follow up- stages in dimensioning lumber

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Forum topic by nadavpev posted 03-18-2017 05:57 PM 729 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 617 days

03-18-2017 05:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: planing hand plane plane jointer

As a follow up to my previous question on purchasing a plane/planes for jointing rough lumber, I’d like to consult with you on the stages of the operation. The final products I want, at least for now, are usually not boards but stock that isn’t that wide, a great example of a project I’d like to do is matt cremona’s bassinet (concentrating on the frame parts more than the side boards):
I got some 10”*2” boards that I want to rip and dimension to square stock.
Three options come to mind- and if you have other ideas I’d love to hear it:
1. Flattening the whole board, cross-cutting to length, then ripping them on the bandsaw. this way I’ll have 2 reference faces on all the pieces at once which will cut down on the necessary planing work. the problem is I could suffer from the effect of released tensions that will bend the wood- As my experience is very limited I don’t know how common that is and if it should really effect my workflow.
2. Ripping and cutting to length on the bandsaw, then individually dimensioning each piece accurately from rough to ready. might be the safest bet but also a lot of work.
3. Ripping the boards but not cutting them to length until after I flatten and dimension them, meaning I could, for example, get two 15” but plane only one 30” piece (thats an example, of course I’ll consider blade curfs and end grain flattening…). this means less pieces to work on, less risk for any changes as I’m only cross-cutting after dimensioning, but one thing I’m worried about is working on quite long pieces (as I don’t have a truck I usually as to cut them to a max length of about 6.5 feet) which would also alter my purchasing path as it makes buying a jointer plane a lot more logical…

I know theres no one right way but I’d love to hear your thoughts about any general approach…
I’m sure some of my questions might sound silly to experienced people so please try to reimagine yourself as total beginners when you think “dear god, what an ignorant potz!” ;)


-- Alright, that's the last jig I'm gonna build. From now on I'll start making furniture!

4 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


12401 posts in 2556 days

#1 posted 03-18-2017 08:43 PM

When speaking of hardwoods we normally speak of thickness in quarters instead of inches so 2” = 8/4 (eight quarters), 1” = 4/4 (four quarters), 3/4” = 3/4 (three quarters), etc.

Here is how I was taught to mill stock, power tool version. “Rough” means slightly bigger than final dimensions.
1. rough cut to length (saves lumber)
2. flatten one face on a jointer
3. with flat face against fence, true adjacent edge
4. on tablesaw with flat face down, true edge against fence, rip to rough width
5. on planer, flat face down, plane to rough thickness.
(4 & 5 are interchangeable, doesn’t matter which you do first)
6. sticker and allow to rest overnight
7. repeat process and mill to final size, sticker until used
8. generally you want to make crosscuts first when possible, and then rip to width because crosscutting is prone to chipping and blowout

When working with construction grade materials, I recommend allowing them to air dry in your shop as long as you can wait before using, the longer the better. I usually let it set for months minimum.

-- Rick M,

View Woodknack's profile


12401 posts in 2556 days

#2 posted 03-19-2017 02:01 AM

I saw your other post. You can go the bandsaw and hand plane route but that’s the hard way. Regardless, the steps are the same, just substitute hand tools for power tools.

-- Rick M,

View ColonelTravis's profile


1918 posts in 2070 days

#3 posted 03-19-2017 05:34 AM

Rick’s got the process down. But I do it the hard way! I use a bandsaw to resaw stuff, otherwise I do all milling by hand. More often than not, I’ll cut all my pieces to rough dimensions and work them down individually. The lumber I get is rough, so if I have a 10 foot board and I need two 4 foot pieces from that, it’s easier to cut the two pieces oversized first and mill those instead of trying to do the whole 10 foot board before anything else. That way, you can reduce the time needed to get rid of twisting, cupping, etc. There’s simply not as much of that sort of thing (it’s less pronounced) after it’s been cut into two shorter boards than when it was a longer board. Or, sometimes you can cut a bad part off before you do anything else, no need to waste your time straightening out a problem if you’re not even going to use the whole board.

However, there are times when milling a board fully is best, like if you need several small pieces from it, it’s a PITA trying to hand plane a bunch of little pieces to final size. Just depends on what you’re working on.

View knockknock's profile


454 posts in 2349 days

#4 posted 03-20-2017 12:16 AM

Rick M’s sequence is the general sequence. But I will alter it if it will make my life easier..

If I had 2” x 10” s (assume they are 2” and 10” but usually not really) that I wanted to make several 2” x 2” x 15” from.

As 15” is a length that is easier for me to work than 30” or 45”, I would rough rip to 15”.

Then I would flatten one side, and mark it as a reference side (all the way across for the eventual individual strips).

Then I would joint one edge, and mark it as a reference edge.
Then I would rough rip off a 2” strip containing the reference edge.

Then I would joint one edge of the remaining board, and mark it as a reference edge.
Then I would rough rip off a 2” strip containing the reference edge.

Then repeat the above for however many strips (and maybe some extra) that I need.

I now have a bunch of strips with 2 reference sides.

I would then set up a long shooting board with a width fence for the width I want (usually the width of the narrowest board I ripped). And then proceed to shoot the remaining 2 edges of all the boards (putting a reference face against the fence).


Edit: Oops, forgot to cross cut the pieces to final length, and then shoot the end grain so all the boards are the same length.

-- 👀 --

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