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Which is less likely to cup on a 9" deep shelf, SYP or poplar?

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Forum topic by 404 - Not Found posted 08-30-2013 11:31 PM 973 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1913 days


08-30-2013 11:31 PM

I have a customer who wants long shelves made, supported by wooden brackets that use diagonal braces. The shelves and brackets will be painted white.

They are going to hold books and one of them is also longer than 8’, so man made board is out of the question.

My timber supplier has nice 10” wide 4/4 planks of SYP at 16’ long or there’s a few wide poplar 4/4 planks, 16’ long in the bale. Both are kiln dried and show no sign of cupping even though both are tangentially sawn.

Normally I’d make a shelf this wide by ripping a plank in half and gluing it together heart side up/heart side down to eliminate cupping. I don’t think there’s going to be the money in this little job to do that. Is it sufficient to have the shelf heart side up – and attached to the brackets with a screw in the centre to keep the middle pulled down flat? Or do I need to get my biscuit jointer out?

Which would you use?


11 replies so far

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

2339 posts in 1220 days


#1 posted 08-31-2013 01:18 AM

Your statement says both the shelves and brackets will be painted white. IMO, poplar has the advantage over pine for painting. Pine will have knots and would be more work for you to prep them so they don’t show when the paint is applied. If you are buying pine that is as clear as poplar, you may be paying more for the pine

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View Buckethead's profile

Buckethead

3016 posts in 812 days


#2 posted 08-31-2013 01:45 AM

I’m thinking poplar is more stable than pine to begin with.

Poplar-2

Pine-0

Pine might be less expensive though

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View jap's profile

jap

1243 posts in 997 days


#3 posted 08-31-2013 01:49 AM

poplar

-- Joel

View redSLED's profile

redSLED

786 posts in 836 days


#4 posted 08-31-2013 01:51 AM

poplar

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View BentheViking's profile

BentheViking

1757 posts in 1507 days


#5 posted 08-31-2013 02:01 AM

poplar seems like the popular choice here

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

View DKV's profile

DKV

3631 posts in 1447 days


#6 posted 08-31-2013 02:04 AM

But, which is less likely to cup?

View cutmantom's profile

cutmantom

334 posts in 1978 days


#7 posted 08-31-2013 03:02 AM

It really depends on the direction of the growth rings ,plain sawn vs quartersawn,but for a painted project poplar will give the better result

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2725 posts in 1520 days


#8 posted 08-31-2013 03:07 AM

I use a good amount of kd poplar and have had little to no cupping, even on 8” wide boards. So I’d go with poplar. I don’t work with a lot of pine though, but like I said, no issues with poplar for me.

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

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

3044 posts in 1230 days


#9 posted 08-31-2013 03:25 AM

If cupping is a concern, dado a small depression about 2” from either end of the shelf and screw in a flat metal bar. Keep it flush with the wood and you can paint right over it. Guarantee it wont cup in a bog.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1913 days


#10 posted 08-31-2013 01:15 PM

Poplar it is then, it’s a few euro less than the pine as well. Thanks for the input.

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

16280 posts in 1511 days


#11 posted 08-31-2013 01:19 PM

I agree 100% with poplar being the better choice.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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