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Mike Dempsey

Kiln drying poplar

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Got a job where I need to make several hundred boxes for a distillery which has a lot of laser engraving on them. Tried some doug fir for the engraving and some other pines but it looks pretty crap.

Thought of using poplar which is nice and light and there are a few logs lying around waiting to be milled. I cut some thin slices up on the bandsaw and dried them on the stove top and then stuck them in the laser.

To say I was impressed would be an understatement. Crystal clear and consistent throughout.

I have spent Easter Sunday and Monday milling up 4 logs and even managed to persuade my 19 year old son to help fill the kiln last night!

Now to the question. Has anyone kiln dried poplar before. The logs have been down about 4 years and are still soaking wet and heavy. Do I treat it just like softwood and run it a bit harder than I would normally do beech/syc etc. This is a bit of a rush job so time is of the essence here.

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Now to the question. Has anyone kiln dried poplar before. The logs have been down about 4 years and are still soaking wet and heavy. Do I treat it just like softwood and run it a bit harder than I would normally do beech/syc etc. This is a bit of a rush job so time is of the essence here.

 

Our firewood dryer was built to dry 2.125" poplar boards for kindling but probaly a bit too hot for saw boards.

 

George Snell of the poplar timber company did a range of poplar furniture so probably knows a bit about it if he is still alive.

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Thats what I thought, but wasnt sure. Hope it drys within 4 to 5 weeks. The first batch of 100 boxes I will be using sycamore and the remaining 400 will be the poplar.

Thanks for the reply BJ

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Thought I would put up some pics of the poplar I milled last weekend. I used to think it was a pretty boring timber with bland colours. How wrong can someone be!

59766cdf5715a_poplarc.jpg.c14a70705286b4b716938fa72ee5b0b6.jpg

59766cdf51d28_poplarb.jpg.3915f0a059d54a0e408f181695a8e724.jpg

59766cdf4f801_poplara.jpg.a46a253a57c82929a60efa7d64b25005.jpg

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Nice timber mike, sure wasn't expecting that either!!

Any news on the shield front, might of found a picture suitable though got a few leads to follow

as well.

 

Rgds simon

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Hybrid poplar by the looks of it. The only thing you'll struggle with is getting a fine finish once sanded - it's quite a coarse grain.

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It doesnt have to be sanded as its supposed to be a rustic box. They originally wanted pine but that doesnt engrave very well. There is a lot of engraving on the two sides of the box (its actually a frame as it stands upright and there is no front or back, how to confuse a designer when you ask for a box and then specify for a frame!) The front of the frame has engraving on the top and bottom edges. I use the bandsaw blades from Tuffsaws and it leaves a very good finish. I may just chuck the poplar through the drum sander when I see how it comes off the bandsaw if its a bit woolly.

At least with it being a bit lighter than beech or sycamore my back should be saved a bit of work.

I also found out the other day they want to make a film of it being made, and for that I am going to seriously tidy up the workshop and be careful where everything gets stacked as I dont want to kill the cameraman. This will be the second film I have been in for this distillery and I hope I dont have to pose and look like a pratt as I did in the last one. Might even have to go and get a haircut and trim the beard as well.

 

Hi Simon, I havent forgotten your request. I did spend a bit of time looking for the right images but didnt find one I liked. I havent forgotten about it and there another couple of avenues to explore. If you could send me any images you have I will take a look at them.

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I had a Poplar trunk chopping block on the yard for a couple of years and it turned to mush eventually. I split what was left of it and threw it on the wood pile and it dried into something like coarse grained Balsa wood with no weight in it at all.

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I opened up the kiln yesterday for the first time to check on how it was doing. Down to about 11% and looking good. I will give it another 5 days whilst I finish off the rest of the sycamore boxes. Losing another percent or 2 would be good. The trial run for engraving on the polar went really well and I am looking forward to using poplar for the first time.

I might even go out and plank the rest of the logs and dry them and stash away the timber for a rainy day!

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