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Some advice when finishing 2xwhatever "rustic" items

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Forum topic by AAANDRRREW posted 12-13-2016 04:03 PM 2268 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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AAANDRRREW

210 posts in 1006 days


12-13-2016 04:03 PM

Hello all,
As the title states, my wife really likes the rustic furniture and things built with 2 x whatevers. I’m ok with it, plus, its cheap to do, especially when you’re still learning and collecting tools such as myself.

Anyway, here is a project we are talking about:
http://rogueengineer.com/diy-corner-media-center-plans/

Seems easy enough, but I have some quesitons. I previously did a couple quick projects with 2×4’s and the such, but have had poor results… Mainly, IF (big IF) I can manage to find enough 2×4s that are good enough to build something other than a chicken coop or treehouse, I have trouble with the joints and finishing. The edges are rounded, so when you mate them up, they aren’t flush. I thought about running them through the TS to square up the edges, but that messes with my dimensions, and, not to mention, if this board isn’t nice and perfectly straight, will provide issues ripping it straight.

Also, in the photo the guys wood looks great – I’m guessing to get a look like that out of lumber I’ll need to at a minimum hand plane it and sand the heck out of it, correct?

Any bits of advice would be appreciated. Its always disappointing when you get all done and it doesn’t look quite like you hoped it would….


15 replies so far

View DirtyMike's profile

DirtyMike

637 posts in 735 days


#1 posted 12-13-2016 04:17 PM

Building furniture with construction grade materials is not a good idea for so many reasons.

View TechTeacher04's profile

TechTeacher04

360 posts in 1365 days


#2 posted 12-13-2016 05:13 PM

I agree with Dirty Mike, but I also understand economics.

You can use construction grade materials, but you need to make sure they are dry. this could mean buying materials well in advance of a project and allowing them to dry before using them. I have used 2x material for several projects with great success. If you are looking for 2×4 sized material you will need to rip (cut along the grain) the material from 2×6 stock to end up with 2×4 dimensional material that is square.

A Jointer, planer and table saw would be extremely helpful.

In my experience 2×8, 2×10 and 2×12 stock tends to be drier and cleaner (fewer knots) than 2×4 and 2×6 stock.

I prefer to use oil based stains and finished on Pine and Fur, they tend to raise the grain less than the water based alternatives. If you plan on staining, you must use a wood conditioner or you will end up with blotching and uneven staining.

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1003 posts in 1828 days


#3 posted 12-13-2016 05:38 PM

Menards also has some 5/4 high grade pine, though it is quite expensive. You could look in to using that for parts that show. Otherwise as suggested, cut the material down from wider boards to get flat square pieces.

Or, you could own the rustic look and leave the edges round and miss matched. If it looks good to you, that’s all that matters.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View AAANDRRREW's profile

AAANDRRREW

210 posts in 1006 days


#4 posted 12-13-2016 06:05 PM

Thanks for the advice guys. Trimming larger pieces down wouldn’t be a bad idea, but I do not have a large planer or a jointer. I guess I could plane one edge of a 2x to get it roughly square and flat, then run that side along my tablesaw fence.

Also, as for it being cheap – if the wife asked me to do it with something nicer (like solid oak and oak ply) I would, just the pressure is totally off me to produce and not make a mistake if we’re using stucture grade materials – which is what she actually prefers.

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

201 posts in 453 days


#5 posted 12-13-2016 07:26 PM

Embrace the rustic. Looking through the plans and pictures, it doesn’t look like the original went to any great pains to square up any of the edges. Pick through the stacks to get the “best” lumber they have and go for it. A little blotchiness in the finish just add to the charm. But if you really want an even finish, try a wash coat of de-waxed shellac first, then a gel stain for color followed by you favorite clear top coat. I’ve made many things out of construction grade lumber and they have all held up well over the years.

As my wife often points out, “not every project needs to be a lifetime achievement”.

-- Sawdust Maker

View TechTeacher04's profile

TechTeacher04

360 posts in 1365 days


#6 posted 12-14-2016 01:26 PM

If you do not have access to a jointer you could always straight line rip the parts. If you make a DIY track saw out of 1/4” ply and 3/4” ply you can make a straight reference edge then use your table saw to make the parts parallel. Provided that you have a circular saw.

View AAANDRRREW's profile

AAANDRRREW

210 posts in 1006 days


#7 posted 12-14-2016 01:28 PM

Yes, I do have a circular saw. I tend to not use it much, but that is a good idea. I find myself getting frustrated alot when I believe a edge to be straight (say, 1x pine boards) to find out it wasn’t and the rip cut I made was off.

