wether it is strong enough for the chair ,
i don't know .
hang for a bit , someone is sure to have that answer .
as far as staining it ,
you can do that ok ,
but the grain may not match ?
how is the work coming for you Charles ?
any luck ?
Yes you can Charles but poplar won't hold up long term out doors. The way you make it look like oak is use some of the other Charles blotch control Charles Neil and then use the dye or stain that looks like oak.
If you want to use it outside, no. If you want to use it inside, no. Poplar is strong, but not hard enough to take the slings and arrows of outrageous use. the time and money you spend trying to make it look oak will not save anything. Depending on where you love, oak can be had for about $1 - $2 a bd/ft over poplar. On a project that calls for only 30 bd/ft or so, that's not much to save on a project to last a lifetime and beyond. There's more to a type of wood than just color. Oak has strength, hardness, and a honest distinctive grain that fits the style of the Morris chair and imparts the sense of purpose and solidity intended by the designer and so evident in the craftsman style. Use the right wood and you'll be happier.
I gree with Jim & fussy. Using oak just make sure you keep a look out for weather damage starting. Put a good sealer on it, from time to time I have a outdoor bench that I redid, that a friend gave me it had oak runners on it through the iron supports. If you dont keep up on the sealer it gets pretty grey after a while..
The poplar we get here is pretty drab…very little grain constrast, and often has a yellowish/green tint to it. I personally wouldn't want to go to the trouble to build a project like a Morris chair using a poplar. Oak, QSWO, or cherry or the more traditional choices for that build.
I don't think I have ever seen a Morris chair in anything but oak. Surely, maple and many other hardwoods would be strong enough. Yet, I have never seen it in anything but oak and it is usually quarter sawn white oak.
One more wood you might want to consider Charles is Ash, especially if price is an issue. Not sure about the cost in your neck of the woods but, due to the ash borer beetle, the wood is fairly cheap in Michigan. The beetle thrives just under the bark and mills take it down to a level past where the beetle thrives so infestation of milled boards are not an issue. Ash has a similar grain pattern as Oak, is solid, and very workable. Just something to add to the think tank
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