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Forum topic by n4pd3f posted 05-31-2015 04:06 PM 919 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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n4pd3f

7 posts in 654 days


05-31-2015 04:06 PM

Just starting my first real project, a crib and a dresser that so many of folks on here have built – and, have purchased all the lumber needed. However, even though there is plenty of information to find about preparing lumber, I’m still unclear on a few things. Maybe someone is very familiar with the 4/4 lumber that Rockler has and can set me in the right direction for how to get started.

What I purchased is 4/4 cherry – which I believe is finished on 3 sides and 13/16” thick random width boards.

My main question is that the board thickness from the plans I’m following calls for 3/4” stock. Do I turn each board into the stock 3/4” with a jointer/planer or do I finish the pieces to a final 3/4” thickness after I cut the pieces to size from the boards?

Second question is verifying that I did indeed get lumber finished on 3 sides, which means (to me) that I can skip creating flat and square boards and go straight to the tablesaw & miter saw for ripping and cutting the pieces I need per the plan.

Thanks for the help. Sorry if this is repeated somewhere else that I wasn’t able to find.


13 replies so far

View bonesbr549's profile

bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2529 days


#1 posted 05-31-2015 06:09 PM

First don’t assume anything. Just because you paid for f3s does not meant it’s flat. First big question is what type of wood and how wide and how long has it been in your shop.

Is it quarter sawn flat sawn or rift sawn? How wide are the boards? How long have you had them in your shop.

Starting with wood that is not flat or square will not end well!

Wood moves and it will move more or less depending on the type. Flat sawn cups the worst while Qs or rift is real stable (depending on skill of dryer)

My rule of thumb is in the shop a couple weeks stickered Rough mill (which you already have) let it set again. When milling take equal amounts off both sides to keep it balanced. Let it set another week and take it to final dimension

As to taking to 3/4 because the plans have it that way is not necessary. As long as it’s consistent I like to keep my pieces thick as all stock will permit (and looks good). Sometimes it won’t start moving until it gets cut.

I know this seems like a lot but as someone who in an early woodworking project did not have any patience learned the harway it will ruin a lot of effort and $$$$ not to take your time.

Flatten one side then plane then rip to width.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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n4pd3f

7 posts in 654 days


#2 posted 06-02-2015 06:45 PM

Bones, thanks for the reply – I understand most of your suggestions – I think.

So the general “how to start a project with s3s wood” is jointing on face and edge then planing the other face – matching all boards to the same thickness then moving to the table saw to rip and crosscut?

Should I have started with something larger than 4/4’s if I wanted to end up around 3/4” stock? Seems like all the milling will have me chasing thickness between all 15 boards for a while…

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1832 days


#3 posted 06-02-2015 07:16 PM

If you’re shooting for 3/4, 4/4 s3s should be fine. Normally, s3s 4/4 is less than 4/4, as it’s already been surfaced. I use rough cut 4/4 to yield 3/4 material. I agree with bones, the plan may say 3/4, but if you mill your pieces and they end up at 7/8, might as well use 7/8, as long as it looks good and doesn’t complicate the design.

When I first started woodworking, I used to buy S2S and just start crosscutting and ripping my pieces. A lot of times it worked no problems, but some times I ended up paying for skipping steps. Now that I buy all my lumber rough, there’s no way around properly milling it. I actually enjoy the milling process. The first milling operation surfaces the pieces to rough size, and the second one gets them to final thickness. If the lumber’s acting a little troublesome, I may do 3 milling sessions.

If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be this : mill all pieces of a given thickness at the same time, for the entire project. This will ensure that everything is consistent. You don’t want to find out that one of your shelves don’t fit in the dado because you milled it at a different time and it’s 1/64” different than all the others. Marking the grain direction ahead of time on all the pieces speeds things up during milling. If I’m doing faces and edges and making multiple passes, usually during my second milling stage, sometimes I’ll take a sharpie and put a mark on the endgrain of the board, closer to one face than the other. Then I know that the mark should contact the blade first (dot goes down on jointer, up on planer). Doing this ahead of time means I don’t have to think about grain direction as much while milling, unless I find out that I misread the grain.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Ghidrah's profile

Ghidrah

667 posts in 684 days


#4 posted 06-02-2015 07:49 PM

Never assume, get a couple good machinist squares and check all items. From there decide what to do, I agree with Bones, I prefer the thicker heavier look, even for a crib, the heavier the sturdier the less likely something will fail or get dragged over by accident, our babies are precious.

-- I meant to do that!

