Lumber Dimension Advice

Hi All,
I was wondering what other woodworkers out there did with regard to purchasing and dimensioning lumber. A lot of what I build from plans/magazines etc. requires a 3/4" thickness of wood. I have yet to pick up a 4/4 lumber that I have managed to get 3/4 thickness from.
My understanding is that 4/4 lumber is really 13/16. 3/4 lumber is 12/16 so I only have 1/16" of an inch to play with and by the time I'm done joining, planing etc. I can't get close. A lot of the 4/4 stock needs quite a bit of work to get it properly true and square even though it has already been planed on both sides.
My rule of thumb is to buy 5/4 (or 8/4 and then resaw) from the lumber yard if I need to get a final dimension of 3/4. I buy 4/4 for anything that requires about 5/8 and thinner as a final dimension. Having to buy 5/4 limits the types of wood I can buy and buying 8/4 can get expensive.
Does anyone have any words of wisdom or advice - in case I'm missing something? Is it possible to purchase wood that hasn't been planed on both sides so I can actually buy it thicker and then join/plane it myself?
While I'm at it, does anyone have any recommendations as to suppliers around the SF Bay and maybe also online? I usually frequent Handloggers but am familar with McBeath (sp?) and a place in Alameda - White Bros maybe?
Thanks in advance
Mike
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On 9 May 2004 14:38:18 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike) wrote:

It's not. s4s is, as the extra lumber gets removed during surfacing.
Buy it rough and you'll get the full thickness. You'll also get to choose which side to remove the most wood from, and can cut it to rough length before surfacing.

Nothing wrong with resawing from 8/4, 12/4 or thicker planks, but I don't have a problem getting a genuine 3/4 from the rough 4/4 stock I buy.

Ask for it "rough".
Barry
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Thanks for the response. I should have specified that the 4/4 lumber I have been buying is S4S and therefore 13/16. Looks like I need to find a supplier of rough lumber.
(Mike) wrote:

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On 9 May 2004 14:38:18 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike) wrote:

Wlecome to the lumber rip-off business. If anyone complains about what you do, refer them to this thievery, and ask them if they'd rather you dealt with them this way instead.
4/4 lumber is reduced to 3/4" actual. There was no reason that wood couldn't have been oversize before planing and been planed to 1". However, 3/4" is, well, 3/4 of the original. a reduction of 25%. Think of it as 25% you're not paying for.
OK, I'm not a mill worker, so I can't speak from experience, but does the wood *have to* lose 1/8" both sides for a smooth surface after resawing?
Anyhow, continuing...
So you were talked into accepting 3/4" stock as being called a 1" size lumber. Now, hey decided to reduce it by 1/16". You'd hardly notice that, right? However, that's a loss of *planed* lumber to the amount of 1/16 : 3/4, or another reduction of 17%. Think of how you'd feel if your wages dropped by that amount, or if your mortgage payment increased by the same.
Now, while you were getting less ofr your money, you were also being charged more money as prices skyrocketed. not just little jumps, but whacking great big ones.
As I said, it's thievery. A gain (for them) of 1.16" over billions of board feet adds up to something i'd like ot have in my back pocket.
You pay for these increased costs out of your wages. Think of it as a loss of your wages, and take up knitting.
Bill.
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The way I see it is this: either take it or leave it there, or buy kiln-dried rough-sawn lumber and mill it yourself. That is available to me 5 days a week and close by also. No amount of bitching about this situation is going to change the world. Get a life! Hoyt W.
Bill Rogers wrote:

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wrote:

Are you going to glue it together out of the dealer's cyclone? <G>
I buy rough lumber, it really is 4/4, sometimes a fraction more. Those who ask for surfacing lose the rest in chips. It actually arrives at my dealer as a full 1", the mill is not screwing them.
Maybe you need a new dealer?
Barry
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"Bill Rogers" wrote in message

