Saw Mill I Found and Help with Cutting Diagrams

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Forum topic by AngieO posted 07-31-2012 08:47 PM 2170 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1267 posts in 2171 days

07-31-2012 08:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question cutting diagrams saw mills wood pricing tips help

I was visiting friends over the weekend and was surprised to find out that the husband is a woodworker. He doesn’t do a lot of projects but enjoys it a lot. He has all kinds of tools. He made loft beds and bunk beds for his boys, tables for his living room for his wife, built a deck around their pool… and he made and installed all their kitchen cabinets. I was pretty impressed.

When talking about where he gets his lumber he said “Tiny Timbers”. I had no idea it existed as it hadn’t shone up in my searches. So I checked it out. Here is a link if you’d like to check too. I wouldn’t mind hearing some feedback.

And please excuse my lack of knowledge… I really am good at math… really.. I am :) But I have no idea what they mean when they say it’s priced by the lineal foot. Can someone break this down into simple terms for me?

I found a plan for an Oak Nightstand that I’d love to try. I have a bill of materials and a cutting diagram. The cutting diagram calls for the following….

1/2×11 1/4×60” Oak
3/4×9 1/4×72” Oak
1 3/4×9 1/4×48” Oak
1 /16×9 1/4×48” Oak
1/4×24 x 24” Oak ply.

I understand that the first number is the thickness of the board… the second is the width and the third is the length.

I don’t have a planer or a joiner yet so I would need the thickness to be right and not get rough sawn lumber.

I have no clue where to start on figuring how much this would cost me.

23 replies so far

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2982 days

#1 posted 07-31-2012 08:52 PM

A linear foot is a 1 foot length of whatever the size of the board is. It does not take into account the width or thickness, only the length. An unusual way to sell wood, but it all adds up the same.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2591 days

#2 posted 07-31-2012 08:58 PM

a lineal foot is price per foot, however wide the board is. So a 6’ board, at a cost of $1/board foot would be $6. It doesn’t matter if its 6” wide or 12” wide.

I think you will find it hard to find lumber in the thickness you’ve listed. I think it will be tough to do without a way to resaw, or plane your lumber.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2171 days

#3 posted 07-31-2012 09:03 PM

I guess to get the thickness I want I will have to make a trip with my lumber to my friends house and use his planer

View Alongiron's profile


647 posts in 2717 days

#4 posted 07-31-2012 09:16 PM

Let me clarify the board foot vs lineal foot thing.

A board foot is 1 inch think by 12” wide and 12” long. So to figure a board foot you multiply the thickness times the width times the length divided by 144. So for example a 2×8 – 48” long is 2×8x48/144 or 5.33 board feet.

A lineal foot is the length of a board no matter the width. So a 2×8 -48” long and a 1×12-48” long is still 4 lineal feet

-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

View HerbC's profile


1763 posts in 2883 days

#5 posted 07-31-2012 09:21 PM


Planing rough lumber down to 1/2” or 1/16” thickness will be rather wasteful and take a long time. Instead, smooth and flatten one surface, then use a bandsaw to resaw the lumber to the thickness (plus a bit for planing) required. If you buy 4/4 rough lumber you may be able to get both the 1/2” and 1/16” from the same board if your friend has a bandsaw that can handle that.

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View HerbC's profile


1763 posts in 2883 days

#6 posted 07-31-2012 09:24 PM

Alongiron gives the correct basic definition of a board foot. But be aware that most lumber producers will charge as if the board was 1” thick if you purchase something thinner. So if you asked the sawmill to mill you some lumber 5/8 thick or 3/8 thick they would almost certainly charge the same as if it was 1 inch thick.

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3092 days

#7 posted 07-31-2012 10:09 PM

Lumber pricing usually depends on the source and whether it’s fully dimensioned (S4S) or “rough sawn” (S3S)

S4S (Surfaced on 4 sides) is what you typically find in lumber yards and home centers. It usually comes in standard sizes such as 1×6 where the 1 is actually 3/4” and the 4 is actually 3.5”. That board was rough sawn to a full 1” x 4”, but the final dimensioning “shrunk it”. S4S lumber is usually sold by the lineal (or linear) foot.

S3S (Surfaced on 3 sides) is what you get from the mill. It’s roughly planed on both surfaces and one edge is (mostly) straight (Not necessarily smooth, though). The other edge is “wild” It’s usually sold as 4/4 (~1” thick), 5/4 (~1.25” thick), etc. It’s usually sold by the board foot.

