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How To #1: Video Blog: Squaring Lumber with Power Tools

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Blog entry by gizmodyne posted 05-01-2007 04:58 AM 5830 reads 4 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of How To series Part 2: Video Blog: Finishing Softwoods »

Why Square?
As a complete novice I was always mystified by the idea of turning rough lumber into square lumber. It was hard to visualize, though I had read many articles. I thought that I would give any of you new to this aspect a glimpse of the process.

The value: Start with square lumber = better chance of square project. Plus you don’t have to buy dimensional lumber from THE MAN.

The Video
We shot a little video/ stills of ourselves squaring stock for our kitchen cabinet drawers. I edited it down to a quck overview.

The Steps
1. Rough cut lumber to rough length. Tool choice: chopsaw, circular saw. Jigsaw
This equals for me finish length plus 1”. Waste a couple inches if it is a new board to check the end for defects like checking.

2. Surface the most stable face. Tool: Jointer
At the shop we follow the rule of surfacing 70 – 80% of the surface. You just don’t want rough uneven surface on the ends.

3. Surface opposite face to finish thickness. Tool: Planer
Once you establish parallel faces you can flip the stock and surface the original face if desired.

4. Joint one edge. Tool: Jointer
I always thickness plane my stock before jointing an edge so that I have a choice of either face to hold against the jointer’s fence. Then I can run the stock in one of four ways and avoid tearing out grain.

5. Rip to final width on the table saw. Tool: Hmmm.
Some people add an extra step and rip a bit oversized (1/32”) and then either joint this edge to remove saw marks or stand on edge and run through the planer_(The board, not the user). I prefer just ripping accurately, but will use the planer method too. . _Note: I use the pushstick for any rips less than 6”.

6. Crosscut one end sqaure. Tool: Crosscut sled on tablesaw or chop/mitre saw.
I try to select my jointed edge to hold against the fence though it should not really matter since both edges are parallel.

7. Crosscut to final length. Tool: Crosscut sled on tablesaw or chop/mitre saw.
Set up a stop block for repeated cuts.

Voila: Finished Stock or “blanks” as Norm calls them.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne



15 comments so far

View PanamaJack's profile

PanamaJack

4473 posts in 2830 days


#1 posted 05-01-2007 05:11 AM

John, That is a sweet looking Jointer you have to work with on this video. What is the brand? Is it 12” Nicely done on the video also!

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1765 posts in 2843 days


#2 posted 05-01-2007 05:13 AM

Thanks.

There are two . The big one: I think it is a 16 or 20” Oliver. I will check more closely next time. It is sweet. The little one: 6” Powermatic. Kristin likes to use the little one. The large one is too awkward for her to use.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12302 posts in 2850 days


#3 posted 05-01-2007 05:24 AM

Nice video. Well done.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2847 days


#4 posted 05-01-2007 06:25 AM

Good stuff as always, Giz. I like the addition of the written steps in the post as well. Thanks for adding it.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1765 posts in 2843 days


#5 posted 05-01-2007 07:26 AM

Thanks for the comments Wayne and Jeff. Squaring stock is a necessary evil.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3052 days


#6 posted 05-01-2007 02:09 PM

Good show!!

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1765 posts in 2843 days


#7 posted 05-01-2007 03:57 PM

Thanks Dick.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2990 days


#8 posted 05-01-2007 04:14 PM

Nice addition to the pod cast collection… One day soon, Martin will have a way to upload all the videos shot by Dick, Don and all the others who are smart enough to make one.
Great job

View coloradoclimber's profile

coloradoclimber

548 posts in 2821 days


#9 posted 05-01-2007 05:06 PM

Nice video, thanks for posting. I really like these video posts. Thanks for putting in the extra effort to put it together.

I have a couple questions about steps 2 and 3.

Why do you only joint 70-80% of the first face? Why not 100% flat?

In step 3 you say plane to finished thickness, but then you suggest flipping the board to surface the original face. I assume if the plan is to flip the board we’ll account for the planning of the original face by not actually planning the second face to finished thickness.

In step 3 you say, once you establish parallel sides [faces] you can flip the board and plane the original face. But, if the original face was not flat, you just established a second face that is parallel to a non flat original face. Since the planner only creates parallel faces it doesn’t seem to make sense to me to flip boards in a planner in an attempt to get the faces flat.

It seems like you have to start with one face pretty much as flat as you can get it on the jointer, and then plane the second face parallel to that original flat face.

What am I missing, or mis-interpreting?

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2892 days


#10 posted 05-01-2007 07:38 PM

Giz -

Great post as always! I like the use of video & YouTube. Great way to pass on visual content.

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View fred's profile

fred

256 posts in 2851 days


#11 posted 05-01-2007 10:26 PM

No smiley needed for this post. Just two thumbs up.

-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1765 posts in 2843 days


#12 posted 05-02-2007 12:22 AM

ColoradoClimber: Maybe a little of both from my explanation.

To clarify step 2: What is the goal of surfacing one face? To get it “flat” so that it can ride on the planer bed and surface the other. Once that other face is parallel to the flat face you can flip it and run either face for a variety of reasons:
1. save wear and tear on your jointer
2. establish a cleaner surface than jointer can provide.
3. save time and effort. I can run tons through the planer without getting tired and wasting time in my opinion. The machine is pushing instead of me.

Planers should offer consistent feed and cutting pressure. Jointers depend on a human operator to provide that pressure. In general when you are surfacing with the jointer you should put pressure on the outfeed table. However it is tempting to push down as the workpiece passes over the cutters. This isn’t a hot idea as the work may temporarily deform and then spring back. My point: The even pressure of the planer shouldn’t do this (deform work) if the face is flat.

Back to the % question. In order to establish a parallel face do you really need 100%? Not really. To exagerate, even if you had a hole in the center of the board it will run on the planer. So even if you have some low spots it will ride the planer surface nicely. You just don’t want a stripe of low spots or too much missing on the end.

Let’s say I have a low spot near the end 1/4 of a board. If the board did not start at uniform thickness, I might keep on surfacing with the jointer and turn that board into a giant wedge (Ask me how I know). On ther other hand if as soon as I get a flat riding surface with a few lowspots, I take it to the planer and start working on the other face I can save the board. So I only flip if I know that it is “flat”.

So I should say, once I have established flat/parallel faces, I flip it.

There are many reasons why someone might flip boards at the planer. Grain direction would cause me to flip it end for end. On the project I am working on now. There are some defects in color (due to exposure) that I can remove by planing. I like to have options.

Sorry to ramble. Hope this helps to clarify.

Feel free to let me know if something doesn’t sound right, needs clarification, or is just incorrect. I don’t have the experience of many of you.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1765 posts in 2843 days


#13 posted 05-02-2007 01:47 AM

Also, Thanks Colorado, Obi, Fred, and David for your comments and compliments.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View coloradoclimber's profile

coloradoclimber

548 posts in 2821 days


#14 posted 05-02-2007 06:16 PM

That makes sense. The uniform feed rate of the planer to clean up a surface sounds like a good idea.

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1765 posts in 2843 days


#15 posted 06-10-2007 04:01 PM

It is just a theory…

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

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