Poplar Casket with Pecan Dye Stain

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Project by Michael1 posted 08-17-2011 05:24 AM 6280 views 10 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A Lot of times the question is brought up about effectively staining poplar to not get a blotchy appearance. On this casket, made from Yellow Poplar I used water based aniline dye and top coated with nitro lacquer. I have found that the best results are by spraying the dye stain to best control an even coverage, and as the stain is water based and very “Runny” it is best to work from the bottom of the project up as any runs in the dye will not cause an uneven coverage. The water in the dye will raise the grain which can be minimized by grain raising prior to staining, but I still give a light hand sand with 400 grit after the stain has dried about 12 hrs. It is imperative to allow the dye to dry completely to prevent trapping any moisture in the wood when the top coat is applied. One other note. If you use water based top coats, then it is important to use alcohol based dye as the dye does not have the bonding agents and will react with the top coat if they are the same material. I have recently been experimenting with aniline dyes and their ease of use and versatility make me think I will never use Minwax again. If you have any questions about the dye stains or its use feel free to contact me.

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

18 comments so far

View ericandcandi's profile


152 posts in 3998 days

#1 posted 08-17-2011 06:36 AM

I too scared to contact you!!!!!!!!!!

-- ericandcandi in Louisiana- Home of the "LSU Tigers"

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 3140 days

#2 posted 08-17-2011 06:57 AM

I get that allot Eric, I do have to say I dont have the problem of being interupted by too many visitors coming by the shop LOL

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

View MoshupTrail's profile


304 posts in 2961 days

#3 posted 08-17-2011 08:28 AM

Are you using any sheet products (plywoods) in that construction, or is that 100% solid poplar (as it appears in your profile photo)?

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View BarneyTomB's profile


28 posts in 2998 days

#4 posted 08-17-2011 10:44 AM

Have you thought about lining one with metal and foam to make a cooler for Halloween?

-- Profanity; The last refuge of the limited intellect.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3347 days

#5 posted 08-17-2011 01:45 PM

It’s a nice looking casket. I’m hoping I want be needing one anytime soon. ;-|

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4302 days

#6 posted 08-17-2011 02:12 PM

Michael, this is a certainly a nice looking casket. And it looks like you did a good job with the poplar. Poplar can be a challenge to finish as you mentioned. I have always thought it would be nice to do one of these but then where would I store it since I don’t plan on needing it in the near term. :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3565 days

#7 posted 08-17-2011 03:12 PM

Scott, there was a casket company up north of here that sold the old style coffins and offered a shelf kit
so the coffin could be used as Liquor cabinet until it was needed and then you would have the proper
material for an Irish wake available. I am tempted to try that.
Michael1, I worked for Hermann & Co Furniture store and Funeral Home in Helena when I was going to
college, and we had a couple of nice older ladies that would stop by every now and then shopping for
caskets, they liked to plan out everything. The Furniture Store originally made caskets, but had stopped
that work a few years before I started there.
Very nice looking caskets, do you make your own fabric linings, or do you farm that out? Thank you for

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Ken90712's profile


17707 posts in 3669 days

#8 posted 08-17-2011 03:17 PM

Nice work, very well done! I hope I do not need one anythime soon LOL

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4153 days

#9 posted 08-17-2011 03:29 PM

Thats a beautiful casket, I am planning on building my on casket someday. :)

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4727 days

#10 posted 08-17-2011 04:11 PM

Very beautiful coffin. Fine workmanship.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Skylark53's profile


2708 posts in 3540 days

#11 posted 08-17-2011 04:30 PM

Very nice work. Thanks for the info regarding dyes and finish work on poplar.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 3140 days

#12 posted 08-17-2011 04:51 PM

Thanks for the comments, to answer Moshup Trail’s question about sheet goods, I did use 19mm plywood for the box, however by the clients request the bottom is solid lumber edge glued. (They seemed to think it would be stronger using solid wood for the bottom.) So I wanted to make the customer happy. Some caskets I build I do use all solid wood glued up panels like on ones made from Knotty Pine as it is a light weight and material costs are allot less than the cost of venner ply in Knotty Piine However to use all hardwood and edge glue it for the box I have found make the casket extremely heavy.

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 3140 days

#13 posted 08-17-2011 04:57 PM

I do the linings myself. I tried to get my wife to sew it for me but she hates to sew and gets frustrated and starts to cuss that would make a sailor blush so I read a few books and learned how to sew it myself. (Now for all those of you that might take that and run with it,,, That does not mean that I fight for the Pink Team!!!)

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

View Earl's profile


6 posts in 3097 days

#14 posted 08-17-2011 05:23 PM

That is very beautiful =) Nice job on the stitching too

View jim1953's profile


2737 posts in 4322 days

#15 posted 08-18-2011 05:20 AM

Great Lookin Job

-- Jim, Kentucky

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