The more you know about the materials you use, the less likely your are to get ripped off, and the less room for "thievery". The following is by no means all there is to it, but it may take away some of the misconception of "thievery" when it comes to lumber dimensions.
Hardwoods and softwoods are entirely different commodities and are sold in different ways and "standards".
Hardwood is usually cut and dried rough, generally from 3/8" up to 4" thick, in fairly standard lengths from 4 to 16 feet in one foot increments, and in _random_ widths.
Hardwood is generally sold rough, or surfaced (S1S or S2S). If you buy surfaced, you basically are paying for the milling. IOW, with hardwoods, you either have to do milling yourself, or pay to have it done ... there is no other choice. Generally, no "thievery" involved.
Some species of hardwoods aren't even cut to some thickness because they would take too long to dry. For instance, you'll rarely see 12/4 white oak these days, but you'll see a lot of red oak at that thickness.
Dimensioned softwoods, particularly construction lumber, are generally surfaced when green, cut to specific lengths (2 foot increments) and _specific widths, and then shrink to "standard" size during the drying process.
Most softwoods are used in construction and these specific dimension "standards" are particularly necessary to that industry. As an example, a 1" softwood board is cut and surfaced green at 25/32", then dries to a "standard" 3/4" in thickness, then sold in varying lengths of 2 foot increments.
Where you will get screwed, particularly if you are a newbie, is in figuring board feet at a hardwood lumber yard ... they always figure in their favor, so it pays to double check their math and call them on it if necessary. But that is generally the only "thievery" involved, IME.
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Oh, puh-leeeze.

I guess you don't really understand how the lumber industry works. It's cut rough at 4/4, and if you buy it rough, you get all four quarters. As a matter of fact, most of the rough 4/4 lumber that I see actually measures over that by one or two sixteenths.

No, you're paying for the service of planing it smooth.

Maybe, depending on the type of blade that was used at the mill. Some rough-cut lumber is *really* rough. And it's not 1/8" per side anyway. To get from 1" to 13/16" means losing 3/32" each side.

No. Rough 4/4 stock is a full inch thick. You can't magically plane it smooth without making it thinner.

Read the OP again. He said his *plans* call for 3/4, and made it quite clear that the lumber yard was supplying 13/16" -- which is exactly what you're supposed to get if you order 4/4 lumber S4S or S2S.

Absolute nonsense. If you want your lumber to be 1" thick after it's planed, you have to buy it thicker than 1" in the rough, and you're going to pay for that thickness one way or another. Does it really matter if the shavings removed by the planer end up in your dust collector, or the one at the lumber mill?

ROTFL
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On Sun, 09 May 2004 14:38:18 -0700, Mike wrote:

why yes it is, and for me it is the most preferable way of handing the material. dimension by cutting to rough lengths and you'll easily get 7/8" out of 1 inch thick rough sawn lumber.
when the piece you need approaches 6 feet or more you may need to buy 5/4 just to get that 3/4 thickness, but most woodworking/cabinetry type things only require short pieces. I have ripped 13/16 stock to narrower pieces jointed the edges and reglued when I had to be frugal, for the most part these could be belt sanded flat and subsequently machined with little problem
it's also preferable to let things "nest" after milling, so if possible leave a bit for further removal, let set overnight re-join/plane and you'll have the most dimensionally stable stock possible. don't forget to sticker,
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You need to find another source for your lumber. At least some of the hardwood lumber dealers will sell you rough stock at a quoted, fair price that is actually 4/4 or a little thicker. If you want it straight line sawed and planed they will charge you about $.10 to $.25/board foot for this service. I frequently purchase oak lumber from Paxton Lumber Company that has been planed to any thickness less than 4/4 that I specify. I frequently request surface planeing to a thickness of 15/16" hit or miss. Most of the lumber is delivered ready to use without any futher reduction required in thickness. If the initial planeing missed a few selected spots on the stock I can easily clean it up when I go to use it and it will usually surface plane to about 7/8" thickness. I have found that I like to purchase stock that has had the surface at least partically planned because it is easier to handle, stackes more uniformily, and I will not have to wait as long for the stock to stabalize as it is cut when I am using it since its initial thickness is close to what I frequently use in my project- I mill the remaining 1/16-1/8" from it for finished stock at the time I actually use it.
15/16" thick pieces can be edge glued together into much wider pieces and still have enough thickness to surface plane to 3/4" thick flat pannels without much trouble.

