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Poplar is a wood species commonly used in a variety of woodworking projects. You can find poplar in many furniture projects, toys, and wood turnings because it is inexpensive, fairly easy to work, and takes nails, screws, and glue well. It works best with paint as a finish, but it can be successfully used to simulate finer woods, provided the proper steps are taken in the finishing process. Poplar is also used quite often for more industrial purposes, such as for the core layer in finer plywoods or for crates and pallets.
Poplar is relatively easy to work with, as it takes manipulation with a saw, lathe, or router well. One key is to make sure that your cutting tools are sharp, as poplar can tear if the cutting edges on a tool are less than optimal. Also, use a slow feed speed to avoid tearing. Drilling and boring should be done at slower RPM speeds than you would use for other hardwoods.
Because of its relatively soft nature, poplar will need to be sanded with progressively finer grits of sandpaper, as more coarse grits will leave sanding marks that need to be removed. Most woodworkers will find that starting with 80-grit, then progressing through 150-, 220-, 300-, and finally, 400-grit sandpapers will yield good results.