Poplar stairs, pine floors

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YellowRose
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:34 am

Poplar stairs, pine floors

Post by YellowRose »

I had my pine floors in my od house refinished and they look incredible. Before they had some sort of dark shellac on them and now you can see the beauty of the wood.

But, anyway.... we had a new set of stairs built to the second story and the builder used poplar. I really need to start working on staining and/or uerthan (can not spell that). Any ideas on what I should use so they don't look that much diff. from the pine? We did not stain the pine floors..just sanded them and put 3 coats of poly on them.

Also, do I need to seal them first? I'm so lost....

DavidP
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2004 7:21 am
Location: Dutchess Co., NY

Post by DavidP »

Ouch. Your builder did not do you any favors. Poplar is a useful wood in many ways, but it often has a greenish cast to it and is generally preferred for projects that will be painted. If your stairs have the typical poplar look, I don't know how you could ever make that match natural pine, which is usually pretty light. If your pine is darker than average, and your poplar isn't too green, then you may be able to do it. You'll have to experiment; use some scraps left over from the building of your stairs, or else go to the lumber yard and buy a couple pieces of poplar. Poplar is technically a softwood, but is harder than pine. I've never tried staining it, so I can't say whether you would need a pre-stain conditioner (with pine you do, I'm guessing there would be less need with poplar--maybe somebody else here has tried it and can say for sure).

Good luck,

David

thouser
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:13 pm
Location: Coos Bay, Or.
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Post by thouser »

Unless it's changed Poplar is deciduous making it a hardwood. A medium soft hardwood but still a hardwood. So is Basswood go figure.
Thom Houser
Craftsman
http://www.thouser.com
"Let the work be simple and genuine, let it be a genuine
expression of the life which it is to environ"
Charles Keeler

DavidP
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2004 7:21 am
Location: Dutchess Co., NY

Post by DavidP »

I shouldn't answer posts when I'm in a hurry . . . poplar is indeed a hardwood, although softer than some. But my comments about the color are right, at least as far as the samples I've worked with. Maybe some whiter poplar is available. Yellow Rose, what do your stairs actually look like?

David

thouser
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Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:13 pm
Location: Coos Bay, Or.
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Post by thouser »

David your absolutely on the money with color range. I can't imagine someone using it for stain grade. I use about 1,000 board foot a month but only for painted molding and trim. Maybe a cost issue but Alder would have been close cost wise and able to color match Pine. Perhaps staining dark to contrast the light Pine would work. All IMHO
Thom Houser
Craftsman
http://www.thouser.com
"Let the work be simple and genuine, let it be a genuine
expression of the life which it is to environ"
Charles Keeler

NT Victorian
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 5:43 pm
Location: North Tonawanda, NY

Post by NT Victorian »

I have the original poplar woodwork in my 1890 house.
It is very nice looking wood.

The trick with poplar is using the proper stain.
When working with poplar I use aniline dye to stain the wood.

Just do a web search for "Aniline dye" and you can find the techniques on dye stains.

Good Luck!

Chris

YellowRose
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:34 am

The Poplar

Post by YellowRose »

Thankfully the poplar is pretty light and as far as I can see not green in any spaces.

Another guy that makes furniture mentioned using a dye.

Ug... I've got some work ahead of me. Not only did the guy not do me any favors using poplar..but the drywaller dropped huge blobs of drywall paste all over them. So..I have a lot of cleaning and some sanding to do.

Do you use an electric sander or hand sand?

Jeanne
Posts: 613
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:09 pm
Location: Erie, PA

Post by Jeanne »

Ask the stair builder if he used stain-grade or paint-grade poplar. You might have lucked out and he used stain-grade.

I stripped my fireplace mantel and found out it was poplar. Then I used a wood conditioner and a mix of dark Minwax stains as an attempt to avoid painting it. I ended up having to paint it, and it looks great.

If you do try to stain your stairs, I suggest you avoid Minwax stains. Go with a better quality gel stain, such as Bartley, or an aniline dye.

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