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Milling Lumber Without a Jointer

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Forum topic by Freemotion posted 08-16-2018 08:45 PM 844 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Freemotion

4 posts in 93 days


08-16-2018 08:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: milling rough lumber

Hi All,

My home shop is small and I don’t have a jointer.

I do have a planer.

What would be the best way to mill it? No sides are surfaced, entirely rough.

Should I use a track saw or a table side first? What are the steps?

There’s a lot of youtube videos out there and everyone seems to have their own
take on what to do and in what steps.

Many thanks.

Martin


16 replies so far

View brtech's profile

brtech

1049 posts in 3097 days


#1 posted 08-16-2018 09:04 PM

it depends on how flat the board is. If it’s pretty flat, just run it through the planer until you have the entire surface clean, flip and plane to thickness. If the edge is straight enough cut off enough of the end farthest from the fence on your table saw to make a completely flat edge, then cut the other side.

If it’s not flat enough, you use a jointer sled. Google that. That will get one side flat. You can use the same idea to cut one edge if the opposite edge is not straight enough.

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BigMig

469 posts in 2787 days


#2 posted 08-16-2018 09:07 PM

Martin, there’s a great article in Fine Woodworking about using your thickness planer for flattening boards. It’s several years old now (https://www.finewoodworking.com/2016/07/27/turn-your-planer-into-a-jointer) You make a sled from plywood, use small wedges, etc. It may sound complicated, but it’s really not. I use this method, then run the flattened and parallel faced boards through my table saw and that edge is then 90 degrees to the faces, and i sue that joint to glue up.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

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OSU55

1925 posts in 2163 days


#3 posted 08-16-2018 09:46 PM

I use a plane sled similar to the one in the video. Mine is melamine shelf board about 6ft long and instead of wedges I use short pieces of popsickle sticks, and instead of glue I use double sided tape to hold down a thin board at the far end. The near end has a thin board screwed into the “bed” board like in the video. Handles any length up to about 6ft and faster than all the gluing

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GrantA

523 posts in 1582 days


#4 posted 08-16-2018 09:55 PM

You could also try listing your location and a fellow member might offer up their own for you to use. I’m in SW Georgia if that’s near you

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Aj2

1791 posts in 1972 days


#5 posted 08-16-2018 11:16 PM

The jointer is a very important machine to have. You can quickly cut a flat surface on a oddly shaped board then make a edge square to this face.
From there you can go to the planer or your tablesaw even the bandsaw. Really depends on what your projects demand.
Without a jointer you’ll spend lots of time making silly fixtures on you rplaner or table saw to do what a jointer does in minutes.
Unless your into goofy work and like doing things the hard way get a jointer. ::)

-- Aj

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TungOil

1040 posts in 669 days


#6 posted 08-17-2018 03:14 AM

What AJ said is right on the money. Don’t waste your time, find a nice used jointer.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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AlaskaGuy

4633 posts in 2483 days


#7 posted 08-17-2018 03:32 AM

I’m with Aj2 and TungOil. Work smarter, not harder.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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bandit571

21522 posts in 2857 days


#8 posted 08-17-2018 03:40 AM

Not all Jointers have cords, though..

Nor, are they always iron….

Just saying…..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

4633 posts in 2483 days


#9 posted 08-17-2018 04:04 AM

And not all woodworkers what cordless joiners.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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bandit571

21522 posts in 2857 days


#10 posted 08-17-2018 04:40 AM

Or how to use them?

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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AlaskaGuy

4633 posts in 2483 days


#11 posted 08-17-2018 04:45 AM



Or how to use them?

