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Educate me on Poplar

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Forum topic by Jofa posted 272 days ago 1073 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jofa

215 posts in 434 days


272 days ago

Hey all.

I have a new pedlaboard customer who asked for Poplar as one of the options. He wants a moderate to light stain with a semigloss laquer finish.

My question is regarding how Poplar might handle stain and/or laquer. I believe I read somewhere on LJ’s that Poplar has a tendency to oxidize?? or that it may not stain with predictable results.

I will knock back the stain a little with some steel wool just to get some of the grain to pop but I figured I would ask the experts. Thanks.

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.


25 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3647 posts in 2259 days


#1 posted 272 days ago

In my experience, it is best for paint … with stain, it tends to blotch. I have had success staining it after using Charles Neil’s Blotch Control.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Anthony's profile

Anthony

118 posts in 308 days


#2 posted 272 days ago

Hey Jofa! As I write this I am applying the first coat of gel stain to a poplar box. I have had good luck staining by using a pre-conditioner prior to the stain. I also use gel stains which, combined with the conditioner, tends to blotch less. I will let you know how the box turns out in a few minutes.

-- Anthony - "The blacksmith and the artist, reflect it in their art. They forge their creativity, closer to the heart"

View Jofa's profile

Jofa

215 posts in 434 days


#3 posted 272 days ago

Thanks Gerry and Anthony. Definitely let me know how it turns out!

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3260 posts in 1409 days


#4 posted 272 days ago

If I had to stain poplar I would use a washcoat of shellac first. I like a 3:2 ratio of denatured alcohol to Zinssner Bullseye Seal Coat. This ratio seals the wood to prevent blotching, but won’t prevent you from getting darker colors.

I really prefer to use poplar as a secondary wood for drawer boxes. In that case I just spray them with clear shellac, and they are quite attractive.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2437 posts in 947 days


#5 posted 272 days ago

The above advice is right on.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

1938 posts in 872 days


#6 posted 272 days ago

Relatively inexpensive. Mainly clear and knot free wood that is easy to machine. Great choice of wood for paint. The green heartwood will eventually turn towards a brown color. Staining would require a pre stain conditioner or you can try dyes by itself or a combination of dyes, toners, and glazes. Gel stains and shellac as others mentioned work as well. ..I personally like it with a clear finish…my shop “furniture” is mostly made of poplar with a clear finish….this is my outfeed table

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/89246

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View Anthony's profile

Anthony

118 posts in 308 days


#7 posted 272 days ago

kdc68, love the outfeed table! Nice Work.

Jofa, the gel stain came out good. I maybe could have let it sit a bit more before wiping it off.

Be wary of sanding, Poplar is very soft and any sanding marks will show if you use a darker stain so surface prep is vitally important.

-- Anthony - "The blacksmith and the artist, reflect it in their art. They forge their creativity, closer to the heart"

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13203 posts in 934 days


#8 posted 272 days ago

I think a sealer or shellac first coat will take care of your problems.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

1938 posts in 872 days


#9 posted 272 days ago

Anthony...thanks Jofa...good luck and looking forward to seeing the finished project

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View Jofa's profile

Jofa

215 posts in 434 days


#10 posted 272 days ago

Wow thanks guys.

kdc68, that outfeed table is nicer than my bedroom furniture!

Anthony, thanks for the heads up on the stain.

I know the customer wants something darker than pine and the blotch thing concerns me. I may just look for boards that have some darkness already in them. Either that or look for some other species that will stain better.

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

1938 posts in 872 days


#11 posted 272 days ago

Jofa...thanks…..If you have scrap of different species …make some stain samples…let your customer view each and that may help

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

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Jofa

215 posts in 434 days


#12 posted 272 days ago

^ yep I’m definitely going to try a couple of pieces for my own edification. As for the customer… Nova Scotia! LOL!!!

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

View WalterB's profile

WalterB

8 posts in 276 days


#13 posted 272 days ago

I second the suggestion to use Charles Neil’s Blotch Control. It makes a huge difference. As to looking for boards with some darkness, without the blotch control, I think that the lighter wood took darker stain and the darker stayed about the same. I know that sounds backward but that was my observation.

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

1938 posts in 872 days


#14 posted 272 days ago

Jofa...this may be helpful

http://americanwoodworker.com/blogs/techniques/archive/2012/05/24/make-poplar-look-pretty.aspx

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

556 posts in 490 days


#15 posted 272 days ago

kdc68, that is a nice table and link there. Helpful thread all around.

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