Can I joint and plane dry boards for future use

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Forum topic by misterx posted 02-13-2015 05:05 PM 950 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1253 days

02-13-2015 05:05 PM

Hi, I am going to the saw mill and getting boards for a few jobs. I would like to know if it is ok to mill the boards down to just a little over size than I need for the projects I am going to be doing over the next few months? I am going to let the boards sit in my shop for about a week before I start to cut them to size. I live in Wisconsin so the boards will be very cold when I get them. They are dry boards when I buy them. I am going to buy about 7 to 10 9’ walnut, cherry and maple boards and would like to mill them all together to see the grain patterns to match them up for different jobs, but it will take a few months to get to some of them. Is it ok to cut them down now or should I wait until I start the jobs at a later time? Thanks Tim

6 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5654 posts in 2808 days

#1 posted 02-13-2015 05:22 PM

I need more information to answer your question. What is the moisture content of the lumber? Fully air dried lumber will be around 15% moisture (depends on location). Kiln dried lumber will be 6-10% moisture content. Kiln dried lumber is fine to mill, as long as you store it properly. Air dried lumber I would kiln dry first, then mill. Green lumber, or anything above 15% needs to be air dried then kiln dried before milling.
Of course I assume this is hardwood lumber for indoor projects. Softwoods and outdoor projects don’t play by the same rules.

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

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3 posts in 1253 days

#2 posted 02-13-2015 05:45 PM

Hi, It is Kiln dried wood, I don’t know the moisture content yet I still have to go get it. My shop is in my basement and I keep it at or around 30 to 35% humidity. It is for indoor projects. How long should I leave it in the basement before I start to cut it down? How would I store it? Thanks Tim

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3060 days

#3 posted 02-13-2015 05:57 PM

This comes down to what you mean by “just a little over size”, how much the wood will move, and how much tolerance your projects allow for movement. In general, it is a risky move to do this, particularly when moving the parts to a different environment. I suggest getting a moisture meter and letting the material acclimate to your shop before taking the pieces to anywhere near their final dimensions. I’d say once the moisture content is in the sub 10% range and hasn’t changed for a week or so you should be ok.

-- PaulMayer,

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1930 days

#4 posted 02-13-2015 06:57 PM

In this situation, a lot of guys do what is called skip planing. Basically that consits of sending the boards thru the planer once or twice to reveal some of the grain. That should give you an idea of true color, figure, grain, etc. Maybe you get 50 to 75% of the grain showing and stop planing. This leaves you a lot of wood to plane/joint off, but allows you to see the grain. Let sit for a while, depending on moisture.Then when you pick a project, you mill to almost finished, let it sit for a week, then plane and rip to final dimensions. That’s how I’d do it.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Quanter50's profile


278 posts in 2291 days

#5 posted 02-13-2015 07:03 PM

I would plane them to reveal the grain patterns. If you run them through the jointer you will probably be running them through again later because they will change.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5654 posts in 2808 days

#6 posted 02-13-2015 07:58 PM

As far as the storage question, kiln dried lumber can be dead stacked (no need for stickers), or placed in a vertical lumber rack. You can start using kiln dried lumber right away, no real need to acclimate it.

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

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