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Dimentioned Lumber, How far to go?

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Blog entry by Karson posted 1739 days ago 1182 reads 0 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Damian posted a blog and was asking about dimensioning a board that was bowed.

When I read his title I thought he might be asking my question. It wasn’t so I’m going to ask it here.

When I buy wood at the sawmill I usually get 5/4 stock so that when it dries it’s still a little over 1” thick and can be planed to a great board. Sometimes the wood is 1 3/8 to 1 1/2” thick. Should all of this wood be planed to 13/16 or so. Or is it desirable to keep them thicker in areas where a thicker board is not a problem. Top, bottom, aprons, shelves. I wouldn’t put thick boards on one side and not put it on the other side. Or, one thick shelf and not all shelves.

I don’t like making extra shavings if it’s not usually required. I was looking at a stack yesterday of some maple, about 300 bd ft (Surface area) that is almost all dried and still 1 1/4” thick. They all look to be flat and would not require major surfacing to eliminate defects (bow, cup and twist).

So what kind of machining is required or suggested. (I don’t plan on resawing 3/8” off to salvage some of the wood). This pile is a combination of tiger, ambrosia, and burl all mixed up, and in some cases all three in the same board.

If it went to some boxes, it could be resawn perfectly to 1/2+ thickness. But 300 BD ft of box material is a lot.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †



31 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8473 posts in 2151 days


#1 posted 1739 days ago

I think the problem is that you just have waaaay too much lumber.

but theoretically speaking – you could try to group together similar thickness boards for each project ,as to minimize the amount of planing down you’ll need to do. otherwise, if you’re not fancying resawing to save the material – the only other way is to plane it all down as waste.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Karson's profile

Karson

34797 posts in 2903 days


#2 posted 1739 days ago

Sharon: I know I have too much lumber, but I still want to save it all and not keep it for mulch.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

777 posts in 2335 days


#3 posted 1739 days ago

My wife likes to scrollsaw, so once I get my new bandsaw I’ll be resawing some of those 7/8” boards I have to 1/2” for me and 1/4” for her. Even if I didn’t have a use for it, I can’t bring myself to plane-away over 1/4” of wood if avoidable.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Karson's profile

Karson

34797 posts in 2903 days


#4 posted 1739 days ago

That’s some of my feeling also Greg. I hate to keep running the board through a planer to get to an arbitrary number.

If I was into making chairs it would probably make a nice thick seat, or cut a curve for the back.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View depictureboy's profile

depictureboy

420 posts in 2145 days


#5 posted 1739 days ago

its easier for me if my wood is 3/4…

you could solve this quandry by just giving it all to me…heheheh

Seriously though, I think you just need to take it on a project by project basis…you dont NEED to plane it down now, let it sit…let the project determine the thickness you need.

-- If you can't build it, code it. If you can't code it, build it. But always ALWAYS take a picture.

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2094 posts in 2231 days


#6 posted 1739 days ago

were you asking in general or for a specific purpose? some things it’s worth removing the extra material if the strength isn’t needed because it will lighten your project. While a dining room table may never move and extra thickness could be welcome, maybe a side table should stay light enough to carry by oneselfs. I don’t know why I’m giving you advice though. you know way more about this than me.

View Karson's profile

Karson

34797 posts in 2903 days


#7 posted 1739 days ago

What I asking is really to try and determine if the design criteria of making everything 3/4 is what should be followed. I don’t want to require a moving van to come and visit, when my wife wants to rearrange the furniture, but I also know that once the board is used in a piece of furniture, does it make any difference to me if I used it at a 1” thickness or a 3/4” thickness with 1/4” of shavings (The board is still gone).

I guess if I was making Baroque furniture I’d glue two of them together.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8473 posts in 2151 days


#8 posted 1739 days ago

I think it boils down to what the design calls for. if the piece looks better with a 1” board as opposed to a 3/4” board – I’d go with a 1” board… and vice versa, while keeping the structural strength of the piece in mind.

if the design calls for a 3/4” board, and you have a 1 3/8” rough – it’s either resawing and keeping that extra for other purposes -what those are, I’m not really sure though – scroll work was suggested, maybe something else? OR plane it down as waste. I think that is the real question here right ? what could the extra be used for instead of waste?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Karson's profile

Karson

34797 posts in 2903 days


#9 posted 1739 days ago

Kind of my point. Should it be shavings or kept on the piece being made.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2325 days


#10 posted 1739 days ago

One additional thought I would add to this is that dimensioning to a particular thickness, i.e. 3/4, adds consistency to your woodworking, which comes in handy if jigs and router bit heights are to be taken into consideration. But, like you, I do not like converting hardwood into mulch, especially if it has some nice grain or coloring to it. But in order to be consistent from one project to another I will normally dimension to 13/16ths.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View lew's profile

lew

9831 posts in 2258 days


#11 posted 1739 days ago

I read someplace that older (read- antique) furniture was almost always thicker than 3/4”. I guess our ancestors didn’t like making shavings either- especially by hand. What they did do was devise ways to make the piece “look” lighter and more elegant. Tapered legs, chamfered edges and dadoed backs for raised panels all contributed to the look of thinness while still using thicker stock.

So I guess what I’m saying is maybe there isn’t really a true standard but rather it is what you want to make it.

Lew

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2524 days


#12 posted 1739 days ago

Karson, she don madder none. just make it pretty.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View hairy's profile

hairy

1894 posts in 2035 days


#13 posted 1739 days ago

I hope I’m understanding your question. If I had your problem, I would not dimension any lumber only to put it back in storage. I would dimension it as I needed it for a project.

-- brown shoes don't make it...

View dustyal's profile

dustyal

1191 posts in 1978 days


#14 posted 1739 days ago

Peter advised me not to machine my walnut, after much debate… question is/was similar to yours. Machine it to 3/4 for typical use and put it back into storage until I’m ready for it… or leave as is until project develops?? Then, do the project according to design plan… not to the size of lumber I happen to have available. Note that my question surrounds the fact that I don’t own a planer or jointer… or wide flat table sander… so I must go hunt a friend.

Having said that… Peter and I worked my first small box… stuck with simple design, and it is turning out real nice. For my next box, I may need some of that lumber your talking about after you resaw it to half-inch for me… uh, friend? !!

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12516 posts in 2486 days


#15 posted 1739 days ago

I only skip plane all of my lumber and always use the thickest board possible and the drum sand it.

I have read if the woodworker uses non standard thinkness’s , ie, 3/4 inch then it will stand out from the crowd.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

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