very basic question on board prep

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Forum topic by Kieth posted 03-31-2010 07:30 PM 1506 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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39 posts in 3165 days

03-31-2010 07:30 PM

Forgive me for I am a 42 year old newb who ran into some good fortune and was able to start a new midlife hobby. I have the tools and still learning how to use them (some of which I have yet to use, like the planer and jointer!). So far I have been successful at making pens and bottle stoppers on the lathe and thats about it with my woodworking experience.

I want to move into another direction and this is my very first attempt. I think my passion is to move to decorative box making. I believe I have everything I need and just about done make a couple cross cut sleds and ready to dig in. My problem is that I bought some 1/2” craftpack bloodwood boards online. They are not perfectly flat even though they have already been milled both sides. Ultimately, my question is how to get these boards flat and ready for the table saw. (ideally, I believe I do not want to go any thinner than 3/8”)

I suspect I already know the answer to my question… I bought a new makita planer and also have a 6” jointer. I have done a bit of research here but would like a more of a specific answer to my particular issue if I could. there isnt any cupping or twist, its just a bit bowed and doesnt lay flat which will ultimately mess up my alignment and joining I believe if I just cut it the way it is. I am still reading and learning and researching about squaring up pieces and all thats involved in 20+ years of woodworking experience of the like I dont have!

I could just throw them through the planer, but I really dont want to ruin exotic wood and just throw away money. That is primarily the reason for this post, probably more looking for supporting info rather than the answer I probably already possess.

any and all advice is greatly appreciated, thanks!

19 replies so far

View TheDane's profile (online now)


5448 posts in 3692 days

#1 posted 03-31-2010 07:51 PM

Forgive you for what? We all had to learn this stuff at one time our another! You are among friends here.

Joint first … then plane.

If you run a crooked board through a planer, all you will wind up with is a crooked board with parallel faces. If you joint one face first and get it flat, then run the board through the planer with the flat side down (away from the cutter head) you should get the result you are looking for.

On your jointer, take very thin cuts to get one side flat, then let the thickness planer get it down to the desired thickness.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3320 days

#2 posted 03-31-2010 08:03 PM

First, cut them close to final length to minimize the bow. This will minimize waste and maximize thickness. Set them so the ends touch the jointer bed and the middle is up. Try just jointing one end, until you hear the piece lose contact with the cutters, then turn it around and do the same to the other end. Keep turning & jointing so the flattened areas grow from the ends toward the middle. This will even out the inevitable taper you get when jointing. Make your final pass full length, then plane.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3757 days

#3 posted 03-31-2010 08:51 PM

I recently bought a jointer but haven’t gotten it up and running yet. Could you elaborate on why you say to turn the board around? Wouldn’t just feeding the whole board through accomplish the same thing. The jointer would cut, then lose contact, then cut more as you finish pushing the board through? I don’t understand this and I’d love to learn more.

View Joe's profile


185 posts in 3422 days

#4 posted 03-31-2010 09:10 PM

HokieMojo, If your out-feed table is long enough then you can. If not it the end of your board will ride down and off the end of your out-feed table.
You want your board to travel straight across your out-feed table even after it passes the end of your table. Also if your board is only touching on the ends when you joint it and you press down hard enough you will remove the bow when you push it through the jointer. When you let the pressure up the bow will return and your stock will be thinner and still have the bow.

I know it’s probably hard to visualize what I just said. There are tons of videos that will explain how to flatten and square up a board.

-- Senior Chief

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 3427 days

#5 posted 03-31-2010 09:32 PM

I have a whole story on this very subject at the link below with photos and video. You are far from the first to ask about this, hence the stand-alone story on preparing wood! It’s a process all of us have to learn at some point. Check out the link below and see if it has any info for you.

Squaring Stock

-- Tom Hintz,

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2795 posts in 3467 days

#6 posted 03-31-2010 09:39 PM

Like the guys said above. This will become a first part of any project you start. Jointing, cutting, planing. If you do it correctly the rest of the project will fit much better and give you little trouble.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3757 days

#7 posted 03-31-2010 09:41 PM

Thanks Joe! That actually makes perfect sense. I think I just needed to hear it a second time with different wording to get it through my head.

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3320 days

#8 posted 03-31-2010 09:46 PM

Well, as I said, a jointer will often cut a taper into a piece of wood after multiple passes. I don’t even know if anyone knows what causes it – but it happens to me. Anyhoo, cutting both ends like that will help cancel out the tendency to get a taper in the thickness from end to end.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Kieth's profile


39 posts in 3165 days

#9 posted 03-31-2010 09:56 PM

very good responses and exactly what I was looking for. i needed the confirmation that I was on the right path and push of confidence to get me going. I need to remember to go to youtube often, lots of good stuff there that I forget about. Time to pull out the last two tools I havent used yet and get to it.

Thank you again and when I actually get this done the first time, I will leave a comment on my experience. at this point the only thing I am curious about is that mystery taper JJ keeps talking about!

thanks, talk soon…

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3370 days

#10 posted 03-31-2010 09:57 PM

here is a blog i did about that ,
maybe it will help .

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

View Kugel's profile


23 posts in 3299 days

#11 posted 04-01-2010 01:59 AM

Safety Tip: Don’t run anything less than 1 foot in length through the planer! (i.e. only run boards 12’’ or longer through the planer)

-- J. KUGEL Kirkland, WA

View Ger21's profile


1075 posts in 3160 days

#12 posted 04-01-2010 03:27 AM

And the 12” rule is even more important on the jointer!

-- Gerry,

View Kieth's profile


39 posts in 3165 days

#13 posted 04-01-2010 03:35 AM

I have never used my jointer yet so why not a small piece if I have the paddles holding on?

View Kieth's profile


39 posts in 3165 days

#14 posted 04-01-2010 03:38 AM

Victims, aren’t we all…

View bill1352's profile


130 posts in 3150 days

#15 posted 04-01-2010 02:33 PM

i work with a lot of exotic woods. you’ll find that some really like to bow when cut thin. i just used bloodwood as a trim wood on a table. i cut 15/16 wood into 1/2 strips. every one bowed but they were getting sandwiched between walnut so i just added a couple clamps and used polyurethane glue.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

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