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Thread: Maple vs Poplar

  1. #1
    Alex in Milton Guest

    Default Maple vs Poplar

    Are there any benefits of having painted cabinet doors made from maple opposed to poplar? I notice that at HD and other places that their solid colour doors are made from maple. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to make them from poplar if your only going to paint them anyway? What am I missing here?



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  3. #2
    Jamie in Brantford Guest

    Default Re: Maple vs Poplar

    Maple is harder. That's the only benefit I see in painted doors. Maple tears out more when machining, but poplar fuzzes up a bit. I'd go poplar for the ease of machining, and you can knock off the fuzz when you sand the first coat of finish.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Weyburn, Sask.

    Default Re: Maple vs Poplar

    Maple is much more stable than poplar. My experience with poplar is that it warps, bends etc. very easily. Maple will last a lifetime. Chances are poplar won't.

  5. #4
    Alex in Milton Guest

    Default Re: Maple vs Poplar

    So then I should probably be looking for a #1 or #2 common grade maple to work with if I plan to paint these doors, to keep the price lower?

    Playing devils advocate the density of maple is 755 kg/cu.m vs. 400 kg/cu.m that of poplar. Would it really make that much of a difference to use maple over poplar for painted kitchen cabinet doors?

    I trust the wisdom at this forum and am just trying to compile as much information on this subject as I can.

    Thanks in advance for everyone’s help


  6. #5
    Ron Evers Beeton ON Guest

    Default Re: Maple vs Poplar

    Alex, I am with Jamie use the "poplar". If you are looking at what is sold in HD as poplar it is not, it is the wood of the Tulip-tree, not even related to poplar and the wood has long been used in cabinetry.

    Best Regards, Ron.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Oakville, Ontario

    Default Re: Maple vs Poplar

    Hey Alex,

    You can also consider soft maple. Not as pricy as hard maple but is considerably harder than poplar and it machines well. I've seen it priced around the same as poplar.

    I got some 12/4 soft maple, #1 common at Oliver Lumber in Etobicoke for only $2.44 bf. I would think the thickness you'll need is cheaper.



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  9. #7
    philc Guest

    Default Re: Maple vs Poplar

    I am using poplar to make the face frames on all my entretainment unit's cabinets as well as the shaker style doors. I find it very easy on the blades, machines crisply. I have not painted yet, but from the looks of how closed the grain is it should paint very nicely.

    I have also come across some boards which I almost wish I'd set aside because of the brown marbling occurring in the grain. If I had stained instead, i bet it would have made a nice something (whatever that may be)

    Could pass as maple if its clear and no green, natural finish.

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