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After I finish this bathroom remodel... several weeks away the way things are going... I plan to build a new headboard and bed. The dressers are all a very light natural birch. Now I don't have a lot of birch handy, but I can get enough poplar to do this.

#1 Do you think poplar is a good choice for building a bed and
#2 Is it possible to get a finish on the poplar that will pretty closely match the birch?
#3 I haven't worked much with poplar. Does it take stain well?

If I can't get a finish that's extremely close to the birch, then I'm going to go for contrast. Not real dark, but when you look at it you'll know it wasn't MEANT to match the dressers.
 

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Birch is one of the woods used to look like cherry,I have never tried to mimic birch. If you can get some white poplar without the mineral streaks,it wouldn't be difficult to dye it with an amber color to look like the color of birch but the grain pattern is something else.I believe you would be farther ahead to use birch.

Regards
Jerry
 

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I've never had any luck staining poplar. If I tried it again I'd seal it first with a thinned coat of shellac. The poplar I always see has a greenish tint which would be difficult to to cover and keep the very light appearance of birch. Painting poplar works great. Good luck!
 

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From an online source somewhere, I'd read that poplar takes stain well. I had a rough 2by4 laying around for a long time, and decided to run it through the planer, and try some different stains on it. The piece in question didn't have any of the green/brown streakings in it, but it did have a rather large knot. While the stains applied evenly to most of the board, the area with the knot on it wouldn't accept the stain very well.

My question then is, If staining poplar, will the stain take evenly if a pre-stain conditioner is used first? Part of the reason that I ask is that my brother works in a poplar sawmill... it could be a source of cheap lumber. Also, on a similar note, what common uses does poplar have in cabinetry/woodworking?
 

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Poplar is used a lot as secondary wood and also for projects that are painted. If I use poplar that needs to be colored I prefer a dye stain; If you insist on a pigment stain apply a spit coat of shellac first. I have used poplar with a nice grain pattern,when you can find it, as a substitute for cherry. You are fortunate to have a source for cheap wood of any kind.
Regards
Jerry
 

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Hi: Poplar is not a good choice to match birch. It can be stained to look like cherry.
I would think that maple would be a better match, if the bedroom set is birch.
poplar is a good wood for secondary uses, like inside case work where it won't be seen.
Woodnut65
 

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I seem to disagree... I think they match pretty well, actually. I built a bookshelf using a birch ply, and faced it with poplar, simply because it was cheap. They both have a pretty smooth grain pattern, though I would definitely avoid a piece with green streaks. I used water-based stain and shellac and they seem to match up fairly well, although the poplar we have down here in Mississippi is quite soft. Next time I would think about using an oil to harden the wood.
 

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For most of our members poplar will be the least expensive hardwood available. The greenish tint is highly visible in almost all the poplar I see locally. I am sure this is due to the quality we get here. If you have access to clear poplar that doesn't have any of the green then by all means give it a shot. The generally accepted rule is to use poplar in applications where it will not show, will be painted, or covered by a heavily pigmented stain.
 

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jerrymayfield said:
The greenish streaks often found in poplar will turn to brown in time,which will add to the proplem.

Regards
Jerry
A few months ago at HD, I noticed all the poplar was very green in color. Today I purchsed some that allmost looked like walnut. Thought it was a new shipment, But maybe it just turned. My question is, will it change color after it is finished? Whether purchased white, green, or brown.

Thanks, Rusty
 
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