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On 9 May 2004 14:38:18 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike) wrote:

I buy 4/4 hardwood lumber in the rough state. Most often, I cut to rough length and then surface and plane to finished thickness. Many times I could get a flat board before I get to that 3/4. Some longer pieces may require starting even thicker, depending on how much bow, crook or cup there may be. And twist? Forget it. I don't buy a twisted board with being sure I can get the part out of it I want. That particular defect seems more wastefull than the others.
Like yourself, I found long ago that the process of making the board flat didn't lend itself to starting with already surfaced lumber, particularly if I wanted to end up near the already surface size.
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Sounds like you buying the equivilant of pine boards at Lowes or Home Depot? Alleged finished lumber? I say alleged, because while it has been planed already, it is cupped, bowed, or otherwise mutilated so as not be workable as is. By the time yo get it flat, it is less that 3/4.
You need to venture out to find a new supplier. Better ones will have 4/4 boards that are an honest 1" thick. You can take it "as is" or some will do the milling for you. Two suppliers here in CT will joint and plane to the thickness you want at no additional charge. Ed
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Ed: 1.) Connecticut Hardwood Group and 2.) ?????
Who is number 2? Harris?
Rich
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Yes. I was there Saturday and got some beautiful 4/4 cypress. CHG is out of 4/4 and did not know when it would be in. Same price for the 4/4 but CHG has better prices for the 8/4 I got a couple of weeks ago. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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On 9 May 2004 14:38:18 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike) wrote:

When I can't get 4/4 rough (instead of S2S), I dimension down to 11/16 and adjust my plans accordingly. Seems to work reasonably well and doesn't noticeably affect the strength of the resulting project. Even going down to 11/16, some S2S stock won't joint flat -- that just becomes a future 1/2" stock or jig material.
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On 9 May 2004 14:38:18 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike) wrote:

To be more direct, for serious projects I buy rough sawn from the local mill (there are three around and about) and plane it down myself. The original is usually 1"+ and well seasoned, the traditional way. If the project is rarely too large to handle [I'm not a business, just a hobbyist], I let them do the bull-work and finish it myself. For example, I had one asembled oak table top that needed to be flattened. The one local supplier/builder pays more for his saw blade than I did for my saw, and has a 3' wide sander/planer. I let him handle it, taking just a few small passes, and he did it for free.
Bill.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike) wrote:

Yeah, that happens a lot if you buy your wood already planed. :-)

Yes, it is. Order it "rough".
You still want to get the straightest, flattest stock you can find, to minimize losses when you mill it. It's also best to let the wood rest in your shop for a week or two *before* milling, so it adjusts to the humidity level in your shop. Then joint it, and plane to 1/16" to 1/8" over finished thickness and let it rest another week. Check to make sure it's still flat, joint it again if necessary, and plane to finished thickness.

Can't help ya there, sorry -- I live in Indianapolis. :-)
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
For a copy of my TrollFilter for NewsProxy/Nfilter, send email to autoresponder at filterinfo-at-milmac-dot-com You must use your REAL email address to get a response.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike) wrote in

www.pals4wood.com several Bay Area locations, including one in the Port of Oakland area. 10 miles south of Handloggers in Richmond. They also have Earthsource as a semi-integrated operation, selling certified woods from the Americas and elsewhere.
They have a couple of different sets of racks in the Oakland store, with some certified woods, and some non-certified woods. One of the folks working there indicated that the S3S in the certified areas was 'milled thicker, for the furniture makers', because the cabinet makers seemed to be shopping primarily on price.
You can pick your own stock, which can be a blessing annd a curse. They do a LOT of volume, and so the racks may be full, or sparse, depending on when you get there. If the bins are empty, you can ask to have them give you access to the stack, or wait until they can fill them up. They are really very nice people, and their prices are quite competitive, even in the low volumes I use. Excellent selection, too.
no affiliation, etc.
Happy sawdust!
Patriarch
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On 9 May 2004 14:38:18 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike) wrote:
-snip-

It is certainly possible to buy 4/4 rough lumber. My last purchase was a little over a thousand board feet of Ash, Red Oak, and White Oak from Roy Anderson Lumber in Tompkinsville, KY. It was all 4/4 Rough FAS and all the boards I've pulled so far measure a little over 1" actual dimension. No problem at all preparing 3/4 or thicker stock.
I realize that KY is pretty far from the Bay Area and am not necessarily suggesting a purchase from them- although I've very pleased and, even with shipping costs, the price on the dock in Wichita was better than anything I could do dealing with local suppliers. You might look for sawmills closer to your neck of the woods.

Can't help you there.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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Mike:
Try Macbeath's again. Their Berkely store sells S2S lumber, but their SF location sells it in the rough. Also do a search in this group for Bay area lumber (use terms like San Francisco, Macbeath, to hit the references).
If you need instructions on woodworking. There is no better place then:
www.woodworkeracademy.com
Good luck!
MJ Wallace
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