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jerryminer

528 posts in 904 days


#5 posted 06-02-2015 09:26 PM

I don’t know where you are, but here, the local Rockler buys their lumber from the same wholesaler that I buy from. The surfaced 4/4 is almost never flat enough for me. I usually buy rough and S4S myself—-but not always. It does add more time and effort to the project.

Sometimes you can get away with using the wood as it comes, especially if you are using fairly small pieces and slight variations don’t matter much. But if you are using machining processes (like cope-and stick) that rely on flat, consistent material, you really should go through the S4S process yourself.

3/4” is not a magic number, just a common one. Sometimes thicker is better. Sometimes 11/16” is fine. Sometimes the hardware you want to use works best with 3/4. Sometimes it doesn’t matter.

If you do decide to re-surface your material, I suggest you cut to rough, slightly-oversize pieces first, then surface. The defects (bow, twist, etc.) will be less in smaller pieces.

View bonesbr549's profile

bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2529 days


#6 posted 06-02-2015 11:56 PM



Bones, thanks for the reply – I understand most of your suggestions – I think.

So the general “how to start a project with s3s wood” is jointing on face and edge then planing the other face – matching all boards to the same thickness then moving to the table saw to rip and crosscut?

Should I have started with something larger than 4/4 s if I wanted to end up around 3/4” stock? Seems like all the milling will have me chasing thickness between all 15 boards for a while…

- n4pd3f

That’s a nominal size for 4/4 and fine Only problem is it that cups you don’t have much to go with to take it out.

If it turns out your stock winds up 11/16 .vs. 3/4 so what. Just make allowances. I’ve made many a door that is 7/8 when the plans called for 1 inch.

Use your plans as a guide not a bible.

I’ll share another tip. Make all rail n stile out of QS stock to avoid twist. Further rather than paying qs prices. Buy wide flat sawn boards. You will find (usually) QS stock at the edges of flat sawn wood.

Best strategy is to get to the point where you do all the milling.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2192 posts in 943 days


#7 posted 06-03-2015 12:20 PM

Yes, you joint a face and plane the other side to thickness, joint one edge square, then rip to uniform thickness.

My experience buying 4/4 S3S is you’ll never end up with 3/4 stock.
In fact, unless the wood is really really straight, you’ll be luck to end up with 5/8” stock.
If nothing else, just getting rid of the planer marks is going to lose 1/32” on both sides, even with a hand plane.

Like Bones said, don’t obsess over the 3/4 thickness.
The most important thing is all your stock is the same, whether it be 11/16 or 3/4.
This is critical for your joinery to work out.

Good luck.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1832 days


#8 posted 06-03-2015 12:32 PM

3/4 is a common thickness, mostly because that’s what’s commonly available I think. I much prefer 12/16 myself, or if I’m feeling adventurous, 24/32.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View codemonkeyww's profile

codemonkeyww

40 posts in 889 days


#9 posted 06-03-2015 12:44 PM

As someone starting out myself. I find theses tips very helpful!

-- "Cause I know that time has numbered my days" -Mumford

View hotbyte's profile

hotbyte

841 posts in 2438 days


#10 posted 06-03-2015 01:20 PM



3/4 is a common thickness, mostly because that s what s commonly available I think. I much prefer 12/16 myself, or if I m feeling adventurous, 24/32.

- BinghamtonEd

Ever tried 7.5/10? :) :) :)

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1832 days


#11 posted 06-03-2015 02:21 PM


Ever tried 7.5/10? :) :) :)

- hotbyte

I don’t have digital calipers, so I can’t execute to that level of precision.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2192 posts in 943 days


#12 posted 06-03-2015 10:07 PM



Yes, you joint a face and plane the other side to thickness, joint one edge square, then rip to uniform thickness.

My experience buying 4/4 S3S is you ll never end up with 3/4 stock.
In fact, unless the wood is really really straight, you ll be luck to end up with 5/8” stock.
If nothing else, just getting rid of the planer marks is going to lose 1/32” on both sides, even with a hand plane.

Like Bones said, don t obsess over the 3/4 thickness.
The most important thing is all your stock is the same, whether it be 11/16 or 3/4.
This is critical for your joinery to work out.

Good luck.

- Robert Engel

Rip to uniform width. Sorry.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View n4pd3f's profile

n4pd3f

7 posts in 654 days


#13 posted 06-04-2015 12:26 PM

Lots of good advice here, thank you to everyone that replied. I’m still re-reading the comments and deciding on exactly how to proceed, but I think I’ve learned that in the end it will be a mixture of what worked best for me after trying a few different techniques and also considering the wood I have available.

BinghamtonEd, unfortunately I have added to my project to do list after seeing your baby gates. A few months ago I was saying that 9 months is a long time…

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