When working with wood, you often have to do your own work in researching the product you’re working with. The glues, the stains, the best tools, and of course the wood you want to use.
Some wood is better for furniture, while other wood is better for toys and shelving. When faced with the dilemma of poplar vs pine, we’ve got your answers all right here.
What is Poplar Wood? - Is Poplar a Hardwood?
Yes, poplar is a hardwood that is dent-resistant and is usually a higher quality of wood. Poplar is smooth, easily paintable and more resistant to warping damage.
It usually comes in white and green, so it makes staining, not a good option.
Poplar is a beautiful and easy wood to work with.
What is Pine?
Pine is wood that is harvested much faster than other woods, causing the growth rings to be wider. This makes for warping in finished products.
Pine also has a high moisture content, along with sap that coats the blades of saws. It is also very hard to stain pine due to the wood absorbing the stain.
When working with pine, make sure the boards are secured and supported to help decrease warping in your finished products.
The Difference Between Poplar Wood & Pine
1. Staining and Painting
Staining pine is a lot of repeated work. You continuously have to reapply stain since the wood will absorb the stain differently in each part of the wood, making for an uneven finish.
This can also cause the wood to warp early in some instances.
Staining poplar wood isn’t worth it since the poplar usually contains two different colors in the wood boards.
White and green will each take stain differently, causing different shades of stain in the green areas versus the white areas.
How to stain poplar
If you want to stain poplar, first you should decide if you want your stain to be light or dark. If you want a lighter staining on your poplar wood, you can go the route of a stain conditioner and then use a stain of a medium to light coloring for a bright finish. For a deep, rich finish choose a gel stain.
When applying the stain, use a circular motion, then wipe off any excess. This will allow for maximum coverage with the stain as well as allow for even staining. After finishing the staining process, add a top coat to secure your finished look.
Painting differences in pine and poplar
Painting pine is another difficult task since pine will absorb a lot of the moisture from the paint. When painting pine, you must work carefully to ensure the color takes evenly.
Painting poplar is easy and quick since it is known as ‘the painters’ wood’ it lives up to its name by taking paint well and evenly into the grain.
2. Finished Products
Finished products are made of poplar and pine, but what’s best for your projects? Should you use poplar or pine?
When working with poplar, it’s best to use in projects such as poplar wood cabinets and poplar wood furniture. These projects work the best since the wood is hard and sturdy to do the job.
Poplar wood cabinets
It won’t warp as easily as a softwood, and it’ll be able to hold the heavy dishware and appliances that will be in the cabinets. This wood is great to use with your favorite band saw since the wood is not overly moisture with sap.
The wood is held together securely by screws and long nails that grip the wood tightly inside against the grain. These cabinets have a long life and are easily painted over if you want a new and fresh look.
Poplar wood furniture
Poplar wood furniture is best used for furniture that needs to take a beating with rough-housing or being rough with the furniture and for outside furniture as it stands up to weather much better than soft woods.
It would still be best to use a protectant and sealant to help prevent and protect against water damage, but the wood itself is better for outdoor use than pine or other soft woods.
The winner between choosing poplar or pine is poplar in this case. The poplar wood is better used for furniture, can handle heat and water better, and makes for easier use when wanting to stain or paint your finished project. When investing in poplar, you get a higher quality product to use and work with.
Pine is too saturated with sap that it makes it difficult to keep bandsaw blades maintained and to coat evenly with stain or paint without applying other products first. Pine is also prone to warping and cracking under too much weight.
Poplar is a great source of wood if you need sturdy and dense wood that can handle a rough household, weather, and painting. Poplar can turn any project into a finished masterpiece.