Order of operations...

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 08-21-2013 04:54 PM 2635 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2282 days

08-21-2013 04:54 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I buy rough lumber. I have a planer, a jointer, a table saw, etc.
When you’re building something that is composed of pieces…. like if you’re building cabinet doors or a small table, you have a lot of “sticks”. Stuff that’s like 2 -1/2 inches wide x 3/4” thick and 24 to 30 inches long. You’re starting with a 1 inch thick by 6 or 8 inch wide board that’s 8 ft long.

What’s your order of operations?

Do you run the boards through jointer, and planer at their full length and THEN start ripping, and cutting to length? Or do you usually just cut your pieces, a bit oversized, and then joint/plane and final size?

10 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4984 posts in 2489 days

#1 posted 08-21-2013 04:59 PM

I usually straight edge one edge of the boards first, then flatten on the jointer and then plane. I don’t think I’ve ever cut rough stock to size, and then finish. Not saying my way is the right way. It’s just, well, my way. BTW, those steps aren’t set in stone for me, just what I do most often.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3644 days

#2 posted 08-21-2013 05:14 PM

1. layout parts on the rough sawn boards
2. cut oversized parts (leaving extra length and width to be able to mill to size) (bandsaw/jigsaw/handsaw)
3. flatten 1 face (jointer)
4. thickness part (planer)
5. joint 1 edge (jointer)
6. cut to width (ts rip)
7. trim 1 end (ts cross cut)
8. cut to length (ts cross cut)

I find that jointing and thicknessing an entire board (8ft?) it not effective as you could end up removing too much material not to mention it’s not as convenient to handle in a 1 man shop. cutting that 8ft to smaller parts makes it easier to handle as well as it minimizes the cup/twist a part would have so you need to do less work to flatten it.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3239 days

#3 posted 08-21-2013 05:26 PM

I would rip first boards that are 6-8” wide before planing/ surfacing and cut to convenient lengths. Wide boards will cup more than narrower boards and shorter boards are easier to work with. All finish cut are left to the end.

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 1899 days

#4 posted 08-21-2013 08:06 PM

A little tip I found helpful.
I noticed this when I was only hand working wood. It is natural to hand plane the crowned side of a board first, as it sits better on the bench.
Most all will say to use the power jointer on the concave side, as it sits better on the jointer.
I found if I cut the crowned side first on the jointer, the finished board tends to cup less.
The thought is, removing the crowned side first reduces the stress in the board more so then cutting the concave side first. I do think its true.
To make that easier, I will run a hand plane down the center of the board to get a good flat guide surface for the jointer, 2” or so wide. This keeps the board from rocking, and I tend to place that flat for the best economy for the wood.
Just a thought there, probably best not to do anything I do….

View mbs's profile


1656 posts in 2936 days

#5 posted 08-21-2013 08:12 PM

I agree with the approaches above EXCEPT when the rough wood is reasonable flat/straight. If it’s flat and straight I joint and plane it before cutting it to size.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Loco's profile


210 posts in 1745 days

#6 posted 08-21-2013 08:35 PM

I get an inspection and permit. The sawmill shows up wherever I buy the tree and lifts it with a 28 foot flatbed boom truck and takes it to the mill. I stand their and tell them what sizes I want. Total cost ? $200.00 ;). I spend the rest of the day driving to and fro with a trailer and bring it home to dry.
I hate wasting saw blades and biscuits.

-- What day is it ? No matter. Ummmm What month is it ? No moron. I paid for a 2 x 6. That means Two inches by six inches. I want the rest of my wood.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1944 days

#7 posted 08-21-2013 09:08 PM

I general plane first so I can see if there are any defects in the material.
Then I rough it out(rip/cross cut)
joint and cut to final size

View Andrew Betschman's profile

Andrew Betschman

309 posts in 3219 days

#8 posted 08-21-2013 09:30 PM

Here the 8 steps of milling lumber I like to use. Here’s part two. The 8 steps of milling lumber works perfect every time.

-- Andrew, Ohio

View Hammerthumb's profile


2844 posts in 1971 days

#9 posted 08-21-2013 10:41 PM

Another tip is to plane all associated pieces at the same time. ie – styles & rails for door frames or face frames. This will insure that all of the pieces will match in thickness. I will usually cut some extra parts for these pieces so if I make a mistake, I do not have to re-cut and plane new material and try to get it to match the thicknes of the originally planed pieces.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2068 days

#10 posted 08-21-2013 11:22 PM

(I am assuming KD lumber in the rough, extra sticking steps if not, and #1 becomes, test with meter)

1: I grade the lumber, set aside naturally straight bored for stiles and rails, set aside boards already bowing for face framing or other operations where this can be worked out.
2:joint edge rough (depending on how rough the lumber is) Sometimes I joint a face at this point, eg if it is mahogany that is really rough cut on a south american one toothed chain saw mill, with the other teeth replaced with random rocks and bits found in the jungle… you know what I mean.
3:Re-saw oversize on the band saw.
4:Stick and rest (some more stable woods don’t get this)
5: Re-grade if rested, then join edge and face to straighten and square.
6:Re Resaw if a lot of jointing was needed, either BS or TS depending on the size of lumber at this point, and straight to planer to dimension still a bit large if see next step.
7:stick and rest (mostly tropicals by this point, will skip this on more stable woods)
8:re re re grade if rested, Plane to final dimensions, stick and rest (stile final dimension always larger to account for additional milling) and such..I have a planer with positive stops, so somethings get planed to a stop, others to final dimension.

that is my process.. rack lumber, clean area, make apprentice empty DC. :)

-- Who is John Galt?

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