Some of your materials are available at any lumber yard or home center. (the 3/4” and 1/2” oak, and the 1/4” oak ply). The rest will be more difficult to find since they aren’t “standard” sizes.

If you calculate the price of S4S and S3S for a specific volume (cu in or cu ft), the price difference basically reflects the added cost to mill the rough sawn lumber to dimensioned lumber.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2272 days

#8 posted 07-31-2012 10:13 PM

Sawkerf, my rough cut lumber is not surfaced on any face. I usually have it skipped dressed to about 1” or 7/8” to save me some time behind the planer. It costs me a few bucks extra though.


View Sawdust4Blood's profile


405 posts in 3046 days

#9 posted 07-31-2012 10:27 PM

one other thing to remember about the cutting diagrams you typically find in magazines and published plans is that they assume a perfect world with no waste. Depending on the type and quality/grade of wood you buy, you may have to figure for anywhere from 15 to 50% waste. I’m lucky to have a very good lumber supplier close to my house and I still typically estimate 20% over when I buy for a project. This allows me to trim off the ends of rough sawn lumber (something you will absolutely want to do) and then spend some time “roughing out” my cut plan layout with chalk on the boards I buy so the best grain will show where I most want it and so I can match grain where I need to panel pieces while hiding or avoiding flaws in the wood.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View hhhopks's profile


651 posts in 2401 days

#10 posted 07-31-2012 11:26 PM

It’s should be possible for you to compensate for the thickness, by changing the design slightly.
Of couse if will impact other dimensions. All is possible. You just have to anticpate the changes.
Since this is one of a kind piece, perhaps you can afford to have some slight variant from the original design.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2171 days

#11 posted 08-01-2012 12:43 AM

HerbC… great idea. I’m pretty sure his bandsaw can handle that.

Sawdust4Blood… It DEFINITELY doesn’t account for any waste. Not even the width of the kerf. So I’m definitely going to keep that in mind.

Sawkerf… I meant to post a link to the mill But forgot. The lumber I was looking at was S4S

Alongiron… that really helps. Makes simple. Simple enough. The site has some weird chart that made me wonder what they were talking about.

LOTS of good information here… which is why I love LJ’s. You guys are so helpful. I really like the table and will definitely make one… but for now I think I’ll stick with something that I don’t have to run to my friends house for. At least now I know how to price it and what to look for.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2714 days

#12 posted 08-01-2012 01:57 AM

The difference in price between s4s and rough cut will pay for a planer and jointer much quicker than you would think. Wood mag did this cost comparison within the last couple of years and I was suprised at the huge cost difference.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3092 days

#13 posted 08-01-2012 02:28 AM

Joe -
I get mine from a local supplier that only sells S3S. They carry a really wide selection of hardwood, though.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3215 days

#14 posted 08-01-2012 05:45 AM

A planer and jointer are must haves. A drum sander is the bone for the dog. I buy select red oak for 2.50 a board foot. The big box store will charge 7.50 a board foot for red oak. 100 board feet of red oak will cost:

Rough sawn: $ 250.00
Big box $750.00

The cost of a used dewalt 733 planer craigslist $ 200.00
New $ 400.00

A new joiner starts at $ 400.00, lots of used joiners on craigslist for $ 150.00.
At first it maybe difficult to cough up the cash, but every wood working day you
have these tools you are making your money back. Just think, if you bought the
used tools you would make your money back in the first 75 BF of lumber you bought.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2171 days

#15 posted 08-01-2012 02:33 PM

I really want to get the planer and joiner. I found a small one for sale for 125. It looked hardly used. They also had an infeed and oufeed setup on it that they made. It was only a 10”But I figured that I could upgrade later. (and with gas prices it would even pay for itself quicker if I had to go visit my friend and use his)

Part of the reason I keep hesitating on the planer is that I don’t know very much about them.
Oh…. And space…. My dh is NOT into woodworking and has no desire to share his garage with my tools. Lol. Just wait though…. I think he will turn around. 3 of our kids are due for bed upgrades. Gonna shop or for new, gonna shop for used…. Then I’m gonna make one of them myself and he’ll see. Maybe the money I save from the beds can go to a planer and joiner:)

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