What to build a Interior Square Column out of?


I will be building a set of interior square columns that will be non-load bearing, and will consist of a post and lintel. I planned to paint them white but may consider finishing the wood depending on what I use. The span of the lintel will be ~10' and have one full column in the middle and 2 half columns on the ends. I'm curious about the best material to use for this; Veneered Plywood, MDF, or Hardwood? If I were to use hardwood, what species? Poplar comes to mind because if price and the fact that it would be painted.
The advantage I saw to sheet goods was price and consistency, the disadvantage being limited to a 8' seamless section.
I'd appreciate any suggestions on materials and construction techniques.
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You might consider MDO vs MDF. It's a lot easier to paint and is a bit more structurally sound. It can be had in 10 foot sheets (as can MDF or any sheet good) but since you are painting you can probably tape, plaster and sand it just like sheet rock.
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On 27 Sep 2005 13:51:26 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

your finish schedule will drive your materials selection. if you are going for a smooth painted finish MDF or MDO will be good choices. if you want rough sawn painted, spruce may be what you find. if it'll be finished stained or clear use a decent grade of the appropriate species
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On Tue, 27 Sep 2005 15:59:17 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@all.costs wrote:

and you can get around some of the material limitations like length and edge finishing with a little creative design. kinda hokey to put a keystone in the middle of a span, but in some situations something like that can save your butt. flutes on the column sides can make a cap on the corner look plausible, or an oversize corbel and capital might get your span down to 8 feet. the results can be dramatic or comic... draw it out to scale as large as you can to see if you're making a big mistake before you go buying any wood...
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