Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Toolchest wood poplar or birch

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Lubbock, Tx
    Posts
    881

    Toolchest wood poplar or birch

    If youíve read the threads Iíve started lately Iíve been working on a Dutch tool chest. I gave up on the knotty, pringle shaped wood (if you can call it that) I got from the borg.

    Long ago, I started on one made of birch. I got it cheaply at the local lumberyard but itís pretty nice stuff. Part of the reason I stopped is that itís 15/16Ē and heavy. Before I stopped I cut the sides for a large one (including the angles) and a 140 rabbet and dovetails on one side.

    I have some 3/4Ē poplar I have left over (was meant for a second ADB book case). It should be enough. It would certainly be lighter but part of me wonders if the weight would be enough different to abandon the work on the birch version?

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    18,054
    Blog Entries
    1
    It would certainly be lighter but part of me wonders if the weight would be enough different to abandon the work on the birch version?
    How often will you have to pick it up to move it?

    Another option would be to repurpose the birch in to something else if weight is a problem.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Lubbock, Tx
    Posts
    881
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    How often will you have to pick it up to move it?

    Another option would be to repurpose the birch in to something else if weight is a problem.

    jtk
    Birch will definitely be used for something. Right now Iím in analysis paralysis.

  4. #4
    Not sure how far you are into it, but birch can be a nightmare to plane if the grain is wavy. It also can be quite unstable in usage. If the tool chest was going to be painted, I'd say go with poplar. Birch is definitely prettier; note that clear finishes are easier use as it is prone to blotching when stained. Poplar is much easier to work, especially with hand tools, and takes paint well. Oh, and it is lighter.

    Also bear in mind that poplar means a lot of different things. I tend to think of it as a wood like aspen, sometimes is is tulip poplar ("yellow poplar"), and sometimes it is that gad-awful green stuff that is supposedly true poplar.

    This probably isn't helping your analysis paralysis, so I'd say paint = poplar, clear finish = birch, if you want to stain it, find some oak.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    South West Ontario
    Posts
    524
    Tool chests, whatever their country of origin donít get moved much. They are simply too heavy. A wonderful set of drawers saves your back and holds more is a useful way, the security is less however.
    My motivation for a chest was to be impossible for one man to move easily and very lockable, so security was more important than saving my back bending over. This was for a remote shop from my residence. For home use I would not build a chest at all!
    The wood, open tool boxes however are very useful. The angled sides give great access to tools, no Ďscrunchingí like tool bags. Any light wood will do.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  6. Just depends on how often you'll be moving it. I made my small Dutch chest out of 3/4 pine, and I can pick it up full of tools. However, I probably won't ever need to pick it up often. Right now it sits near my bench and does its job keeping dust and rust off my tools, I'm happy with it and really don't mind working out of a tool chest.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Lubbock, Tx
    Posts
    881
    Decision made: poplar. Started planing the side board yesterday.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    73
    I must be one of the only woodworkers/craftsmen around that actually likes poplar for my projects - yes, even the green stuff. Maybe that's after a lifetime of "settling" for it after every other hardwood was out of my price range... It is a joy to work with hand tools; especially for a still-a-beginner like me.

    I do think it's pretty, in its own right, though....

    -jake
    Please Pick One of the Following:

    Built Correctly & Within Budget / Within Budget & Done Quickly / Done Quickly & Built Correctly

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    North Virginia
    Posts
    277
    My Dutch tool chest was constructed of pine because I could get the wide planks I needed for a good price from my local yard. However, I ended up bolting my chest down to a small work table (like one you would use for a tabletop drill press or bandsaw). It now sits at the same height as my main bench, which is convenient. I also put lockable casters on the bottom so I could wheel it around the shop. I guess I shouldn't have spent so much on the nice forged iron handles on the sides...

    20180813_171931.jpg
    20180813_175829.jpg
    Last edited by Ted Phillips; 10-11-2018 at 4:24 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dickinson, Texas
    Posts
    5,569
    I have a thickness planer I use when i need various thicknesses. It is a Dewalt 734. It is an excellent tool.

  11. Use the harder wood.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Rothermel View Post
    I must be one of the only woodworkers/craftsmen around that actually likes poplar for my projects - yes, even the green stuff. Maybe that's after a lifetime of "settling" for it after every other hardwood was out of my price range... It is a joy to work with hand tools; especially for a still-a-beginner like me.

    I do think it's pretty, in its own right, though....

    -jake
    Poplar is an outstanding wood for many applications, especially ones involving stability and economy, which is why it is used so much as a secondary wood and for painted furniture. It has good acoustic resonance and was/is used for musical instruments like harpsichords.

    It works nicely with hand tools, which is why it was popular in days of yore. It also takes paint well, better than a lot of other hardwoods. No disgrace in using it at all. The only reason I don't use it more is that aspen, soft maple, white pine, and basswood are even cheaper in my neck of the woods.

    And if you can make the green color work for you, go for it

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Rothermel View Post
    I must be one of the only woodworkers/craftsmen around that actually likes poplar for my projects - yes, even the green stuff. Maybe that's after a lifetime of "settling" for it after every other hardwood was out of my price range... It is a joy to work with hand tools; especially for a still-a-beginner like me.

    I do think it's pretty, in its own right, though....

    -jake
    With an natural oil finish it can do just fine, and Poplar takes paint well.

    I would vote for poplar as it is a little bit more stable than Birch, and more hand tool friendly.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    49
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Wilkins View Post
    Decision made: poplar. Started planing the side board yesterday.

    Good choice. I don't have much experience with Birch, but so far, I like working with it. Poplar, on the other hand, I have used for many projects, and prefer it for anything that doesn't have to have a beautiful finish. It works easily (for me) and the price is right!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •