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Hi Forum. I want to build some solid wood desk clocks and I am looking for slabs of wood other than pine or cedar. The dimensions are approximately 1 3/4"thick by 4 1/2" wide by 6" long or multiples of 6". I also need the same wood in 3/4 by 2 3/4. I know Lee Valley has small blocks of exotic woods, but where in Canada or U.S. could I find wood in the sizes I need without having to by a large quantity. Oldrusty
 

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Al
Rockler and woodcraft and some others sell slabs
 

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Al
Rockler and woodcraft and some others sell slabs
If you have a Woodcraft near you, they sell culls, cut-offs, and scrap in hardwood and exotic wood by the pound for a flat rate. The local one usually has a BIG box full of them. You might find some very good deals on these for your needs.

Bill
 

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Al, Keith the owner of the Woodworkers Source is a friend of the forums. Keith has some posts in our Wood Species section. He sells a very wide selection of exotic woods. You may be able to get the 12/4 wood thickness or you may have to glue it up. Check out the online store here: Exotic Hardwood Lumber and Wood Supplies | WoodworkersSource.com

Tell him Mike says hi. :)
 

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Al
If you are near a Windsor Plywood store they will have a stock of exotics and will be able to order in just about anything you might want. I buy a lot of my exotics online - just google exotic wood and check out some of the stores. It is better if they have pictures of all 4 sides of each board so you know what you are getting but the transportation is expensive. Hearns in Pennsilvania and Rare Woods in Maine have great supplies.
Dennis
 

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Canada, guys. Most if not all of the mentioned vendors aren't up here.
Dennis mentions 'Windsor Plywood'...I think they're right across the country up here.
Another route to go is joining a woodworkers group; a lot of really helpful info and guys that'll likely share/sell (some of) their wood supply.
In many cases their domestic hardwood came from private deals; somebody cut down a maple and somebody else cut'r up and milled it.
Up here Maple Birch, Alder, Apple, Cherry, Arbutus and Yellow Cedar (on the West Coast), Chestnut, Walnut and others, should be fairly easily found through the personal contact route, Al.
I really like Birch myself, so don't often venture elsewhere species wise.

I had mentioned a while back, Mohawks 'Radiant ' line of stains....do yourselves a huge favour and try one out! You can make Birch look like Cherry.

Designer Stains Radiant Series - Mohawk Finishing
 

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or poplar...
 

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Why would you want to make Birch look like Poplar?

The Poplar up here is green in colour.
(Not my fav colour, although Poplar is lovely to work with...)
 

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Green???
make the poplar look like cherry...
but why am I telling you this...
I think I just got baited...
 
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No, seriously, the Poplar available here is green in colour. Not usually a deep green but green nonetheless.
They use it for making mouldings but those are normally painted. It holds an amazingly clean sharp detail through the machining process.
I'll see if I can find some next time I go to Vancouver, and try the stain on it.
 

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fast phone call...
the BB poplar is green...

Dye will provide consistent color and, because it’s water-based, a damp rag can extract some of the excess if you use too much. Allow a little extra shading for the light sanding needed to remove wood fibers raised by water-based dyes. Like cherry, poplar tends to blotch. To make spot adjustments to the color, lightly rub darkened areas with 320-grit sandpaper.

compliments of Steve Mickley

The green heartwood of poplar will indeed change color over time. Whether or not it should be described as “boring old brown” is quite another question. My bride and I are the proud owners of a number of poplar primitives and we have had any number of visitors ask about the “beautiful wood”. But, of course, to each his own…

Is there a finish that will prevent the oxidation of poplar (or any other wood)? Short answer, no! Keeping it away from direct sunlight and not using full-spectrum lighting will slow the process; but, it will change over time. The sapwood, the cream colored wood, will not change so the real problem arises when you have a piece that exposes both heartwood and sapwood. This combination probably should be avoided.

You can also get ahead of the curve by applying a warm brown or reddish brown dye to poplar to take it where it will ultimately go. You may also want to consider a finish other than polyoneverythane to avoid the “yellowing” that accompanies poly. Water-soluble Antique Cherry dye followed by BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil) followed by garnet shellac will give poplar a rich, warm color that can make it at home in any environment. For added durability exchange the poly for some Pratt & Lambert #38, a soya oil based alkyd resin varnish that goes on lighter and does not “yellow” on exposure to UV…

Visit your local paint store and select the poplar color you want from the array of paint chips. Preferably you want an oil-based paint to maximize the open time so you will be able to manipulate the glaze as explained below.

Since you like the interplay of the sapwood and heartwood, do not apply either dye or BLO as I suggested in my previous reply. Instead simply apply a “barrier coat” of shellac. Blonde or super blonde shellac mixed in a two-pound cut from flakes would be my first choice; but, Zinsser SealCoat® right from the can is an acceptable alternative.

While the shellac is drying (25 to 30-minutes) decant some of your paint and thin it on the order of 50%± with paint thinner. You are turning the paint into an oil-based glaze.

Apply the glaze in a medium to thin coat with a brush or shop towel and then use the “dry brush” technique to manipulate the glaze to your liking. For example, you may want to leave more of the glaze over the heartwood while removing most of the glaze from the sapwood. The relatively continuous application of pigment over the green heartwood will significantly mask the oxidation of the green to brown.

Allow the glaze to cure for a day or two and then apply your topcoat.

