Poplar Wood

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Lamar Wright, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    A neighbor cut down a poplar tree last year due to a lighting strike. He sawed up the (rather large) tree into into 4" x 4" timber 8 feet long to use for a large shed he was building. My neighbor had some 4"x4" cutoffs in different length's and he offered them to me. My question is since I'm new to bowl turning, is poplar good wood to practice on since the wood does not have a lot of pretty wood grain? It looks like to me it would be a good wood to Stain. What are your thoughts? Thanks and happy turning.
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    It is good to practice with.

    It is soft. When j lived in Maryland we used a lot of tulip poplar in classes.

    It is too soft for utility bowls since it dents so easily.
     
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  3. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    Hey, thanks Al. What you stated is exactly what I though. Good wood to practice bowl making. Happy turning!
     
  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    American Tulipwood is also commonly called Tulip Poplar although it isn't a poplar. To add to the confusion there is a South American Tulipwood which is commonly called Brazilian Tulipwood which is actually a rosewood and not a member of the tulip tree family. I have occasionally bought the imported tulip wood for various projects like tool handles until the price got too rich for my blood. :rolleyes: Unlike the domestic tulipwood which is somewhat plain looking, the South American tulipwood is dense, heavy, and has spectacular color and figure. Tree names can be confusing.
     
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  5. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    Yes good to practice with. You can make some lidded boxes, gobblest and other things with that size. Have fun.
     
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  6. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    Great ideas William, thanks so much. Happy turning!
     
  7. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    Hi Bill, this is very interesting. So Tulipwood is a lot like American Poplar? I turned some today and I find it pleasant to turn. I turned some glue blocks and made some special jigs for different things. It is very easy to work with. Happy turning!
     
  8. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I should add that occasionaly spectacular grain can appear in tulip poplar.

    Most poplar is clear white sapwood with a relatively small greenish heartwood.

    I was given some "rainbow" poplar which was a tree that similar to walnut in color with purple and bluish streaks running throughout. I have also gotten some gorgeous poplar burl.
     
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  9. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    Be careful using lightning strike wood. Depending on the intensity of the hit, the tree can basically fall apart when it dries. But, often you don't see that cracking until it dries or gets to a small cross section. Then you will see separation in the growth rings. So if you see a discolored growth ring, beware!
     
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  10. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    Thanks Richard for your comment. I did not know that about lightning strikes. That is very good information to know and be aware of. Happy turning
     
  11. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    Nothing wrong with poplar. In the kiln dried form it is commonly used for furniture parts and millwork that will be painted. In the green form it is what a lot of turners with access to it, like David Ellsworth, use in their turning classes.
     
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  12. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    I turned some Poplar at Arrowmont, man, it took me a while to figure it out how to cut it clean... Super soft, worst than NIP...
     
  13. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I respectfully disagree. IMHO NIP worse than poplar.

    The tulip poplar doesn't gum everything up like NIP.

    Maybe Hawaiian NIP does not have sap like Florida grown NIP.
    I never had a neglected round of polar glue itself to the floor. :)
     
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  14. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    Let's just say that if I only had access to Poplar and NIP I wouldn't be a turner, lol NIP here takes a lot of work to make it look good and when you have a big load, it all spalts at the same time, have to turn non stop, then the soaking begins...
     
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  15. odie

    odie

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    1022-3 figured poplar.JPG ^^^^^ Poplar
    Tulipwood 501.jpg
    ^^^^^Tulipwood

    Unless it's a spectacular piece of poplar, I'll pass on turning more. Al is right.....too soft.
    The second photo is Tulipwood......don't know if it is poplar, but still soft. Nice color though.

    -----odie-----
     
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  16. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    The poplar I turned at Arrowmont looked like it came from the lumber aisle at home depot... Plain as plain can be, super soft... Served its purpose, I collaborated with one of the ladies and she dipped it in paint...
     
  17. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    Oh no! I bought 3 NIP 8" blanks at the Symposium. I'm sure it is the Florida variety. I also bought a couple of 2" X 12" and did turn one. Agree kind of tough. The one good thing about poplar is it will take stain very well. The NIP is still somewhat wet. I was going to let it dry, but should I turn it wet?
     
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  18. Mark Wollschlager

    Mark Wollschlager

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    Poplar is useful for a lot of stuff.
    Mostly practice and prototyping. Carving too.
    It does take paint well.
    It is also an irritant to some people.
    I took a furniture class that used poplar and had upper respiratory issues from the dust. We did not use good dust management.
    In a turning class we made 3 legged stools from poplar and I got hit again. A cough that lasted for months.
    Again, poor dust management.
    It potentially could have been any wood, but I avoid the stuff.
    And I practice good dust management.
     
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  19. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    The ring of knots is well worth a little clean up.
    folks down here turn a lot of it.
    IMHO It is not easy to double turn with the knots.
    It is just the messiest wood I have turned.

    also you need to CA the knots in place as you turn them.
    It has a hollow pith so it rarely cracks when drying.
    Al
     
  20. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    In Hawaii we follow our Demi God turner Ron Kent style of NIP turning. Starts by letting the NIP get spalted. Very easy to do here, just leave out in the yard. Check often... I usually cut the end to see the spalted lines. Problem is, if you bring lets say 3 truckloads of NIP, it all starts spalting at the same time. If you dont turn it all, its a fine line between spalting and punky rotten. Ron used to soak his in some kind of antifreeze solution, to make it easier to turn. SO, its super wet!! He used turn in shorts and slippers... Then the soaking begins... Takes up to 3 months to get the perfect color... I used Danish oil, in a 5 gallon bucket. Some turners use a giant cooking pot, looks like a 50 gallon drum, almost, but shorter. Some make they own recipe of oils and other ingredients... Yes, thats I why I prefer Koa , Milo, Kou and other local woods... Lol. Its also an art to orient the knots... They can make or break a piece. Too high doesn't look good. Too low either. Centered splits the piece in 2... Have to play around with them... Good luck!
     

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