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AAANDRRREW

210 posts in 1006 days


#8 posted 12-14-2016 01:48 PM

Could I not also do something like this?

http://www.woodworkersjournal.com/375/

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

2600 posts in 2830 days


#9 posted 12-14-2016 02:03 PM

Hello AAAndrrrew
On the plans they are using 2×12 for the top.
2×12 solid may cup or warp or crack over time,
What I would do it rip it in half, relieving some stress of solid piece of wood.
You can then join your pieces with dowel pins, biscuits .
My smaller table tops I use tongue and groove to join boards.
Another trick you may want to try !
When building furniture or items like this I never leave a 2×4 its bought dimension. (1 1/2” x 3 12”)
I cut it into 1 1/2” x 3”, It gives a better eye appeal than just leaving it as you bought it !
Another possibility is finding OLD aged lumber, it tends to move less than construction grade spruce !
I built this for client this summer. Not a corner unit like yours, but it uses anna white leg design similar to what yours has!
These are just “my thoughts”
https://s3.amazonaws.com/vs-lumberjocks.com/oi6hpn5.jpg!

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

201 posts in 453 days


#10 posted 12-14-2016 02:05 PM

The table saw method seems like it would work OK on shorter pieces. I’m not so certain about long ones with gentle curves. You may end up with a well jointed curve.

For checking straight, I often use a 4’ level and look for light between the level and the board.

While some may disagree, plywood factory edges are generally quite straight. 1x pine boards rarely are. A sheet of 1/4 hardboard can be used as a guide for your circular saw. It’s also handy to have around for templates, jigs, and drawer bottoms for shop furniture.

Reminds me…I should pick up a new sheet the next time I have the truck at the lumber yard.

-- Sawdust Maker

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AAANDRRREW

210 posts in 1006 days


#11 posted 12-14-2016 02:20 PM

Dan – I did a quick search for “DIY tracksaw” and i saw some jigs with routed miter slots and plexiglass cleats etc for their saw – but from what you described, it almost sound like I’d somehow clamp the hardboard to my work and use it for a guide for the circular saw? I’m having trouble picturing this, because I would still have to use one of the edges of my work to use as a reference, yes?

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

299 posts in 676 days


#12 posted 12-14-2016 02:57 PM

My Lowes had (for a while) some really nice, straight and true Douglas fir 2×4s and 2×6s. They were marked “kiln dried”. I would let them age a while anyhow.

One of my favorite ways to join this type of lumber is to first glue and screw the butt joints together. After the glue dries, I remove the screw and re-drill for 3/4” diameter dowels. I use my random orbiting sander to make a “flat” on the lower portion of the dowel to allow the glue to escape. I let it dry, then I trim and sand the dowel ends.

It can be very strong and, in my opinion looks lots better than screws.

I built a loft bed from 4×4 Douglas fir. No finish, just stain. It lasted for years with no problems.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

201 posts in 453 days


#13 posted 12-15-2016 03:09 PM



Dan – I did a quick search for “DIY tracksaw” and i saw some jigs with routed miter slots and plexiglass cleats etc for their saw – but from what you described, it almost sound like I d somehow clamp the hardboard to my work and use it for a guide for the circular saw? I m having trouble picturing this, because I would still have to use one of the edges of my work to use as a reference, yes?

- AAANDRRREW


The quick and dirty method is to clamp a long piece of hardboard to your work piece and use it as a guide for the base of your circular saw. The cut references off the hardboard. Use the factory edge of your hardboard as the guide edge for your saw. The shape of your work piece is not relevant, but it will end up with one straight edge when you’re done.

-- Sawdust Maker

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Cooler

299 posts in 676 days


#14 posted 12-15-2016 03:23 PM

Dan – I did a quick search for “DIY tracksaw” and i saw some jigs with routed miter slots and plexiglass cleats etc for their saw – but from what you described, it almost sound like I d somehow clamp the hardboard to my work and use it for a guide for the circular saw? I m having trouble picturing this, because I would still have to use one of the edges of my work to use as a reference, yes?

- AAANDRRREW

The quick and dirty method is to clamp a long piece of hardboard to your work piece and use it as a guide for the base of your circular saw. The cut references off the hardboard. Use the factory edge of your hardboard as the guide edge for your saw. The shape of your work piece is not relevant, but it will end up with one straight edge when you re done.

- Dan Hulbert

I’ve found that the melmine laminated particle board shelves (with a front edge already banded, are a little straighter and the melamine edging makes it suitable for a guide for a router.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

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Cooler

299 posts in 676 days


#15 posted 12-15-2016 03:24 PM

duplicate

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

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