wood options

Welcome! Forums Project Series Tool Cabinet wood options

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #315915

    I need to build a tool cabinet. Paul’s look big enough and I’ll outfit the interior as I need to with a gallery I think. Anyhow. I’m thinking about wood choices. I’ll save my pennies and use my cherry or mahogany furniture for the house. Anyone build this thing from Pine or Poplar? I’m considering just using the Radiata Pine you can get at the home centers, or the 1×12 Poplar sold there. Southern Yellow pine is no fun to dovetail at all so it’s probably right out and home center white pine can be hit or miss. Unlike many I don’t hate the appearance of Poplar especially once you’ve let it sit in the sun for a bit.

    So anyhow, anyone build this thing in Poplar or Pine? If so what were your experiences?


    I’ve built two of Paul’s tool cabinets (so far), and on the first one, I used radiata for the rails and stiles, with what is sometimes called rainbow poplar (just tulip poplar with cool mineral streaks adding color) for the carcass. No problems from those woods, as you’d expect.

    I don’t know about wood prices in your area, but out here (San Diego) home center lumber is far more expensive than any lumberyard. Generally, it’s twice as expensive, per board foot, to buy lumber from the home centers, so if you haven’t already, make a quick check of lumberyard prices, because these cabinets aren’t tiny, so saving 50% on lumber costs is nothing to sneeze at.

    I don’t mind the appearance of poplar, either, but I did learn from a test panel that I think garnet shellac looks awful on the standard greenish poplar. YMMV.

    James Robnett

    Afraid I don’t have any assistance to offer on the look of pine but I plan to make one soon as well. I’m restoring a 100 year old adobe house and pulled about 150 board feed of true 1″ x 12″ to 1″ x 15″ Ponderosa Pine deck boards out of the ceiling that the dirt roof was originally on.

    That pine works very nicely, it’s pretty hard (difficult to mar the face with a fingernail). So far I’ve only made a simple bar top for my daughters kitchen but I’ll be making things for around the house and my shop (like the mentioned cabinet) out of it.

    Reclaimed lumber from real lumberyards is pretty expensive IMO but you can sometimes find it on craigslist from folks doing demo of old structures or barns. Then it’s basically a nominal fee plus you haul it. So maybe check local craigslist for wood. Old growth Ponderosa and Douglas Fir is nice stuff.


    I have to drive 200 miles to get to a lumber yard so in many cases it’s just convenient to buy the big box. When I am in Dallas, Fort Worth or OKC I do stop at the the yards and I’ve had great success buying from Steve Wall online as well.

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.