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Staining Poplar

jrogerh's picture

Staining Poplar (post #110636)

I am making a simple bedside tqbel out of poplar.  I used mostly the clear white grain stock but I had to use some wood that has the greenish coloring.  I plan to stain the wood but having never stained poplar I have a question.  Is there any way to treat the greenish portions that will minimize the difference in the wood colors when I stain it?

Dave45's picture

(post #110636, reply #1 of 10)

Poplar isn't usually used in stain applications although I've done a few things using the white (or brownish) wood finished with poly.  Personally, I sorta like the look but it isn't for everyone - lol.


Since poplar is fairy soft, I would recommend a coat of conditioner before you stain.  As always, the best way to do this would be to experiment with some samples and see how you like them.

jazzdogg's picture

(post #110636, reply #2 of 10)

Can you tell us a little more?


How pronounced is the green coloration?


What color are you thinking of staining it?


How dark (or light) do you want it?


What kind of sheen? Gloss? Semi-gloss? Satin?


 


-Jazzdogg-


"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Gil Bailie

-Jazzdogg-

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Gil Bailie

jrogerh's picture

(post #110636, reply #3 of 10)

Very pronounced difference.  I am thinking of staining it to match some cherry furniture in the bedroom.  (LOL?)  Th desired finish would be like cherry and I would use a semi-gloss Deft brush on lacquer finish.

jazzdogg's picture

(post #110636, reply #4 of 10)

What ever you do, I strongly suggest you finish test pieces that contain both heartwood and sapwood before you tackle your completed project.


You can start by applying a two-part wood bleach to whiten the sapwood if it's really bothersome.


I'd probably start with a water-soluable aniline dye like the Transtint sold by Jeff Jewitt ( www.http://homesteadfinishing.com ), followed by a gel stain.


The dye will impart base color to both the heartwood and sapwood. Gel stains tend to sit on top of the wood, are easy to modulate, and conceal the underlying sapwood more than a penetrating oil stain will; if you start by bleaching the wood to a uniform light color, you may not need to use a gel stain.


Good luck,


 


-Jazzdogg-


"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Gil Bailie

-Jazzdogg-

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Gil Bailie

jrogerh's picture

(post #110636, reply #5 of 10)

Thanks for the advice.  I would certainly apply a trial stain to some scrapwood.  I never really thought that the greenish part of the poplar was sapwood but I might gve the dye/gelstain combo a try.

cadiddlehopper's picture

(post #110636, reply #7 of 10)

FYI: That green poplar will turn brown in a few months. Poplar in very photosynthetic. Under varnish, the white turns dark brownish yellow, the green turns a brown that seems lighter than the green it starts out as. Unfinished the white wood takes on a reddish brown color. I usually don't stain it. I use tung oil varnish to darken it. I over coat that with polyurethane varnish if it requires additional durability.

If you must stain it, apply it in light coats. Poplar can be very absorbent in places, giving a splotchy look even if you use a so-called conditioner. Since the green turns brown, it should be no problem under a cherry stain unless the cherry you are trying to match is very light.

Actually, I like the look of poplar with no stain after it has darkened photosyntheyically. It looks very "woody."

Cadiddlehopper

henboy's picture

(post #110636, reply #6 of 10)

I have had excellent results with Benjamin Moore "Benwood Penetrating Stain 234". I start with #71 Pickling White as the base. They can mix to 7+/- different shades by adding up tp 4 oz. of tint. Smoked Hickory is nice, but might not be what you want, but it is great with Poplar.


Top coat with satin poly.

pins's picture

(post #110636, reply #8 of 10)

I also would recommend analine dyes. Enclosed please fine a photo of a poplar table and benches that were built to a client's specs and dyed with a mixture of English Brown and Red Mahogany, I don't recall the % of each but it was pretty close to 50/50. You can see in the photo the various shades of the wood through the dyes and I don't find that objectionable, some may.

For your project I would suggest you start with Natural Antique Cherry
and English Brown Mahogany. I usually mix 1 tablespoon of dye in hot water in a large peanut butter jar. That's less than normal, but you can add more color after you run some samples. You can use the mahogany to cut the red in the cherry if needed.

The second photo is a cherry lowboy dyed with the antique cherry and it may be a little too red for the poplar, especially if your cherry furniture is commercial because commercial cherry is usually a little more brown.

I use Lockwood dyes and I think they, having been around for over 100 years, are the source of everybody's dyes in the woodworking arena.

http://www.wdlockwood.com/main.html

John

corbettng's picture

(post #110636, reply #9 of 10)

I love to use Poplar.


I learned that if you finish it to the point of sanding, then leave it in direct sunlight all day the green and purple will turn brown.  After the colors change condition it and stain it.  Poplar will come out looking very nice.


Here are a few pics of Kitchen cabinets that I made useing this tip.


 

pins's picture

(post #110636, reply #10 of 10)

Great looking cabinets! I agree with everything you said, and BTW, the purple happens when the roots grow through a coal seam.

John