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white aspen lumber

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by ship, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I’m making a combination cat’s litter box and hall tree as my current project. (My cat is getting old and at times in waiting at the bottom of the stairs for daddy to get home, doesn’t always make the trip. Amongst other reasons for a remote litter box location - poor thing.) Anyway, it’s going to be a hall tree with the seat of it that folds up so as to be a litter box when not having visitors, than some day once cleaned a boot storage area under the flip up seat/front panel.

    Oak was out of the budget and for the main back panel pine laminated lumber sheets looked like crap. I went with white aspen pine instead. First time I have worked with it but I like the tight grain in being much like fir but uniformity of it but hardness to it much like a poplar. Cuts, routers and chisels really well.

    My question is in not having worked with it before, how well does it take to stain/finish and over the long run how will it react to drying out? This realizing I have already diagonally and horizontally reinforced the panel for strength and warp, will it become brittle, dry out and crack etc? Will my scrap lumber in being used even next year be at all useful still? Does it readily absorb stain and given its more white color - does that go away to something more natural easily or do I need to do multiple layers - if it takes to them or dark stain?
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Your stock sounds extremely similar to poplar, and I suspect being hardwood, will not take stain well, (just like poplar). I would recommend a low-VOC (for "tree-hugging [user]Van[/user]) paint instead. Or, if you like the color and grain, a polyurethane finish (high-gloss on the inside, for sanitary purposes).

    Can't help you with moisture expansion/contraction issues, as we don't have that problem here. In fact, I cross-grain glue everything!
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Never seen White aspen lumber around here either.

    Just a note on stain I recently purchased some water base stain for a project. It worked great, not as many fumes, and easy clean up. My feeling is if you did a really dark stain project you might need to add an extra coat but mine was a light stain project and it worked great. I recommend checking it out. Especially if your wife is picky about fumes in the garage like mine is.
     
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    White aspen is a beautiful wood to work with! very similar to poplar. Properly maintained it should age too badly. I might suggest a stain of something cherry-ish and then a liberal coating of Tung oil or some variant there of. Danish stains with a high oil content will help preserve almost any pine wood. Polyurethanes and othe synthetics have a tendancy to pick up retain and often magnify odors, like many plastics do < you should smell the plastic lined starbucks travel mug i left a mocha in too long> so a natural oil may be just the way to go on a project like this. You might even look into obtaining some aromatic cedar planking to line the inside of the Hall Stand < as this piece of furniture is often reffered to> with it's usually availible at Home despot or Lowes and pretty cheap. Cool project.
     
  5. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Thanks all, I'm thinking a re-design of the finish is goint to be coming in me having learned some good stuf.

    Ah' the weekend when not having to work... As long as I'm not using Bondo too much otherwise the smells of being a guy or in general other stuff about the garage... she gets over.

    On the other hand, ceder wood liner. Cool concept but initially until I put both of our brats to sleep, wonder what a cat would think of a ceder lined litter box? Great for a boot storage box but could be curious how a cat would like such a thing. Fascinating concept in also hiding the lingering odor after that purpose has been fulfilled.

    Hmm tung oil, been a few years since last I tried it and that experience was not very good. On the other hand, been a few years, taking the advice, perhaps it might be time for another try of it. Water based stain no doubt would not work well with tung oil so next time I'll try a different stain.

    Cool thanks, more to try another time also.
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I'm not sure about cats but they sell beds for dogs that are filled with cedar chips. Supposedly the smell of the ceder helps keep the fleas away. Would also be a great way to disguise litter box odor. Might be worth buying a piece of cedar and seeing how the cat reacts to it.
     
  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Wish I thought of that, will have been cool to do a ceder lined wafer board lower section.

    Hmm, cats and cedar on the other hand (not that my cat follows any normal what repels him theories), got a feeling for a litter box on the other hand... good question.

    On the other hand, they are not repelled by silicone. Made two larger than normal litter boxes a few weeks ago which are on casters. Simply roll the boxes out from under the shelving and you get full access - was a really good project and the cats now have large litter boxes.

    Back to the staining, finished staining for the most part this weekend other than a touch up. Must remember next time a) I hate staining and finishing yet my fiencee doesn't mind doing so... let her. b) must not forget to mix the stain before starting the process.... ended up with on the first coat more or less a laquor that turned into paint the lower I got. c) gravity is bad especially when doing the end grain - it can seep in along the surface in an unnatural way when say the hinged seat removed from the chair is on end.... yea that's going to take a bit of work to fix.

    On the whole on the other hand, this white aspen pine is better than yellow pine. More like a poplar or oak in being very different in taking stain than normal pine. I am very glad I chose this material. By way of how the sain sinks in, pine normally sinks in for the most part ok but with the yellow grains doesn't as much and kind of sits on the surface a bit in those areas. Smaller more tight grain helps but still the basic thing I note is pine kind of in some areas of the grain doesn't absorb the stain as evenly as this aspen, as similar to most poplar or oak. Noting that some poplar also doesn't absorb stain as well dependant upon the grain and cut.

    So overall, it seems to take stain really well - given the user does a proper job of staining, much less removes all the wood filler around the area of what is filled - missed a spot or two that did not absorb as well.

    d) as opposed to hooking up the pneumatic sprayer and applying the Poly or tung oil - get er done... style, must remember that I should not do the finish when someone else is willing. Patience... lots of it for the build but not for the finish. Amazing I can teach it but when it comes to doing so... not so much. For finishes, I'm more the get it done type. Got a schedule to keep and new stuff on the list to construct. Onto the next project.
     
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Ship sounds like you need to post some pictures ! I hear ya about the finishing, oddly enough I'm the opposite, I love going off the deep end when it comes to finishing, sometimes I cut corners in the build, not so as you can tell, much, but in things that, later on I wish I had paid more attention to.
     

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