Author Topic: Poplar as wood for Benchrest stock  (Read 4197 times)

Offline bobfortier

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Poplar as wood for Benchrest stock
« on: May 19, 2013, 03:48:42 PM »
Hi all

A friend of mine who is a very knowledgeable br shooter tells me that poplar would be a very good wood for br stocks. Being in the millwork industry I kinda have a doubt about the softness of poplar.

Anyone heard this ?? What do you think ?

Offline DanO

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Re: Poplar as wood for Benchrest stock
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2013, 07:56:12 AM »
Hi Bob,
Poplar is classified a hardwood, albeit a soft one, I do not think that should cause it to be an issue.
I would be more concerned with the wood being dried completely, my experience shows this wood to twist and crack when drying.
Poplar can be a bit porous and hair up, which may add some work to getting a nice finish.
I do not recall any manufactures using it outside of some military grade stocks, so that my be a sign.
Good luck the project if you go forward with it.

Offline gyeomans

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Re: Poplar as wood for Benchrest stock
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2013, 11:19:32 AM »
Hi Bob,  I have been involved in logging & sawmilling all my life and over the years  have cut and used both types of poplar available here on the coast. 
Black Cottonwood is a soft, wet, fuzzy wood that when dried & planed is light cream coloured with greys streaks, quite light, breaks fairly easily and dimensionally stable.  When falling the tree, cottonwood has no holding or tear strength on the holding wood.  You can't steer them.  Farmers use cottonwood for floors on barns where it is easy on cows feet and low slivering.  Scott Paper used to have Cottonwood plantations in the Fraser River valley and used the chips for toilet and facial tissues.  Very absorbent and soft on the tush.

Aspen is a totally different wood.  Aspen has incredible tear strength and toughness.  Ranchers use aspen boards for corrals.  There was a story how some mustang ran at the fence to bust through.  When it hit the fence boards they bent and then sprung back throwing the mustang back into the corral.   They use Aspen chips for OSB lumber.  Aspen when dried and planed is light creamy/yellow with reddish streaks through it.  Fairly light and stable but tough.

My dad used both for 10" plank paneling in his woodworking shop  and of the two, aspen is the prettiest and most striking.  Cottonwood is kinda blah.

Now for a benchrest stock you wood(hah) want different properties than for building lumber.  There are resources on the net that detail properties of different woods and you might get some ideas of what other stock woods properties are and then compare to the poplars.

Good luck


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