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Forum topic by Todd posted 03-18-2014 09:25 PM 1676 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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398 posts in 1670 days

03-18-2014 09:25 PM

For some reason I like Poplar…with just a clear coat. The greenish hue eventualy turns brown and I like the contrasting streaks in some of the boards. I guess for me I find that the natural variations in wood add interest, while others find a uniform color/grain more pleasing. In every other aspect of my life I like symmetry, but not when it comes to wood necessarily. What do you find pleasing?

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

27 replies so far

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3119 days

#1 posted 03-18-2014 11:01 PM

It can be quite beautiful and I used it a lot when I was making models of products… Paints really well and hold an edge well. But can be shaped almost as easy as basswood since it is so devoid of most grain difficulties. And it steam bends like a dream. I have a board that I can’t seem to use it is so pretty.. Green and purple flames… Which I occasionally sand to expose the colors again and again. My favorite wood is black cherry though, for color and texture and ease of carving.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View jumbojack's profile


1676 posts in 2618 days

#2 posted 03-18-2014 11:06 PM

my name is jack and I love poplar. there I said it. i just finished a rocking horse with glued up poplar. looks great! finished with amber shellac.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29217 posts in 2332 days

#3 posted 03-18-2014 11:27 PM

I use and saw a lot of poplar. Old poplar logs can be very beautiful. Easy to work with.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Lenny's profile


1593 posts in 3521 days

#4 posted 03-18-2014 11:38 PM

OK Todd, I will be the first detractor and say that I am in the “poplar is a secondary wood” camp. I would never consider making a fine furniture piece from poplar. While its characteristics, mentioned by EPJartisan are great, I am not a fan of its appearance. Oh sure, there’s the exceptional board now and then but generally speaking, I don’t see it as a nice looking species.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View jeffswildwood's profile


3181 posts in 1971 days

#5 posted 03-18-2014 11:42 PM

I too use poplar quite a bit. The interesting grain flow just sets off many projects. Mostly I just clear coat it and love the change. Real nice for doing lettering. Soft wood that east to make “adjustments” on with only sandpaper.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Sawdustmaker115's profile


306 posts in 1715 days

#6 posted 03-19-2014 05:10 AM

Poplar= cheap, easy to get, and offers awesome grain variations with the color and stuff.
so poplar = one of my favorite types of wood, i don’t think i could ever tell you my favorite, as long
as it’s wood i love it. Lol but poplar definitely has alot to offer as for looks, availability, and price
And i too use it alot, i give it a clear coat usually. I did a cabinet frame out of it
some time back an i stained it with an early American stain made by minwax i thought this was a mistakes
at first but upon completion of the build I thought it had a lot of character and looked awesome so yeah i like poplar.
Lol :)

-- Anthony--

View TraylorPark's profile


212 posts in 1592 days

#7 posted 03-19-2014 05:34 PM

I like Poplar too. I’ve never just clear coated it, but the variation you get with grain when you do a wipe on stain is why I like it. I’m with you on using wood that adds interest to the project. One of my favorite things is (shhhh not too loud) a sound knot in a board. Not a bunch like rustic pieces just one or two for interest.

-- --Zach

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3736 days

#8 posted 03-19-2014 05:44 PM

poplar works great making laminated bent mouldings, like arched window frames.

Can be made to match/simulate most other standard species, like Cherry or Walnut, with dyes and glazes.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View bondogaposis's profile


4719 posts in 2345 days

#9 posted 03-19-2014 05:54 PM

I like it too, I even made my Roubo bench out of it. You can also ebonize it with steel wool dissolved in vinegar and it looks a bit like walnut.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View theoldfart's profile


9694 posts in 2445 days

#10 posted 03-19-2014 06:56 PM

I prefer poplar, even made my tool chest from it:

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 1631 days

#11 posted 03-19-2014 07:19 PM

Hey bondo i would love to see your workbench of poplar. any chance you could post a pic of it?

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View Mosquito's profile


9302 posts in 2286 days

#12 posted 03-19-2014 07:25 PM

I have nothing against poplar either. Paints well, and with careful stock choice, finishes well too. I made a table out of poplar, and a bunch of utilitarian shop stuff from it too (traveling plane till, among others). It’s also cheap for me too, which is nice.

It’s not typically my first go to wood, though, if I’m making something for myself.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View JSOvens's profile


78 posts in 1650 days

#13 posted 03-19-2014 07:32 PM

I recently started making a shoe rack out of poplar (I will post it when I’m finished). The initial reason was because I got it cheap (even more so than the equivalent in pine 2×4s). However, after sanding and finishing up a test piece with a clear finish, I have got to say my opinion on poplar has changed. Some of the more interesting pieces (i.e. with the green/brown streaks) have almost a naturally rustic charm, yet can still retain a level of ‘fine-ness’. I’m not so sure I know what I’m talking about, it made sense in my head though!

-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada

View waho6o9's profile


8187 posts in 2571 days

#14 posted 03-19-2014 07:43 PM

Great looking tool chest Kevin, good job!

View jmartel's profile


7879 posts in 2144 days

#15 posted 03-19-2014 08:05 PM

I’m not a fan. It’s way too soft.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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