- bandit571


Quigley Down Under …....... I Never Had Much Use For One. Never Said I Didn’t Know How To Use One.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View msinc's profile

msinc

557 posts in 678 days


#12 posted 08-17-2018 06:58 AM

I have a PowerMatic with the long table and a Shelix cutter head. It is easily the most used machine in my shop. Not every board goes on the lathe or bandsaw among others, but you can believe that every board I work with goes on that jointer. Yes, you can “make do” without one…and, like I tell people, you can drive your car with your feet…if you want to, but that don’t make it a good idea!!!!
Once you get used to having a nice jointer then all you think about is a bigger one. There are some tools and machines that you can get by either without or at least without the best, but I could not imagine woodworking without a decent jointer. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against using traditional hand planes, if that is the type of work you like to do and I know that many folks get a lot of enjoyment out of using traditional tools in woodworking. That’s all well and fine…but it’s not for me.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

21522 posts in 2857 days


#13 posted 08-17-2018 01:55 PM

I have to use those planes, as there is ZERO room for a corded Jointer in the shop. Nor is there any room for even a small tablesaw. I do have a decent sized bandsaw, though.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View JayT's profile

JayT

5926 posts in 2385 days


#14 posted 08-17-2018 02:21 PM

First step with all lumber is always to get a flat reference face to work from. There are several ways to do this and all have been covered. You are going to have to choose whether to buy a jointer, build a planer sled or learn how to use a hand plane. All any of us can say is what is best for our own needs and space. You will have to decide what is best for you.

For me, hand planes are a simple and space efficient way to accomplish what a jointer can do. Flatten one face enough to sit flat on the planer bed, run it through, flip and run again to get flat and parallel faces. For edges, I joint one edge straight with a hand plane, then can use that edge against the fence to cut to width.

Again, that is what works for me, others’ situations are different. With a 110 sq ft shop, I don’t have room for a jointer. After learning how to use hand planes for these tasks and finding out how easy it is, I won’t be spending the money or space on a powered jointer even when I get a larger shop. Someone with plenty of space and/or some physical limitations may be better off with a machine. Pick what will work best for you.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

528 posts in 1668 days


#15 posted 08-17-2018 04:16 PM

+1 What JayT says:


First step with all lumber is always to get a flat reference face to work from. There are several ways to do this and all have been covered. You are going to have to choose whether to buy a jointer, build a planer sled or learn how to use a hand plane. All any of us can say is what is best for our own needs and space. You will have to decide what is best for you.

For me, hand planes are a simple and space efficient way to accomplish what a jointer can do. Flatten one face enough to sit flat on the planer bed, run it through, flip and run again to get flat and parallel faces. For edges, I joint one edge straight with a hand plane, then can use that edge against the fence to cut to width.

- JayT

To each person = different solution:

I used to be like msinc, my jointer was used for most every project. I own an 8 inch jointer and last few years rarely use it now that I became proficient with hand planes. Only time it gets used is when I have a ~100+ bd ft stack of rough boards to mill for project. Why? My shop is crowded garage, and it takes longer to move jointer out of storage location and hook it up, then it takes for my hand planes to makes things flat on a couple boards.

Hand planes take less space, and can make one flat edge & side quickly; allowing planer & table saw to be used for rest of project. It can be a very efficient mix of hand/power tools.

Often missed in planing/jointing ‘which comes first’ discussion:
How you PLAN to cut the perfect wood from your lumber pile is important part!

If you project requires careful grain matching, then might need to skip plane one side of boards to see grain. Some use spritz of water/mineral spirits to help see grain to avoid need to plane one side first. Can also use a block plane to scrape areas of board. :)

Boards warp/twist/cup/bow for a reason. Most times if look at grain you will see why/how the board moved way it did after slabbing. Wood also never stops moving. If board moved during drying, similar movement is possible when used in your project.
As part of you layout plan, mark the grain direction changes, and other imperfections with some chalk; and cut your parts to best use/ignore these imperfections. Nice part about making a plan on rough board, is many times the smaller parts are less influenced by crazy grain changes, requiring less work to make them straight and flat after you have cut them from the big piece of lumber.
This method will also waste less wood. You can be amazed how much sawdust is generated making a 8 foot stick of lumber S4S. Unless it was perfect at start, it will be narrower and thinner as S4S than if same stick was cut into smaller pieces before make it flat and straight.

All this said, there is difference between hobby shop and commercial shop. Layout on rough board takes more time. When one compares cost of skilled labor .vs. cost of most domestic lumber; wood is usually cheaper. So commercial operation will make every stick uniform S3S or S4S, before they start cutting pieces smaller. In most hobby shops, opposite is true; wood is more expensive than our enjoyable shop time. This operational difference translates into: To each person = different solution:

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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