Cedar Pickets - Sand or Plane?

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Forum topic by toddbg posted 12-31-2013 07:24 PM 7626 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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26 posts in 1819 days

12-31-2013 07:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi –
One of the projects on my todo list is a fence for the backyard.
I’ve decided I am going to make it a 4’ cedar lattice fence.
I have two options for the design – one I like better than the other.

1) buy lattice and cut to size and build the frame around it.
2) buy rough cedar pickets and cut to lattice width, route notches and then glue/pin nail for a much nicer lattice.

I’m leaning towards #2.

So the question is on the rough pickets I picked up I will be cutting them down to strips about 1.5” wide and then doing the notching. The current thickness is just over .75” but is your typical rough sawn picket.

I’d like to smooth these down some, I am guessing I need to take off 1/32 to 1/16 per side to smooth this out.

What would you guys recommend as the best method to do this? Belt sander, ROS or get a planer?


-- -- Todd, Washington

4 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5092 posts in 2554 days

#1 posted 12-31-2013 08:28 PM

Since you are in Poulsbo I assume you mean western red cedar. Cedar is tough, the wood is soft but the knots are harder than the hubs on the gates to Hell. If you have many to do a planer is the way to go, but the knots will cause you fits. They will chip, crack, fall out, dull the planer knives and cause all sorts of frustration. If you can get clear lumber or cut out the knots when you make your strips it will be smooth sailing w/ a planer. The sanding options will be very labor intensive and time consuming for a fence, better to leave it rough than go that route.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View TravisH's profile


627 posts in 2137 days

#2 posted 12-31-2013 08:47 PM

This would fall into the category I would do what ever it took to get it knocked out so I could move on to something else. I wouldn’t waste the time constructing my own lattice to be honest as in the grand scheme of things my free time always ends up being a rare commodity and a fence wouldn’t rank high on my list of projects.

I imagine after taking your time in consideration, waste wood, buying a planer (sanding would be bordering torture), etc…..I would buy lattice and frame it out and knock that fence out one weekend and then use the new planer on a project the next weekend.

View toddbg's profile


26 posts in 1819 days

#3 posted 12-31-2013 09:32 PM

Thanks guys – Fair points. I hadn’t thought about the knots.

I hand sanded about a foot and it was “good enough” – just wanted to see if there were some better options. :)

Here is an example of the type (but scale this up to 4×6…

@Travis – time wise, I have my weekends and time off from work, and most of my projects are house related (I kinda like doing them).
I’m more limited in funds than I am time – so taking a bit to do the fence isn’t an issue.

-- -- Todd, Washington

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2275 days

#4 posted 12-31-2013 11:10 PM

dry, then plane, sanding will be a PITA. Stick with a fan and it will dry in 5 to 7 days.

-- Who is John Galt?

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