wood choice question

I have to redo some kitchen cabinet doors. Currently they are painted 3/4 ply. I have to stay with painted finish but I'm going to do a frame and glass style.
My thinking says that pine might be too soft, no way will I paint oak, so what are my choices? I'm thinking that poplar might be a good choice but have never used it before - all I know about it is that it is difficult to stain. No experience routing it.
Living in Southern California am I correct in this choice?
Thanx!
Vic-- There are 10 kinds of people - those who understand binary and those who don't
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Vic Baron wrote:

[snipped for brevity]
Turns out that I am planing 120 bdft of poplar as we speak. Just walked in for a bit of a break. I like poplar for projects like that. If KD'd properly, it is very stable. In machines beautifully, somehere between soft maple and hard pine, and sands well. I have been a fan for decades... and it's cheap. Certainly an excellent choice for rails and stiles and mullions....if painted. The grain is not pretty and 'paint grade' can be brown..even a kinda green/grey. Not to worry, none of that will bleed through a decent sealer coat. I use up my leftovers as a sealer coat.. I thin it 15-20% and use it as a piss-coat. After a through drying, it should sand very well and take the next coat well.
I can't think of a more dimensionally stable hardwood....doesn't mean there aren't any species more stable.... but at $ 1.20 bdft?
HTH
r
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Poplar would be a good choice but not necessarily harder then SYP. It paints and works very well.
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Poplar would be a very good choice IMHO. It is hard to beat for painting, easy to work, and very stable. It is on the soft side for a hardwood, but is stronger than pine (excepting maybe SYP)
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wrote:

My suggestion would be birch. It's plenty tough, relatively inexpensive, and routs nicely. The tight grain makes it easy to paint, too. Poplar is as soft as pine, IIRC (though I don't use it much.)
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The popular will work fine for this, unless you are going to have kids swinging on the doors sometime down the road. The birch is harder and a tighter grain but here it costs a little more. You are going to be painting these so if me I would use the popular and still shed a tear while covering the grain of some pretty wood. Now to me any wood used inside a house is tooooooo pretty to cover with paint. Just me. You read for yourself what the American Hardwood Association has to say about each.
Poplar Liriodendron tulipifera Other Names: Yellow Poplar, Tulip Wood
Strength and mechanical properties
Yellow poplar trees grow taller than any other U.S. hardwood species and they are members of the magnolia family. The bark, leaves, flowers, fruit and roots contain pharmaceuticals. Poplar is the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Where it Grows Widespread throughout Eastern U.S. Tree heights can reach 150 feet.
Main Uses Light construction, furniture, kitchen cabinets, doors, musical instruments, siding, paneling, mouldings and millwork, edge-glued panels, turnings and carvings.
Relative Abundance 11.2 percent of total U.S. hardwoods commercially available.
Did You Know? The poplar tree is rarely attacked by parasites.
General Description The sapwood is creamy white and may be streaked, with the heartwood varying from pale yellowish brown to olive green. The green color in the heartwood will tend to darken on exposure to light and turn brown. The wood has a medium to fine texture and is straight-grained; has a comparatively uniform texture.
Working Properties A versatile wood that is easy to machine, plane, turn, glue and bore. It dries easily with minimal movement in performance and has little tendency to split when nailed. It takes and holds paint, enamel and stain exceptionally well.
Physical Properties A medium density wood with low bending, shock resistance, stiffness and compression values, with a medium steam-bending classification. Excellent strength and stability.
Availability Very widely available.
Birch Betula alleghaniensis
Strength and mechanical properties
From sap to bark, birch trees are used to make everything from beer to toothpicks. Native Americans stretched birch bark on their canoe frames and used the wood for their arrows. The birch is New Hampshire's state tree. It is also popular as an ornamental tree and has gained the nickname "Mother Tree" because birches were planted at the White House to honor the mothers of U.S. presidents. The oil extracted from the bark contains a chemical used to treat rheumatism and inflammations.
Where it Grows Eastern U.S., principally Northern and Lake states. The average tree is 60 to 70 feet in height. Birch prefers valleys and stream banks although it adapts itself to higher grounds.
Main Uses Furniture, millwork and paneling, doors, flooring, kitchen cabinets, turnings and toys.
Relative Abundance 0.7 percent of total U.S. hardwoods commercially available.
Did You Know? Native Americans often rolled and burned birch bark to keep mosquitoes away.
General Description Yellow birch has a white sapwood and light reddish brown heartwood. The wood is generally straight-grained with a fine uniform texture. Generally characterized by a plain and often curly or wavy pattern.
Working Properties The wood works fairly easily, glues well with care, takes stain extremely well, and nails and screws satisfactorily where pre-boring is advised. It dries rather slowly with little degrade, but it has moderately high shrinkage, so is susceptible to movement in performance.
Physical Properties The wood of yellow birch is heavy, hard and strong. It has very good bending properties, with good crushing strength and shock resistance.
Availability Reasonable availability, but more limited if selected for color. web site: hardwoodinfo.com

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I suggest asking at the wood dealer for rejected birch or maple. My local guys often have an "ugly pile" where you can buy birch or maple for less than poplar. This isn't usually an advertised thing, you usually have to ask, but they're often happy to unload the stuff. One of my local guys is less interested, 'cause he's got an in-house pointy stick operation, but the other two are. Ask... <G>
Just this week, I made two commercial door jambs from some butt-ugly 8"+ wide hard maple I bought for ~ $1.50 bd/ft.
Expect this stuff to have tearout, due to many grain reversals, and the occasional knot. A quick skim with bondo or water putty, and you're good to go.
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wrote:

That makes it unsuitable for cabinet doors, as it won't be nearly as stable as straight-grained clear wood. I agree with the multitude advising the use of poplar.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Sun, 12 Nov 2006 17:18:59 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

There's plenty of sections that are straight and perfectly suitable for many stiles and rails in the ugly stuff I bought. Cut AROUND the junk. <G>
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wrote:

Not always possible -- but I agree that if you can cut around the junk, it'll work fine.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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wrote:

Poplar is a good choice, it's not too hard but it's harder than your other alternatives, it isn't very expensive and it's easy to work and paint. I'd certainly avoid most pine and yes, if you were to paint oak, most of us would string you up, but you can't really go too wrong with poplar. Good call.
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Brian Henderson wrote:

I just finished a big wall-to-wall builtin book case all in poplar. A coat of Minwax "colonial pine" completely eliminated the slight greenish cast of the wood and it looks beautiful with a couple a coats of poly varnish over the minwax.
David Starr
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Thanx to all for the suggestions. Seems like poplar it shall be!
Vic

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It appears to be the popular choice. :)
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Don't you mean "It appears to be the poplar choice?"
Puckdropper
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Well, soft maple from Washington or Oregon isn't much more than poplar, in the dealer's barn at Oakland, CA. It's harder, straighter, and easier to machine than poplar from the next pile over. Worth looking into, but highly dealer dependant.
Patriarch, using hard white maple this week for the daughter-in-law's kitchen...
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