Finally had some time to work on this thing.
Here's the poplar, ready to be planed, then jointed on my $25 CL jointer.
I cut the board down into 2 18" pieces and ran them through my Grizzly planer a few times. It's very snipe-happy, so i add these sacrificial strips. I'll plane it down to 1 5/8"
I mark the feed direction on top of the board. I do this because I will joint the two edges with the feed direction opposed, so in case my fence is off I'll still get a perfectly flat joint...
I check the back for level. Looks good!!
I'll let the glue dry overnight and remove the clamps. More to come!!