of those big slate tiles are pretty cool looking!

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

View childress's profile

childress

841 posts in 2138 days


#8 posted 739 days ago

I think poplar will work just fine. It will also be different than what you normally see. Sure it’s softer than others, but if you have it, I say use it.

The wood can have a specific gravity as high as .5, which is right about where cherry is. It could also go as low at .35 but I still think it will work fine.

The other things is that if it wears over time to where you don’t like it, you could always build another out of something else ;-)

-- Childress Woodworks

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