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16 Best Poplar Woodworking Project Ideas

Want to build with poplar? Here are the benefits, some things to keep in mind and some fantastic poplar woodworking project ideas and tutorials!

Once you get into woodworking, one of the fun things to do is experiment with different types of wood.

Many people start their woodworking hobby by making pine woodworking projects, and once they get a few of those under their belts, start looking for a slightly nicer wood.

The most common next-step-up lumber that you will fine at a hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot is usually poplar.

I wanted to share the benefits of poplar wood, tips for working with poplar, and share a lot of ideas for poplar woodworking project tutorials.

best diy poplar woodworking projects

The Beauty and Benefits of Poplar Wood

Poplar is a popular hard wood for beginner to intermediate woodworkers to work with. It has a light color with unique graining and is technically a hardwood – making it more durable compared to soft woods like pine.

Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks to choosing poplar for your woodworking project:

Some of the benefits of poplar wood include:

  • Poplar has a straight grain, making it smooth and easy to work with.
  • Even though it is a hardwood, poplar is on the softer side. This makes it easy to cut, sand, and work with in general!
  • Poplar is relatively lightweight.
  • Because it is a hardwood, it is less likely to warp, twist, or bend, especially compared to softer woods like white wood or pine.
  • Poplar is readily available, easy to find and buy, and cheaper than other hardwoods.
  • Finally, poplar trees are relatively fast growing and replenish themselves quickly, making it a sustainable lumber choice.
Difference on price tag for lumber dimension sizes

Some of the disadvantages of poplar wood:

  • Poplar can have a variety of coloration including green or even purple grain. This can be beautiful if you incorporate that into the aesthetic – but if you need a few boards to match, it can be hard to find pieces that blend well aesthetically.
  • For a hardwood, poplar is pretty soft. It is not as durable as other hardwoods and is more likely to scratch or dent than walnut or oak, for example.
  • Poplar can tend to absorb stain in a splotchy way – with little dashes of texture all over it.

Is poplar good for making furniture?

Poplar is a beautiful and cost-effective lumber choice when making furniture. It has a great balance of cost and quality, making it popular especially with beginner to intermediate woodworkers.

Poplar might not be the best choice for something that will need extreme strength or will get a ton of wear and tear. For instance, we used poplar for our angled dining table and while it is beautiful and holds up well, it doesn’t do well with our kids stabbing their forks into the top.

However, it is great for many woodworking builds.

Is poplar wood very expensive?

Poplar is more expensive than pine or construction lumber, but is usually the cheapest option for a hard wood board. This makes it a great introduction to working with hardwoods for many new builders!

applying pre stain wood conditioner to poplar

Tips for Working with Poplar

  • Always have proper ventilation and protective gear due to the potential for sawdust irritation.
  • Poplar is soft and cuts easily, making it easier to get a smooth finish when sanding.
  • This soft wood can also split easily, so pre-drill holes to prevent splitting.
  • Use sharp blades for clean cuts and to reduce tear-out.
  • Stick to a clear coat finish to enhance the wood’s natural beauty while providing protection.
best diy poplar woodworking projects

Poplar Woodworking Project Ideas

Here are a ton of woodworking projects made using poplar!

Poplar woodworking projects

Poplar is one of the best woods to work with. It's readily accessible at hardware stores and is smooth and beautiful to take your projects to the next level!

What’s your favorite poplar woodworking project?

Before you go…

Once you decide what to make with poplar, you need to pick a wood finish! Check out all of our favorite wood stains to use on pine!

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