Reply
Apprentice Contributor
jrgroe
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎07-01-2010
0

Maple vs Poplar?

I am getting ready to make a panel saw and the plans call for for the wooden parts to be either pine or fir.  I would like to make it with a wood that is a little harder and more stable.  I would prefer making with maple but for cost reasons am leaning now towards Poplar.  I'd like other peoples opnions on whether the extra cost for the maple would be worth it.  I'm planning on varnishing the entire project (except for the metal parts).

 

J.R.

Honored Advisor
mathisonr1
Posts: 4,051
Registered: ‎11-07-2009
0

Re: Maple vs Poplar?

Either or wood be fine. For a piece in the shop, I would go with the least expensive.

Rick Mathison
General Forums Host
"I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one."
Senior Contributor
monfre
Posts: 366
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Maple vs Poplar?

soft Maple can be had for not a lot more tha. What Poplar would cost, I'm with you.... If your going to build it to use in the shop and seems it wou.d see a lot of use I'd go the Soft Map,e route and beef it up a little bit. Why not since it's not something your gonna move around, pick up and load into your truck where the weight would then be a issue so I'd rather have the weight and rigidity as oppose to softer wood where screws, bolts ect would tend to strip lose after awhile.
Dan
Cedar Grove,Wi
Honored Advisor
JL North GA
Posts: 1,621
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Maple vs Poplar?

If it is just for stability, poplar would be fine.  I often make my drawer carcasses out of poplar.  It is an inexpensive reasonable wearing wood.

 

That being said - if it is going to take a lot of wear or is "structural", I would go for maple.  As an example, I've made a couple of shaving "horses" over the years.  I use hard maple for the sawtooth ratchets for the "anvil" which holds and supports the work piece.  In that case, poplar would be too soft - the chock would probably cause the teeth to break and wear too fast.

Honored Advisor
Howard Acheson
Posts: 1,085
Registered: ‎10-24-2009
0

Re: Maple vs Poplar?

It's a popular misconception that hard woods are more stable than soft woods.  In fact, the least stable woods are hardwoods if you define the "stability" as the magnitude of wood movement as it loses or takes on water.

 

For example, hard maple and white oad or much less stable than lodgepole pine or douglas fir.  Both the pine and the fir are considered stable woods.  The hardwood poplar is more stable than maple or white oak but is still less stable than pine or fir.

 

So based stricly on the above, using pine or fir would be the best choice from a stability point of view.

 

The problem with pine and fir is that in most cases if you are purchasing from a big box you are getting construction grade lumber.  Construction grade lumber is not dried to the same point as furniture grade lumber.  Most construction grade lumber is dried to between 20% and 12% EMC.  This means that the lumber is going to continue to dry quite a bit.  This magniture of drying will mean that the lumber will have some rather large changes in dimensions until it reaches a point of stability with the relative humidity in area where it is stored or used.  Once I gets to the equilibruim moisture content, it will expand/contract less than hardwood at its EMC.

 

The question you need to answer is whether you want to stack and sticker your construction lumber in a controlled environment until it reaches its EMC.  For a panel cutter, high stability may not be high priority.

 

Another option would be to try some real lumber companies and see if they have fully dried pine and/or fir.

Howie..............
Frequent Contributor
Andy London1
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎04-15-2011
0

Re: Maple vs Poplar?

Poplar would be excellent, years ago I built a pile of bedroom suites from poplar, kids and adults, was very impressed.

Honored Advisor
ynoT
Posts: 10,474
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Maple vs Poplar?

I like fir because it is durable.

 

It's used as brickmoldso it is exposed to elements yet it stay firm and it last a long time.

 

Tony

"Why worry about things you can't control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you."
Apprentice Contributor
jrgroe
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎07-01-2010
0

Re: Maple vs Poplar?

Thank You everyone for your input, I think I'll go with Poplar.  When I get the project finished I'll see if I can figure out how to post pics of on the forums.

 

     J.R.

 

© Copyright 2009, Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Service.