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Thread: How do you process rough lumber?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie

    How do you process rough lumber?

    I have been meaning to ask this for a long time. What are your steps in preping rough dry lumber? Do you do the whole board or do you cut it down and then dimension it?

    I probably take a couple of extra steps but it works for me. But I am always looking for ways to improve my methods.

    Typically I:
    • rip and/or crosscut the board down to smaller pieces (a little larger than finished dimension)
    • Then face joint it
    • edge joint it to get a square surface.
    • plane it to thickness
    • rip to finished size -sometimes I leave it a 1/32 oversize and joint that off to get a good straight edge if it is going to mate with another part
    • cross cut to finished size

    I do this especially on boards that have some twist or a bad cup. It saves some lumber going out in shavings. And of course I only have the 6" jointer at the moment so that is another reason I don't often dimension the whole board.

    I have been thinking that once the 12" jointer gets here I may want to rethink my plan since I will be able to flatten a wide board now. I will probably still cut up twisted boards so I don't have as much scrap.

    Wondering if the jointer will every find it's way to it's new home.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Northville, MI
    Rough cut to length
    joint one face
    joint one edge
    plane second side
    cut to width on ts
    cut to final length

    I do all the boards at the same time. This way I don't have to worry what the thickness is and all the machine work is done once.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Wake Forest, NC
    Rough cut to length and width with the bandsaw
    joint one face (mark with chalk)
    joint one edge (mark with chalk)
    plane other side
    rip to width on tablesaw
    cut to final length

    Realize I have screwed up. I will then cut one of the extra boards I made in the process or start over from scratch when I realized I didn't have a spare of the right size.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Floydada, Tx
    What I do is:

    1) Check for warped or twist in the board to detrimine the best way to use it.
    2) Check the grain , to help keep tear out down.
    3) Figure out which face to joint, then mark on the end of the board which face I am going to plain with a arrow pointing to it.
    4) Select which edge to joint again mark with arrow( I use the arrows in case I have to stop before im finished, plus when using the thickness planer it will keep track of what face I am supposed to be working on.
    5) Face joint till level and smooth
    6) Joint on edge
    7) Plain to thickness desired( this be different if the board will be dived after milling. To allow for inner tension)
    8) Take board to the RAS and cut to width needed for that board.
    9) Empty DC and sweep the floor.
    10) Have cold beverage or two while relaxing for a few.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    it depends what i`m doing with a board ......... if it`s to be glued into a panel less than 20" i cut 2" long and parallel rough lumber on the slider and glue up the panel both faces rough...then plane, for panels 20"-36" same but skip-planed to 7/8 before glue-up then 36 grit on the sander to thickness....for sticking or moulding blanks i`ll straightline on the slider, rip 1/4" wide on the ripsaw then plane all four faces ......then profile...for face gluing plane both faces parallel then jointer......tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Sacramento, CA
    1. Cut to rough dimensions (rip, crosscut, what have you) - if the board is not safe to rip on the TS, i use my bandsaw.

    2. Face joint one surface in the best direction for the grain to minimize tearout.

    3. Run it through the planer the right direction as above. Now I have a rough edged board the proper thickness and is perfectly straight/parallel on those faces.

    4. Now that I have 4 options, pick the edge that will joint best based on grain direction. Having two flat surfaces eliminates being locked into going against the grain on the entire length of the board (no accounting for changing grain!)

    5. Rip to final width. Once jointed, i have 3 good surfaces, all square with one another. Safest condition on the TS.

    6. Possibly joint the ripped surface, but usually don't need to. On burn-prone species like cherry, I will rip about 1/32" wider than needed and joint off the scorching.

    Lots of folks do the joint, joint, plane, rip, joint method. It works much of the time, but I find myself getting trapped in going against the grain more often than I'd like. It does mean a trip back and forth between the jointer and planer, but having 4 choices gives me the most flexibility and I find it really doesn't take that much time. If you're in that much of a hurry, I'd consider a different hobby
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Placitas, NM in the foothills of the Sandia Mt
    1. Clean the rough board with a stiff brush (that grit will eat your jointer knives).
    2. With chalk, lay out each board, what piece comes from it, mark knots, thin parts, and other flaws.
    2. If I can't figure out the grain, scuff it with a block plane or rip off the wane with a Festool and guide rail. All jointing and planing will be with the grain.
    3. Rough cut for length, usually a couple of inches extra. Rough rip if needed.
    4. Lay out all stock to be milled in the orientation you will put it on the machine (e.g., face up/down, right grain direction).
    4. Face joint concave face.
    5. Edge joint one edge.
    6. Mark an "F" for finished that goes from the face to the edge, so its easy to see what's square.
    7. Plane all stock to appropriate thicknesses.
    8. Rip 1/32 proud, clean up on jointer.
    9. Crosscut one end for square, other end for length.
    10.Chalk mark item number from cutlist and sticker.

    By now, I'm thinking I'll bet Tod was done half an hour ago
    Don't believe everything you think!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Agree w all above...Good advice. But best advice for me was to cut into smallest managable pieces suitable for your -project. Esp w a 6" jointer which is usually a 46" bed. Otherwide much material is wasted in jointing process..

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Punta Gorda, Florida
    If your are not going to use the lumber in the next week or so are you better of leaving it rough or processing it? I have an eight inch jointer and really wish that I had more width now. Ten or twelve or more sure would sure be nice. Now I know why tod and Steve call them "stick jointers".
    Last edited by Allen Bookout; 03-05-2007 at 11:54 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Sacramento, CA
    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Bookout View Post
    If your are not going to use the lumber in the next week or so are you better of leaving it rough or processing it?
    That's a very good question, Allen.

    One could mill it to about 1/16" over your finish dimensions today and let it relax for that week or so, then re-mill it to final dimensions. This would yield you the best possible chance of having very stable stock in the end.

    That said, my shop time i so limited, i almost end up doing this very process without even trying. Yes, I have changed my design by 1/16" or so to make up for drunken boards that moved after i prepared them to the previous finish dimensions
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

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