How well does poplar take stain?

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I have a little project upcoming that will want some nice stained wood bits. I don't need to match any existing wood bits, just need to get a dark, rich-looking, slightly reddish finish on a few drawer faces. My local HD stocks poplar and maple. Poplar is less-expensive.
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Mike "Rocket J Squirrel" Elliott
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Mike Rocket J. Squirrel Elliott wrote:

About the only thing poplar is good for is staining or painting. It has a greenish tinge sometimes, I think from mineral inclusions, which can affect the final color. If you start off with even colored wood it's pretty much a blank canvas.
I used to make a lot of things out of stained poplar because I didn't know anything else was available locally. Once I tried real walnut, I haven't stained anything since. Everything is either walnut, or something that looks good complimenting walnut. At least I'm a man who knows what he likes. :)
If you look here:
http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Rue/5407/projects.html
The house thing, the top of the hutch thing, and the plant stand are all predominantly poplar with good ol' Minwhacks stain and a plastic dipping of poly on top.
I wish I had pictures of my most recent stuff, but I don't have a working scanner or a digital camera anymore. I've come a long way since that first piece of walnut, and my introduction to shellac.
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snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net says...

Actually, I kinda' like the greenish part. I'm using some for a multi-shelf magazine rack in progress and the green (sapwood?) across the top contrasts nicely with the white (heartwood?) of the rest. I even got some water-based poly (which I hate) to see how it will look without ambering.
I have heard that the gree will eventually turn brown under light, but that should still look good.
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In my experience, both poplar and maple will blotch unless you first put a sealer on the wood.
"Mike Rocket J. Squirrel Elliott"

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"Mike Rocket J. Squirrel Elliott"

I've heard it is good, I've hear it is no good. Why not buy a small pice to see if it does what you want in the end.
Better yet, look for hardwood at a hardwood dealer and you may save money in the end. HD is not a good place for buying wood.
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"Mike Rocket J. Squirrel Elliott"

One cool thing I have done with poplar is once you've got it ready to be finished, but before you stain it, leave it out in the sun for a couple hours -- longer if you have a nice day. It is very photosensitive, and the greenishness will turn a nice warm tan, almost like cherry. Then finish it.
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mark wrote:

I wonder of grow light would have the same affect? then you could do it year round
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I never thought of poplar as a very desirable wood for staining, at least until recently. My son, a construction superentendent, just finished an office mall and the architect called for dark cherry red stained poplar for a confrence room door, base and chair rail trim. My son balked but the architect told him to have the finisher do it to specs and it looks great!
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Generally, isn't this type of finishing done with spray equipment, though? I think that most of this is done with some kind of tinted lacquer, and the color does not come so much from the wood being dyed or pigmented as from the topcoat. Therefore, uneven absorption is not nearly as much of an issue as applying an even coat. with the HVLP sprayer.
I'm building a large built-in bookcase pout of birch and poplar right now, and I am seriously thinking of hiring a pro to come in and do this type of finish so that I don't screw the whole thing up by blotching it.
If you have any input for me (before I spend $1200 on the pro) it would be greatly appreciated.
Jeff

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I've used water base stain with poplar without any appreciable blotchiness. Haven't done a lot of it so I'm no expert but my limited experience came out fine.
bob g.
jeff wrote:

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Absolutely. This was not, by any stretch, a fine finish but it was attractive for its use - a multi use office and conference center. It was pretty much what is used in a lot of residential construction and that process is not indended to be beautiful - just attracive and quick.
The biggest mistake I made when we built our house was not knowing about these 3-step production laquer finishes (sprayed stain, sealer, finish). It sounds impressive but basically it allows a good gun guy and a couple of high-school drop outs to finish a 2,000 square foot house in two days (while they are doing another down the street, during dry times).
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I did a project using poplar a while back and it turned fine. I used minwax gel stain (mahogany I think), and then finished with shellac. I was going for a lighter color than you, but I'm sure it would work with any color. I didn't have any problems with blotching.
The front is made out poplar, and the sides are birch ply...
http://www.eskimo.com/~swilson/projects/stereocabinet/images/Closed.jpg
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On Sat, 11 Dec 2004 18:59:37 -0800, "Mike Rocket J. Squirrel Elliott"

Poplar is considered a "secondary" wood and typically used for interior furniture pieces where the wood is not obvious. HD is the wrong place to buy hardwoods. If you want a reddish appearance, consider hard maple, cherry or red oak For a few more dollars mahogany has a beautiful rich red color.
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My brother is a finish carpenter. He commented recently that he rarely uses cherry anymore for a library, but instead uses poplar. Wipes it with Denatured alchohol first. I forget his exact words, but it does something to the pores so that all the peices take the stan in the same manner, for consitancy of the finish. Perhaps someone else could comment on this further.
Dave
"Mike Rocket J. Squirrel Elliott"

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Wow. Is the job sold at a much lower price than cherry?
At least he could use birch or maple. Poplar isn't all that durable.
Barry
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He's a finish carpenter. For trim, and wall covering, no one's going to walk on it. I have poplar in some places in my home. Door openings and other trim. It holds up fine and carefully chosen pieces have some nice grain patterns.
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Cox West responds:

I don't think I'd care for it. If I were going to sub for cherry, alder makes a better choice. I think of poplar baseboards, door trim and chair rail and I think ot bumps and dents. Window trim, fine, crown molding fine. Elsewhere, not so fine.
Charlie Self "Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to." Mark Twain
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On 12 Dec 2004 22:19:03 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

So was I.
A "library" to me means lots of shelf edges and bases with shaped edges and crisp corners exposed to vacuum cleaner tools, chairs, kids, the occasional idiot with a step ladder, etc...
I also like the wood I'm going to touch to have a solid feel. For some reason, poplar always feels hollow, like basswood with grain, to me. Denser woods, like maple and birch feel more like real cherry when you tap or knock on them.
Barry
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On Mon, 13 Dec 2004 00:57:23 GMT, Ba r r y

Cherry stain on maple? Excuse me, I have to go barf up my breakfast.
If anyone is interested I can sell you a real nice chrome-plated gold ring.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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On Tue, 14 Dec 2004 09:10:57 -0800, Tim Douglass

Depends on the maple.
Barry
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