Staining Poplar to Resemble Cherry
Always cracks me up when people ask you to do this. Usually thinking they are going to be saving money. Never realizing the labor going into this far outweighs the price of having it built in cherry in the first place. Since poplar's grain is similar to cherry already put a clear coat over the whole thing. Mix up a cherry toner, again, at whatever age you want for the wood to look. Pink-ish if new and orange-ish if aged. Spray on the toner to the desired opacity and then clear coat. Don't try to stain or dye the poplar, it'll just blotch.
From contributor M:
Before you go through a painstaking process of sealing, toning, shading, etc. try Sherwin Williams classic fruitwood wiping stain (Sherwood). I've matched some cherry very well with just the stain. It's the only one I've found that doesn't blotch and gives a nice color to poplar.
From the original questioner:
Thank you all again. I ended up using Contributor G’s method and it worked out well (customer thought I walked on water, I saw room for improvement in my work). I hope there isn't a next time but if there is I may go with a pale grey almost white toner first just to even things out and hopefully neutralize the green before applying the cinnamon toner.
We will always see a way to improve our work. If you are good, that is the nature of your beast. I'm glad it worked out for you.
From contributor R:
The best bet is to spec poplar without streaks (you can do this with a slight upcharge). Then you don't have to deal with brown, black or green streaks which need to either be bleached out or base color painted and then faux grained. I have done many of these jobs and always spray on a dye stain first to get the base color of the cherry. If you seal and tone where ever there is a scratch it will be white. If you apply a base stain first it will not be so obvious and much easier to touch up. Since the poplar is very prone to blotching or burning the trick is to not spray the stain on so wet that it puddles just a nice even application.
Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?
Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?