Questions about getting help milling lumber

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Forum topic by botanist posted 01-28-2013 06:13 PM 854 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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167 posts in 3537 days

01-28-2013 06:13 PM

I’ve been planning on building a bed for my wife and I out of cherry, but I have some cost/time issues. We can afford cherry if it’s either rough-cut or skip-planed, but not something that’s been surfaced on 4 sides (the cost difference per bf is pretty staggering). The problem is that I don’t have a jointer (I do have an old Craftsman jointer plane, however) or a planer so I’ve been looking at my options. I’ve ruled out trying to flatten the boards by hand because I don’t have the time (work and family restrictions, not to mention I have to get to the finishing stage before it gets too cold to be in the garage) to learn how to do it and I don’t want to ruin hundreds of dollars in lumber. I could put off building the bed and save the money intended for the lumber on a jointer/planer (thinking about the Jet combination machine). I could get the lumber in a rough or skip-planed form and beg for help from a local woodworker to help me get it milled (or depending on where I get the lumber, ask them for help getting it surfaced on 2 sides with a straight-line rip on one edge). If I try the third option, how should I proceed? If someone asked you for help with something like this, what would you say? Are there other options I should consider?

7 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3157 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 06:21 PM

Short of buying a planer (I manage happily without even touching my jointer), I would consider building a thickness (drum) sander.

Otherwise, I think you better make good friends with somebody, and offer lots of beer in exchange.

-- jay,

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3894 days

#2 posted 01-28-2013 06:24 PM

You could use a router to to clean up the boards – Gary K has a post (which I can’t find – but I’m sure someone can – obviously I’m not putting in the right search words) that shows a sled he made that uses a router to flattern boards. To straigthen the edge – you can you another long piece of wood you know is straight screwed to the work piece to run through the table saw. I hope that gives you a couple of ideas.

I’ve also done the trade and swap with local woodworkers when I don’t have the right tool. My chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter fudge come in handy for these times. :-)

Good luck.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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167 posts in 3537 days

#3 posted 01-28-2013 06:47 PM


Here's GaryK’s post. That’s a brilliant idea! His set-up would allow me to do the bed this year instead of having to wait until next year. Thanks!

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3894 days

#4 posted 01-28-2013 06:51 PM

Glad I could help. I’ve used a smaller version of the set up for my shop and it works great. I got rid of my joiner years ago because there are other ways to get the job done and for me safer ways. The joiner scared the you know what out of me so i never used it anyway. Good luck with your project.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View pintodeluxe's profile


5659 posts in 2812 days

#5 posted 01-28-2013 06:58 PM

I found the first project I did after buying a jointer (three coffee tables) was enough to offset the cost of a used jointer. If this is the only project you plan on doing, by all means buy the s4s lumber. However, if you can see yourself buying rough lumber for many projects, buy a jointer.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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167 posts in 3537 days

#6 posted 01-28-2013 07:13 PM

pintodeluxe, I’m into woodworking for the long haul, so my plan to get a jointer/planer eventually but my wife’s been complaining about our current bed for a while, so placating my wife is more of a priority :)

View AandCstyle's profile


3052 posts in 2255 days

#7 posted 01-29-2013 01:48 AM

There may be custom WW shops in your area that will surface the wood for you for a reasonable fee. Also, some community colleges offer WW classes and permit you to use their machines. HTH

-- Art

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