Plywood or Poplar for a Table Top

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Forum topic by Tom Goodman posted 06-05-2009 11:18 PM 2697 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tom Goodman

198 posts in 4097 days

06-05-2009 11:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dinning table table plywood poplar stain black stain plywood furniture espresso stain

I need to make a small dinning table for my Daughter’s tiny apartment. Aprox. 43” X 43” The table not the apartment. It’s only temporary (3 years) and It’s going to get a Espresso (black) Stain on it. So there is no need to get fancy or creative. just a simple table. Seeing how Poplar is not cheap around here. and I’m low on $$ I like to use Plywood. But I have never used Plywood to make furniture before and that’s my problem…So what I need to find out is….
  • How thick should it be ?
  • Should I use a certain type of Plywood ?
  • Should I even use Plywood ?
  • Any advice that anyone could give me would much appreciated.

Just in case anyone needs to know: The legs and apron are being made out of Poplar and I’m using a Kreg Jig Pocket Hole System to connect it to the top. and I will be putting a border around the edge. which will also be stained.
Thank You.

One more thing…Please don’t beat me up over the black stain. She wanted it and I put up a good fight but she still won. One of these days I might get that thumb off of me….....Oh who am I kidding?

-- - " If you want square work, You don't cut corners. " - -- Tom Goodman, Santa Maria, CA.

3 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4183 days

#1 posted 06-05-2009 11:43 PM

I don’t see any reason wht you can’t use plywood. Go to your local Lowes or Home Depot and go to the section where they sell partial sheets. You definitely want to use 3/4” in my opinion. In my area, they sell 48” x 48” pieces in either birch or oak. Either on will work, but I think the oak grain will look very nice with that black stain on it. (However, the smooth birch will look more like the poplar legs and apron than the oak will.)

I have a 20-year-old daughter, and I’ve had to make her black furniture as well, so don’t feel bad.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Tom Goodman's profile

Tom Goodman

198 posts in 4097 days

#2 posted 06-06-2009 12:36 AM

Thanks Charlie
I’m going to wait to see if I get any more feed back. But I called around and they do sell the 48” x 48” pieces. I think that I’m probably going to go with the birch. Depending on what kind of feedback I get.

By the way I checked out your website Great pics of Calif. coast. and I cant believe you got a clear shot of L.A.


-- - " If you want square work, You don't cut corners. " - -- Tom Goodman, Santa Maria, CA.

View RBWoodworker's profile


441 posts in 3317 days

#3 posted 06-06-2009 12:52 AM

Hi..Plywood is great for tabletops for a few good reasons.. one being that is more stable than lumber and will not crack due to expansion and contraction..’s already sized and you don’t have to glue up any stock then try and make it flat.. also there are many different edge moldings you can use to give it a decorative edge and really make it nice..and not break the bank..

-- Randall Child

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