I plan on building some kitchen cabinets for an apartment I own. I did
this previously on another apartment and they came out great. My
question is, when I buy the hardwood for the frames I get 4/4 in
maple. When I finish planing it up I still end up with about 7/8". I
guess the rough lumber is more like 5/4, but they always charge me for
4/4. I either end up with a lot of planing or a frame that's too
thick. Would the best way to get a 3/4" frame thickness is buy 6/4
then resaw it? Counting on the rough dimensions being slightly more
than 6/4. Also, if this is the case, what is the best procedure for
resawing? Resaw first then cut the components or rough size the
components then resaw.
I've seen 4/4 that is a bit on the thick side. You have the material to go
as far as 3/4" if that is what you need, but it depends on the particular
board, how much warp or twist, etc. If you can get 7/8", good for you. If
you need 3/4, keep planing.
I've never seen 6/4, but that does not mean it does not exist. It is a
problem though. If you re-saw true 6/4 you have a kerf so you start out
with less than 3/4 then it must be jointed and planed smooth. If you do
good, you could end up with 5/8"
I've gotten spoiled. My supplier asks me how thick I want it and then I just
grab it as it comes out of the planer. It does both sides at once.
When I buy 4/4 it's usually a bit over 1" and can generally get 7/8" out of
it, but not all of the time. I doubt that you could squeek it out of 6/4.
You will loose some to the resaw.
My guess is that it will work some of the time, but not consistantly at all.
You start with 4/4, 1" thick rough sawn lumber and planing it makes thinner.
If the boards are in great shape, you could end up with 15/16" thick
surfaced lumber. Normally you should always have enough for a 3/4" thick
surfaced board if you start with 4/4 stock.
With the thought of buying thicker stock and resawing and planing to 3/4",
you would technically need to start off with at least 7/4 lumber if you can
find that. ;~) You simply are not going to be able to get 2, 3/4" thick
pieces of surfaced lumber from a rough sawn 6/4, 1.5" thick board.
Keep in mind also that many thicker boards cost more per board foot than the
common 4/4 boards. Buying thicker and resawing may cost you more long money
for the same results.
So should I just get the supplier to plane it down to 3/4. Is that
what people usually do? It's hard work and time consuming to do it
myself on a 12" planer and the supplier charges .65 per bf for S3 S
Most people use their 12" or what ever planer to come up with the thickness
that they want. Your planer is made to do this. Sure doing this on a 12"
planer is time consuming but so is wood working in general. I do it all the
time on a 10" planer. If you are paying 65 cents per BF to have s3s planed
down to 3/4" you may want to consider s4s and start with stock that is all
the same width.
How important is it to you that the wood be straight and flat? Most lumber
from most lumber dealers is neither straight nor flat. Planers only make
surfaces smooth and parallel. They do *not* correct defects such as warp, bow,
or twist: if you feed a bowed or twisted rough-sawn board into a planer, you
get a smooth bowed or twisted board coming out. If you want lumber that's
truly straight and flat, you need to buy it over-thickness and joint it first
to get it straight and flat, then plane it to the desired thickness.
To really do this right is a multiple-step process:
a) select the straightest boards you can find
b) store them stacked and stickered in your shop for at least a week (two
weeks is better) to allow them to reach equilibrium moisture content
c) joint straight and flat
d) plane to approx 1/8" over finished thickness
e) stack and sticker for another week to allow the wood to move in response to
any stresses that were relieved in jointing and planing
f) check each piece for straightness and re-joint as needed
g) plane to finished thickness
h) rip to finished width
OTOH, if your supplier has lumber that is close enough to straight *to satisfy
you* then having them surface it may be a major timesaver. One warning,
though: typically, they'll remove a lot more wood in one pass than you would
at home, and this can produce a *lot* of tearout. Since you already have a
planer, it would be better to have the supplier surface it to 7/8 or 13/16,
and bring it the rest of the way down to 3/4 yourself using lighter passes to
Note, too, that the meaning of "close enough to straight" depends on the
project: close enough for a picnic table is not the same as close enough for a
formal dining table.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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I would plane it down myself on my planer but feel free to pay them to do
it. It really shouldn't take that long if all you need is enough to make
face frames. don't go start to finish on one board, feed all boards
through, one after another before readjusting the planer. Take off from
1/32 to a 1/16 per pass, whatever your planer will handle and still give a
good finish. Plane from opposite faces every new pass.
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