Barrister Book Case Tutorial #12: Preparing Stock for Doors

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Blog entry by Scarcraig01 posted 09-13-2009 06:22 PM 2077 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: Cope and Stick Doors- building a practice door out of MDF Part 12 of Barrister Book Case Tutorial series Part 13: Building the Doors »

I special ordered some 4/4 rough quarter sawn maple from my hardwood dealer for the doors and I picked it up Friday afternoon. I gave it a quick look at the dealers and it didn’t look so great but I thought it would hopefully be okay once I got to milling it. Well, no such luck, I’m pretty unhappy with it. It clearly is not FAS Select clear furniture grade lumber! This is a huge on going problem that I’ve been having! I’ve been all over the state trying to find a dealer that can get some decent lumber but have yet to find one!

The closest and most convenient to my shop stocks nothing but flat sawn 13/16 thick stock that’s been run through a thickness planer, but not run through a joiner first so the boards are not truly flat in most cases. Sometimes, with that extra 1/16 of an inch I can flatten them a little when they need it. I often will even go slightly less than 3/4 thick just so that I can at least have flat stock, but still its not quarter-sawn, so good luck if your trying to make door stiles!

I think what must be going on here is all the good lumber is going to the professional shops that are buying 1000 board feet at a time and us amateurs a left with the junk that they reject.

I had to work Saturday so I didn’t get a whole lot done this weekend, I got a couple hours of shop time Sunday morning and all I got done was the milling of the stock for the doors. My original plan was to mill it in 4” wide pieces so that I could do the cope and sticks like I showed in my last post. Well that was simply not an option, this stock is crap, its got bows, cups, twists, and knots. So I thought to settle it down a bit I’d rip the rough stock down to 2” wide strips short strips to tame them down a little before I tried to flatten them on the joiner.

This helped quite a bit, but there was a lot of waste! I started with 11 board feet and just made it to my needed amount of around 5 clean board feet! The stuff was twisting and binding the blade while it was being cut, the whole ugly deal.

I’m sure most readers are pretty familiar with the milling process, and so far in this blog I’ve not covered it, but seeing how this weekend it’s all I got done I thought I’d share the way I go about it.

I started by cutting the rough lumber into 2” strips that were about 4” longer than the final length needed. I tried to find clean sections of the boards, but this did not go well there was a lot of waste.

The first thing to do is flatten one face of each board on the joiner. This pic just shows all the rough boards with one flat face:

After getting one flat face, (which was by no means easy with these boards) the next step is to run them through the thickness planer to square up the other face.

With both faces flat, the next step is to run one edge through the joiner. This results in a nice square flat edge to run against the fence of the table saw to arrive at your final width.

Next, I cut the pieces to length using the miter saw and a stop to ensure that all the pieces are exactly the same length.

At the end of it all, the pieces turned out pretty good considering what I started with. Only one piece acted up a little and bowed just a tad. (I think it will be okay though.) Pretty sad though when you consider the wasted wood it took to get here!

It may seem like I’m a bit obsessed with these boards being flat as possible, but my experience has been that if you spend time here making them flat and square, the cope and stick goes a lot smoother, and the joints will be tighter and the faces even. Also, few things ruin a project more than a warped door.

Thanks for reading!

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

5 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117095 posts in 3578 days

#1 posted 09-13-2009 07:27 PM

Keep on Keeping on.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3526 days

#2 posted 09-13-2009 11:56 PM

Maple can be a bear sometimes. I feel your pain. With certain boards it just doesn’t matter what you do with it, it’s going to bow or warp or cup on you.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View CreekWoodworker's profile


409 posts in 3299 days

#3 posted 09-14-2009 12:51 AM

I recently found Muterspaw Lumber, just south of Xenia. I purchased 10 bf rough 4/4 PA Cherry, wasn’t pretty on the outside but once I milled it it turned out beautiful. He told me it was hit skip planed (basically once through the planer.) I went back and purchased 4/4 Red Oak, straight ripped and had him plane it to 3/4 thickness. The quality beats any thing I ever seen at the big box places. He seems to cater to the small shop and hobbyist. He was very helpful with me and explained how to order wood. He carries 4/4, 5/4, 8/4 all types of species. Here is a link to his web site

You can walk in a purchase one board if you want. BTW, if you do go, it’s easy to miss. The business is located in a barn behind his farm house. There is a small sign in front of his house.

-- Mike ...Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction

View Scarcraig01's profile


72 posts in 3195 days

#4 posted 09-14-2009 07:20 AM

Hey Creek, thanks for your comment!

I’ve been there once and I agree its pretty good, friendly people, good selection, and pretty reasonable prices.

He doesn’t stock any quartersawn stock though, its all plain. I suppose a lot of woodworkers get by with using strictly plain sawn lumber, but for this particular project I find it problematic. The issue, I think is all the 5/8×3/4, and the 1” x 3/4 thin strips this project calls for. Also the 1 1/4 wide by 3/4 thick rails & stiles. I just seem to have better luck keeping these pieces straight with the quartersawn stock.

I mostly go to the Hardwood Store in Enon, its only 10 min. from my work, and their hours work well for me. The problem as I’ve mentioned is the 13/16 hit skip planed, but their stuff is generally very clear, and one advantage of the 13/16 is that you know what you’re getting before you buy. On this project it worked pretty well because I just bought the straightest grain plain sawn I could find, and because I was using the ply I was able to go under 3/4, so that gave me more wiggle room to flatten the 13/16 to match the ply thickness.

So its a trade off for me I guess between Muterspaw and The Hardwood Store. The Hardwood store usually wins just for convenience of location and clearness of the stock, but it remains far from ideal! The Hardwood Store will special order 4/4 Q Sawn for me and its usually really nice, this is the first time I got burned. :-( They are also a Rockler dealer so they’re convenient if I need to pick up a can of finish, or a router bit, blade, clamps, or whatever.

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

View Ampeater's profile


440 posts in 3748 days

#5 posted 09-14-2009 03:49 PM

Craig – If you want some very good QS lumber, you need to go to Frank Miller Lumber’s Outlet store in Union City, Indiana. It is just over the Ohio/Indiana border. Check out their site.
They also have good prices.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

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