Green Poplar Trick

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michaelgarner

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Michael
Hey everyone,
I’m putting together an entrainment center for my father-in-law and he wanted something that was inexpensive but looked good. Well I knew that I could stain poplar to resemble cherry so I went with that. When the wood was delivered it had a lot of green hue in some of the boards. On test pieces the cherry stain looked terrible; they looked green with some red food coloring over it. Well before I let the last dust settle in the shop last night I decided to try some bleach on it. So I borrowed (snuck) SWMBO's bleach and pulled out a scrap piece. I run some on it and went to bed. Low and behold this morning the green was tuned into a light red/brown, which is perfect for cherry stain. I am doing it again on a larger piece and have taken a before pic. I am testing the time and will see what it looks like afterwards. Should I expect any repercussions when I finish the wood? I will post pics of the after. Be blessed.
Michael Garner
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
That is very interesting. I did a little research a while ago on bleaching wood and found that there are several ways to do it. One, the way you did, with chlorine bleach is often good for fungal stains and other things like sticker stain. Another, oxalic acid is good for general lightening wood. And then there is a two part bleaching systems that will remove most colors from the wood. I tried oxalic acid on the wood I was having a problem with and it had very little effect. I didn't have scrap to test any of the other products on so I didn't want to risk ruining my project piece, so I lived with it. Poplar is a tricky wood to stain. I would recommend using a seal coat of shellac like Zinnser's, cut it about half with alcohol to a 1# cut or less. And then use a gel stain which will stay on top of the wood more. Seal the stain with the shellac again and then top coat with whatever you choose. I don't think that the bleach will give you any problems with your finish providing you've rinsed it off well. That of course will raise the grain so it would be better to do that before your final sanding. I am very interested in seeing your before and after pictures, and the results of the finish on the treated piece...sound like a great learning opportunity.

Dave:)
 

michaelgarner

New User
Michael
Thanks dave, Hopefully I will be able to get a good finish on it. Thanks for the heads up on sealer too, needles to say I am guilty of spending more time on the actual construction than the finish of the product, I know,,,I know, they are equally important. Thanks agian.
Michael
 

Vanilla Gorilla

New User
Marco Principio
just out of curiosity as I am about to do some staining on some poplar stair treads, how long did you let the bleach stay on, and how did you remove it? just rinse it with a hose? also, once wetted, how long did it take to dry...etc. I really like this idea as I like the way that poplar works and finishes, but I HATE the diversity of colors in it.
 

michaelgarner

New User
Michael
there will be some color difference in the wood regardless. Unless you use artist paint and faux the lighter side. I leave the bleach on for about 4 to 5 hours untill it turns from green to brown/red. Then I whipe it off with a wet rag. You can still see the diff in color, but its not green underneath the stain. hope it helps.
michael
 
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