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What width size to cut lumber

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Forum topic by Doug posted 08-15-2013 07:33 AM 706 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Doug

18 posts in 412 days


08-15-2013 07:33 AM

Hello;

I just had a few black cherry and some large red oak trees cut as they were leaning towards home and I want to know what widths is best, or the max width.

I make my own colonial style benches and tables using oak, cherry and walnut.

Here is a general inventory of the trees I have to cut

Red oak, about 9 (6’ to 11’ long), width 18” up to 32” width

Black cherry, about 3 (10’ to 11’ long), width 16” up to 28” width.

Black cherry, about 8 (8’ to 10’ long), width 12” up to about 15” width.

I do use 11” width boards to make benches but have more lumber than I will ever build benches so what do you recommend as I am concerned that wide boards will cup and be unusable.

Thanks, Doug

-- Doug


8 replies so far

View Marcus's profile

Marcus

1053 posts in 684 days


#1 posted 08-15-2013 10:06 AM

Are you planning on selling the lumber? If so, maybe just 8/4 slab it full width. That seems to bring in a premium price.

View Doug's profile

Doug

18 posts in 412 days


#2 posted 08-15-2013 11:34 AM

Marcus:

Good question, and when I think about it I have more oak, and probably cherry than I can us in my lifetime as my shop is not heated, plus I am 71 and have on and off again health issues that keep me from working.

I would estimate I will have about 2,000 – 3,000 bdft of red oak, much would be very high quality, and probably 1,000 bdft of black cherry or more as I have 3 other cherry to drop before the mill arrives.

As I have no experience with yields my estimate could be off some, mill owner told me it will take him 3 – 4 days to cut, he has a high end TimberKing, so selling I think is realistic.

I do want to make a few more kitchen tables using oak, and cherry using random width board. What would you recommend as the widest width to use?

Thank you for your reply

Doug

-- Doug

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1140 posts in 1141 days


#3 posted 08-15-2013 11:55 AM

I would cut the best grade and the widest possible widths. As you lose the grade on a face of the cant, you turn to a better face and saw until you lose the grade, then turn, etc. Always cut the best face and let the widths be what they are. I would cut a mix of thicknesses with that much wood. I would shoot for about 50% 4/4, 15% 6/4 and 15% 8/4. This will help when selling because some woodworkers look for thicker lumber for table tops, legs, etc.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

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Marcus

1053 posts in 684 days


#4 posted 08-15-2013 12:29 PM

Doug -

What I use is limited by the equipment I have. For desk/table tops, the widest boards I use are 8” because thats what my jointer is. It just makes life easier for me.

Perry had very good advice if you’re planning on selling. 4/4 lumber is pretty common around here and is all over craigslist. 6/4 and 8/4 doesnt last very long and there is a premium price on it.

View Doug's profile

Doug

18 posts in 412 days


#5 posted 08-15-2013 12:41 PM

Want to thank you both for your advice, have had much distractions lately and this has set my mind on a straight path.

I have at least 6 or 7 oak logs that will yield 24 – 28 inch boards, make sense to quarter-saw them in 6/4, 8/4?

-- Doug

View Don W's profile

Don W

15055 posts in 1232 days


#6 posted 08-15-2013 12:53 PM

When I cut, I follow what Perry described. I tend to let the log dictate the lumber. You wind up with a better yield. Also keep in mind, should some wider boards cup, its easy enough to rip them on the table saw to get the cup out.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Doug's profile

Doug

18 posts in 412 days


#7 posted 08-15-2013 01:13 PM

Your advice has my mind raciing, since in the past I bought the small amounts of lumber I needed for my projects from a friend who had a couple hundred bdft of well seasoned oak, and I still have about a hundred left of it which will take me through this year.

Since I have acreage to store the wood to air dry, but may not want to, how would I adjust the price to account for being unseasoned. Local mills have quoted me $1.50 per bdft for 4/4 air dried red oak, have not looked at it so far as have enough on hand for my current workload.

Does the price adjust by the thickness, that is as the depth increase is there an increase in price to account for a smaller supply of the product?

May be getting ahead of myself and am probably 2 weeks to a month away from sawing, but want it cut by the first of October, and would like to recover some of the cost of sawing, plus what I paid to have them dropped due to most of them leaning over house.

-- Doug

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1140 posts in 1141 days


#8 posted 08-16-2013 03:18 AM

I price my 4/4 red oak from $1.50 to $2.50 per BF based on grade, with the $2.50 per BF being the clear best grade. For 8/4 stock, I add 50% to the price.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

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