Don't know if its a photographic artifact, but it seems like there is a lot of green sapwood on the outside. If it is green (still wet), I'd be hesitant to put any finish on it until its is drier. I wonder if the water is trapped under a finish that at some point in the future, ig the stick heats up, the expanding water might cause the wood to crack.
I've used tulip for frame making, and finished it with nothing but paste wax. I haven't used any for walking sticks, but I'd be inclined to go with several coats of oil, Danish, Tung, Teaks, etc.
I agree the stick still looks pretty green. If it is wood that you did not harvest (F.O.G.) and therefore a question of how long it has seasoned I use the following as a guide. Dig a thumbnail into it, does it leave a dent? If so definitely not dry enough.
As far as finish tulip poplar has a somewhat bland color IMHO. I have made two sticks from Tulip poplar and both I stained to add some color then finished with spar polyurethane.
thanx everyone for your excellent input. There's one quite significant issue I've not mentioned - I'm color blind, so I do not see the green in this stick. It all looks like brown - grain like - to me.
PLEASE take a look at the after-sanding stick - am prepared to continue sanding and apply the finish coats OR put it away until spring.
I'm leaning toward doing the FINAL sanding soon - perhaps this evening. Then prob apply multiple coats polyurethane.
For a while I was spraying on the polyurethane but that's a mess because of over-spray . . . I'm now applying via dipping (if I can) and then/or applying three coats (minimum) by brush, which allows me to work it down into the cracks/crevices, and I like the finished high gloss look.
Cut the poly 50/50 with mineral spirits and wipe on with a rag or I like to use a sponge brush for the 1st and 2nd coats. Allow first coat to get at least tacky (low humidity about an hour) before the second coat.
Allow to dry overnight then apply the poly full strength with a brush. One or two coats.
The 50/50 cut will get into all the nooks and crannies.
I have dipped some pieces and sprayed some pieces. In my experience this method of applying polyurethane makes for a great finish with minimum waste (dipping) or mess (spray).
Tulip wood is a difficult wood to work, the alice throught the looking glass project i have done i have used a mixture of clear water based varnish mixed with ink to prevent the colour from bleeding.and did get a very good finish on them,
I have found its better to use power tools when carving it . but the wood lends itself well to anytype of finish
Its the 1st time i used this wood and wouldnt be my 1st choice for carving but i am tempted to cut the 4" block down to get 4walking sticks out of it, i think they would turn well on the lathe and give them a ebony finish with a siver handle to try and get a gentlemans dress cane out of it
Since the tulip poplar is rather bland, I decided over the weekend to make and attach an Osage Orange handle, approx 3" high. I save short pieces for times such as this and am glad. I needed to remove the bark and do some major sanding - all chair work - then after securing it to the shank yesterday, I was fortunate enough to get the joint quite close using the wood chisel and mallet taking very small cuts. I was quite pleased with the result.
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