When topping a glaze your objective should be to minimize the impact of the finish on the color of the glaze. Varnish, especially poly, will “yellow” the color you have just applied. I suspect that the piece you are making does not require the abrasion, heat and household chemical resistance of varnish. You may therefore want to consider using more of the shellac used as a barrier coat for your topcoat. You may also want to consider a water-borne acrylic …

Dry Brush Technique

With a soft, natural bristle brush in one hand and a shop towel in your free hand, use the tips of the bristles to manipulate the glaze, leaving more in some areas and less in others according to the look you want to achieve. The brush will feather and soften wipe lines and sharp edges giving your glaze a more "natural" look. From time to time, as necessary, agressively work the bristles over the shop towel in your free hand to remove excess accumulations of glaze; your objective is to keep the brush "dry", using it as a detailing tool, not an application tool. Do not use the brush to apply the glaze. Do not dip the brush in the glaze.

the project discussed...



… but I think I have it now.Smiley Happy So …, I’m going to change my mind, again. If you came into our store with this finishing project I would encourage you to use the poplar simply as the canvas on which the finish would be applied; in other words, forget the green. You want to achieve the high gloss guitar like finish. I suspect that is the most important objective so I will concentrate on that. On the possibility that you continue to want both high gloss and poplar, I will come back and address that as well. (Incidentally, I don’t want to go any further without congratulating you on your work; the box joint joinery is very well done, the cut outs are very well proportioned and the recessed inlay for what I presume to be some sort of control is clean and crisp. You obviously know something about woodworking as well as keyboarding; a subject on which I know absolutely nothing.)

I am going to suggest a finish of pre-catalyzed lacquer from aerosol cans as follows:

Begin by sanding through 220P with fresh open coat sandpaper, sanding with the grain.
Apply two wet coats of vinyl sealer. I will recommend Mohawk but there are probably other brands available.
Lightly sand after the second coat with 400P open coat sandpaper (grain is no longer important).

Apply dye based toner, again from an aerosol. There are a host of colors available but I would be inclined to recommend something in a medium brown tone. Apply very light coats, building the color with two or three successive applications until you achieve the depth of color you want. Note that the dye based toner, unlike pigment toners, will not diminish the grain/figure of your wood; you will still see the wood grain through the finish. You may want to keep the color very light in the center and build to a deeper color toward the edges. You can even apply two different colors.

Finally, apply 6 to 8 coats of high gloss pre-cat lacquer. Apply two or three wet coats before sanding, sand with 800P to 1000P and then apply coats two at a time before sanding to build a thicker, deeper film. The more coats of pre-cat lacquer you apply the deeper and wetter the finish will look.

Still want green; OK, begin with a green toner and finish off around the perimeter or across the top with Perfect Brown to add contrast and depth. Throughout this entire process make sure you have plenty of ventilation and a good activated charcoal respirator would be in order…this is nasty stuff…
 

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!...Good stuff, Stick; thanks for that!!

That piano pic is actually a pretty good approximation of the actual colour of the Poplar lumber, on average. Some is darker and more intense, some paler. But absolutely, a beautiful wood. Never tried carving it but I'll bet it's a joy to work.
 

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!...Good stuff, Stick; thanks for that!!

That piano pic is actually a pretty good approximation of the actual colour of the Poplar lumber, on average. Some is darker and more intense, some paler. But absolutely, a beautiful wood. Never tried carving it but I'll bet it's a joy to work.
change the green to brown/tan earth tones and that's us...
we like poplar...
 

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The problem I have found is that companies don't ask for the dimensions I require. Most quote in board feet ?, maybe they will custom cut. Sounds expensive!! Daninvan, we have a Windsor plywood store and I will try there. Old rusty
 

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The problem I have found is that companies don't ask for the dimensions I require. Most quote in board feet ?, maybe they will custom cut. Sounds expensive!! Daninvan, we have a Windsor plywood store and I will try there. Old rusty
Pricing is in board feet, but surely they would want to know more about the product you need? Very strange.
Didn't they at least ask what thickness you needed?
The hardwood isn't sold by width; you need to pick out your own from the random widths the rough sawn lumber is milled and shipped as. They have a little tool that they check the widths with, and it reads off in board measure, based on the thickness and length.
This is a bit simpler than the lumberyards' but works just as well I'm guessing...
OneTime Tool - Paolini Lumber Rule
So in short, you tell them 4/4, 6/4, 8/4 etc and the minimum to maximum widths you need, and the lengths. They either have it in stock or they don't. But the number you'll get back is in Bd. Ft. and a price per Bd Ft.
PJ White Hardwoods Ltd.
And the list will change daily; you really need to do your selecting in person if at all possible.
https://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/showthread.php?41786-Hardwood-Lumber-suppliers-by-province
 

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Green???
make the poplar look like cherry...
but why am I telling you this...
I think I just got baited...
As we say in Australia, Stick. "Come in spinner".....:laugh2:

Or is that, "Come in sucker"....LOL
 

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As we say in Australia, Stick. "Come in spinner".....:laugh2:

Or is that, "Come in sucker"....LOL
the fall back and punt can be really rough...
 

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Another source in the US is Craigs List. In my area there are several sawyers/slab guys, various people with excess (a lot of flooring) and the occasional woodworker's supply. I don't think CL is as big in CA but there are similar, I think. Worth a regular look.

I've never seen green poplar, I suspect 3 months in a kiln kills it...
 
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