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Forum topic by steve posted 149 days ago 850 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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steve

338 posts in 620 days


149 days ago

(this is Poplar from my shop, Plain-sawn left side; Quarter-sawn right side)

I am ALWAYS asked…always; ‘what type of wood do you think this is’, so many times…always…

A lot of the times, I can’t tell them what species it is…of course I know this is Poplar, but most of other instances a persons furniture is covered~with stain, an oil that amber’d it, whtever…I am showing a simple Poplar example of Plain sawn and Quarter/Rift sawn, just to show that i realize what lumber is, I’ve worked with/shopped for hardwood for many years, but still sometimes have a hard time identifying on the “fly”, for customers, and it makes me feel ignorant.
People ask me to identify a piece that has been built and sold by, {who knows who}; Pottery Barn, or on the “Houz site”, most are a manufactured piece from a company that uses Birch, and/or Poplar.
Most, if not all, are of one of the economy species that has been stained, or manipulated to resemble a more desirable wood. I have such a hard time identifying wood from these “Manufacturers”...saddens me…

-- steve/USA


17 replies so far

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1093 posts in 1103 days


#1 posted 148 days ago

You have to understand the pore structure in wood to be able to effectively ID wood. It is very hard to ID wood that has been commercially finished, no matter how good that you are. It is hard to see the end grain, and many times, the finish obscures the features that you need to see to ID the wood. So, realize that you are not alone, but keep on learning!

I have been studying wood my entire life, and there are still many challenges, for sure.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

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Purrmaster

777 posts in 720 days


#2 posted 148 days ago

Is the quatersawn what I’ve heard called “rainbow poplar?” Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

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richardwootton

1155 posts in 582 days


#3 posted 148 days ago

I think rainbow is when there are arrays ofcolor variations due, I think, to the mineral composition of the soil it was grown in, I could be very wrong because I’ve never actually heard that term used. By quarter and flat sawn from the same section of the tree will show the same, or similar, coloration.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

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Purrmaster

777 posts in 720 days


#4 posted 148 days ago

Yes, I think you’re right. Thanks. Has anyone actually gotten their hands on rainbow poplar? I’ve never seen it in person.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13741 posts in 965 days


#5 posted 148 days ago

Poplar in my area is a personal favorite. Every log I cut into is an adventure. Incredible streaks throughout.

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

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Purrmaster

777 posts in 720 days


#6 posted 148 days ago

Nice. I haven’t seen any rainbow poplar for sale in my area.

I actually kind of like the green coloration in poplar. I’d use it more if I could reliably preserve the green color instead of having it turn brown.

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WDHLT15

1093 posts in 1103 days


#7 posted 148 days ago

Yes, I have sawn some “rainbow” yellow poplar. It is really pretty.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1245 posts in 699 days


#8 posted 147 days ago

Sorry, this picture is terrible, but in the top drawer of my daughters dresser you can see some mineral stained poplar. these were paint grade DF’s that were due to be painted at a clients house, but I pulled them off the line and had them remade, because the spalting, and staining were quite pretty. It has pinks, turquoise, blues, yellows, and greys swirling around.

-- Who is John Galt?

View Iwud4u's profile

Iwud4u

311 posts in 156 days


#9 posted 147 days ago

I used to feel pressured to be able to tell people what species something is, but as I have grown older and have realized there are so many different species that come from so many different places around the world, I now feel more comfortable just telling them Who Know’s, looks like (insert species here), but could be anything?? (Unless I know for sure)

-- It's far better to be criticized by a wise person than applauded by a fool --

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joeyinsouthaustin

1245 posts in 699 days


#10 posted 147 days ago

I just didn’t have the heart to tell a client the other day that their cabinets were not white oak, but an embossed pressed pvc impregnated MDF!! Always hard to identify under pressure. I Agree with good finishing, and an abundance of woods from south asia… half the time it is who knows?

-- Who is John Galt?

View steve's profile

steve

338 posts in 620 days


#11 posted 147 days ago

thanks…
I have people that sometimes ask me to look at an “example” piece, they have, and sometimes i have a idea what kind of wood it is, sometimes I am clueless…ha…I feel like, “they” feel, I should be able to identify it~no problem…when in fact, it is covered in stain, or some glaze from a factory, and could be some Vietnam “shipload” of some Choi or whtever these Companies’s are using…
I am going to plead the 5th from now on, unless i am sure…ha
thanks

-- steve/USA

View Ingjr's profile

Ingjr

138 posts in 1643 days


#12 posted 146 days ago

Most want to hear that their wood is Mahogany. Everyone thinks their furniture is mahogany

-- The older I get the faster I was.

View steve's profile

steve

338 posts in 620 days


#13 posted 146 days ago

HA! Right…?
I hear that ALL the time…

From an article:

You often can substitute a look-alike wood for more than one wood species, such as alder for walnut or cherry, red gum for walnut or mahogany, and yellow poplar for a variety of woods. This has been a common manufacturing practice in moderately priced furniture for more than 50 years.

Remember, all wood falls into three basic wood-grain categories: coarse-grained, such as oak and ash; medium-grained, like mahogany and walnut; and fine-grained, as found in cherry, maple, and yellow poplar. Because it’s nearly impossible to make wood with one type of grain look like one with another type, select a look-alike wood with the same general grain features as the one you want to imitate.

In most cases involving the substitution of wood, you’ll have to stain or dye the look-alike wood. That may require some tinting and experimentation before you get the color of the imitator exactly right.

-- steve/USA

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steve

338 posts in 620 days


#14 posted 146 days ago

I almost “Hate” to stain any wood…I say almost, because i do not like to use the word Hate…but I do NOT like to, or do I advise staining…use a wood for the color you want…

———————————-ME————————————————————

woodwork design – fine furniture – cabinet making – millwork ”...we prefer to showcase the natural beauty of wood…”

-- steve/USA

View OldWrangler's profile

OldWrangler

526 posts in 222 days


#15 posted 146 days ago

I hate to make this too easy but our Home Depot frequently has some great colored Poplar. The store only carries Oak and Poplar along with their different Pines. You have to move a lot of boards around to find the pretty stuff but it is usually there. Most of the people I see buying the Poplar go for the whiter woods and leave the rainbow boards for folks like me. I have gotten some that are nearly black with tan and green highlites. Sometimes a whole board will be rainbowed and most folks just pass it by to get to plain white stuff. Check it out for yourself.`

-- If trees could scream, would we still cut them down. We might, if they did it all the time for no good reason

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