Machinist Toolbox #2: Milling some Lumber

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 12-08-2010 10:51 PM 4533 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Design - Feedback Welcome Part 2 of Machinist Toolbox series Part 3: Carcass parts ready for some groovin' »

I am not sure how much time I’ll have for this project, so I’m taking every moment I can and do baby steps to hopefully drive this thing through.

Last night I went and picked up what boards seem to be most fitting for this project that will yield the best materials for the parts. The toolbox is 10” deep, but I did not find anything that wide. the widest I have is 8” so I’ll have to make some glue ups for full width boards. I did get a good selection of mahogany for the exterior, and some poplar for the drawers (and walnut for the pulls):

Today during my lunch break I was able to roughly surface 1 face of each board (since these are 8” wide, I hand planed them as they would not fit on my jointer, plus since there are not many boards, it’s easier to plane it by hand) getting it ready to be planned flat and parallel with the planer, then flipped it and using the planer surfaced the 1st face again to finish it off. I then jointed 1 edge by hand to have S3S boards that I could resaw from each flat face to get 2 boards ~7/8” in thickness each having 1 flat surface, and a jointed edge that I could then easily thickness to it’s final dimension of 3/4”. At this point I’m going to let the boards acclimate a bit to their new size and release any tension they might have had before thicknessing them to final dimension to avoid having them cup on me later on when it’s too late.

So this is what it looks like now:

You can also see the parts print out from the SketchUp model that I keep on the workbench as a reference to sizing.

Next, some glue ups to get the boards to their full width of 10” (+some extra), and planing them down to final dimension before cutting them to size.

I also took the opportunity to swap blades on my planer as I got some nicks from hidden nails which gave the blades some hard beating (hardened nails). This is the first time I change blades on this planer, quite simple, although there are a lot of bolts to take off, and put back on. I ended up flipping the blades to their 2nd edge (double edged blades) and did not have to actually replace them as of yet. so far so good. I would leave the blades on if they were not nicked which leaves 2 stripes on the wood unplaned which can lead to trouble feeding the boards through. bottom line -the blades on the DW735 seem to hold well in general.

I also think I’m allergic to Mahogany which is not really good. it makes my skin itchy. until today I thought it was bug bites, but after todays experience planing those boards by hand and coming in direct contact with the lumber, I think the Mahogany was the source to my irritated skin all along.

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

12 comments so far

View Lenny's profile


1607 posts in 3583 days

#1 posted 12-08-2010 10:59 PM

The green flag has been waved and “He’s off!” Good luck on the trip Sharon.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

267 posts in 3244 days

#2 posted 12-08-2010 11:28 PM

Nice photos. I like the foreground interest, and the background looks like my shop :-)

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6860 posts in 4035 days

#3 posted 12-08-2010 11:32 PM

Hi Sharon;

Looking good.

Question… what kind of camera are you shooting this with? They are remarkably clear.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3776 days

#4 posted 12-08-2010 11:36 PM

Thanks for sharing! All the comments, the mindset prior to doing the work, the reasons for doing it certain ways – all help. This is going to be a cool project.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View PurpLev's profile


8539 posts in 3704 days

#5 posted 12-09-2010 12:34 AM

Thanks! I’ll try to blog this in small steps and address each part including the mindset and the reasoning. I have a feeling some folks might find it useful. I know I would have.

As for the photos – thanks. it’s taken with a Canon 10D, 28-135 Lens at f4.5 with an external flash. I find that lighting and composition makes/breaks a photo more so than the camera being used, and have proven it many times with different cameras. Mind you – any photo taken with a digital camera regardless of make or model will not be as crisp and sharp as a photo taken on film so unsharp-mask, or adding mild sharpness to a digital camera can really bring out details.

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

View ChuckV's profile


3131 posts in 3583 days

#6 posted 12-09-2010 02:11 AM


Thanks for posting this. I somehow missed Part 1 in your series. I am glad that I noticed this one. Now I am all caught up!

It looks like you are off to a great start.

- Chuck

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View tinnman65's profile


1358 posts in 3470 days

#7 posted 12-09-2010 03:10 AM

Looks like your off to a great start. I would guess long sleeves and a dust mask are going to be needed to survive this project, I hope it wont be to bad on you. I look forward to your next post.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 3029 days

#8 posted 12-09-2010 07:43 AM

Looking forward to see this progress…no pressure though, I know how hard it is to find time in the shop

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3558 days

#9 posted 12-09-2010 02:21 PM

I’m in for the trip, Sharon… Take your time, get it right, and don’t forget to have some fun!! :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View patron's profile


13611 posts in 3397 days

#10 posted 12-09-2010 02:32 PM

good point on the wood acclimating first

frustrating to come back later
to have things ‘move’
i’ve learned to glue up inlays
and let them sit for a while
then sand and finish

have a good journey !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View moonls's profile


412 posts in 3042 days

#11 posted 12-09-2010 11:58 PM

I admire the fact that you are skilled with the hand plane. I need to pick up some skill which includes sharpening the plane iiron as well as setting it up. What type plane do you prefer for flattening the surface? Your craftsmanship is a fine blend of power and hand tool work. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

View PurpLev's profile


8539 posts in 3704 days

#12 posted 12-10-2010 12:07 AM

Thanks folks.

Lorna – to flatten a surface I use the largest plane I have which is a #6 Stanley. If I had a #7 I’d use that one as it has a longer bed making it more true. If you have a plane, I highly recommend taking it completely apart and putting it back together, seeing all the parts in person really helped me get a better idea as to how it all works. sharpening the iron is a skill that is easier to accomplish than most people think, and is priceless in the long run. If you are ever in the neighborhood – stop by and I’ll give you a tour (around the planes) :)

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

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