Milling >8 foot lumber

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Forum topic by amt posted 11-13-2013 04:01 PM 1127 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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49 posts in 1744 days

11-13-2013 04:01 PM

I am preparing to build a dining table made of white oak. The boards I have a 4/4×6,7,8 * 8+ feet long. All of the lumber needs to be milled, which I am starting now. I am curious if anyone has any good techniques to mill this efficiently. The issue I have is there is a slight bow in some of these pieces, but with the pieces being 8 feet long, even a slight bow translates to a lot of material lost. Is there a good rule of thumb on just how much bow can be present, and still be able to use the piece? For example, I have one board, after planing, the bow is about 1/16” (in the middle). Thanks!

-- -Andrew

6 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#1 posted 11-13-2013 04:17 PM

Board can be finessed to flat in that sort of glue-up. Don’t
try to mill them perfectly flat. You can take out bumps with
hand tools after gluing. The main thing is to get twist out.
Sometimes when I don’t want to lose thickness I tune the
twist out with hand planes to get more fine control of the

View amt's profile


49 posts in 1744 days

#2 posted 11-13-2013 04:49 PM

Thanks, Loren, I’ll do that. I am using a planar sled, but I am also using a hand plane when I want more control (and a good workout!).

-- -Andrew

View FellingStudio's profile


93 posts in 1708 days

#3 posted 11-13-2013 04:52 PM

The general process is (1) joint one face flat, (2) plane opposite face parallel to jointed face, (3) joint one edge square to faces, (4) rip opposite edge parallel to jointed edge, (5) glue up. Problem is that if you are a beginner and/or don’t have the proper equipment (jointer, planer, table saw), you are going to end up being frustrated.

4/4 generally ends up at about 3/4” after milling. That’s fine if your table has pretty good support under the top. (Meaning a skirt.) It will be too small if you are going for a trestle type of design.

And, you can probably live with a 1/16” bow in your board. You will be scraping and sanding the top anyway.

-- Jesse Felling -

View pintodeluxe's profile


5705 posts in 2838 days

#4 posted 11-13-2013 04:56 PM

Pick the straightest boards for the long stock you need.
Then cut down to rough length before you mill. If the table is going to be 6’ long for instance, cut it to 74” before you joint it.

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

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2512 days

#5 posted 11-13-2013 04:59 PM

Alternate the bow in adjoining boards. (one up, One Down), using biscuits, tenons, dowels or any other favorite method attach them together.
As Loren says, after joining them together, flatten with a hand plane, scraper, etc.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View amt's profile


49 posts in 1744 days

#6 posted 11-13-2013 05:26 PM

FellingStudio, I am approaching those 4 steps in this way:

1) Hand plane and/or planer sled with Delta PT305 (I do not have a jointer)
2) Delta PT305 lunchbox planer
3) Either track saw or edge joint with router (using an Incra WonderFence)
4) Rip with table saw
5) Alignment with Festool dominos

I am doing a trestle design, but probably a bit modified. I have not decided if I should double up the boards on the top, or build a support system below the top, which I suppose might be tricky to do and keep the core trestle design. If I go for a 2-board thickness on the top, then I’ll probably try a bevel on the edge (bottom half of the top beveled inward) to hide the transition fro the top board to the bottom board.

-- -Andrew

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