I ripped and rough cut up my old fir beams. We had to take this picture several times to get a shot where I wasn’t making the angry woodworker face. My poor little 10 amp Black and Decker circular saw was not cutting it. The blade kept coming loose (that’s bad). I eventually switched over to my Craftsman 11 amp and got the job done.
I start by surveying the board with my metal detector. Usually I spend a few hours pulling nails, but a I am getting impatient and there were so many nails in this beam that I just ripped off a few inches.
If you have never worked with rough lumber, the next step is to clean it off with a wire brush and then surface one face on the jointer.
Ever since I started working with hand tools, I have been making an effort to work slower with these power tools and to set the tools for light cuts. The difference is a pleasant zipping sound as you pass the wood over the jointer, rather than a tearing/ grinding sound. Note: Grinding sounds in woodshop = bad news. Note 2: Unless you are grinding something.
As soon as one face is 90% flat. I begin to remove stock from the opposite face at the planer.
I took shots of the wood entering and exiting the planer to show the difference after one pass. This stuff can be a little squirrely to plane as the thickness can vary (especially after Cool Hand Luke here resaws it). So good practice is to measure the thickest part of you board and set the planer at that setting first. Otherwise the planer is liable to come to a screaming halt as the circuit overloads when the thinner 7/8” stock transitions to 1” knot or so I have read.
The stock has a nice orange brown patina at this point, but it is very difficult to preserve when you are looking for a specific thickness. In this case I am surfacing all of the face frame stock to 3/4” and relying on the planers depth stop in case I have to make more pieces. In reality I made the stock in several sessions and it turned out fine.
Once the stock is through the planer with a clean face it is time to start alternating faces. The purpose of flipping the stock face for face is to even out the amount of material removed from each face to minimize cupping or warping. This old lumber is so dry I have never had a problem with it warping, but I don’t take that chance. I also keep it stacked up on stickers for a night before I work with it further.
During the process of making the stock I did re-saw a bunch of the stock.
I recently watched the DVD that came with my Bandsaw which included how to set up the guides properly and account for drift (the tendency of the bandsaw to saw off of the line). Setting it up properly and taking slow cuts helped to achieve a truer dimension.
The upper and lower guides are set a dollar bill’s width from the blade. and the entire guard assembly is set above the stock as close as possible without interfering with the fence. I also joint one edge square to a face so that the stock runs through with the blade parallel to the faces. Otherwise you cut out two wedges instead of rectangles. Notice my use of a push stick. Safety first.
Here is a shot of a freshly resawn board. The bandsaw is a significantly better way of resawing stock over the way my first contractor showed me. We used to just rip it with a chalk line and a circular saw. Scary, dusty, noisy. Then we run it wit the outside face down on the planer. It works though.
I still have a few pieces of leftover lumpy lumber from those days. You can see the ridges left from the saw. Hand tool people would be proud of me. I busted out the draw knife to remove these ridges before moving on to planing the stock.
-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne