Should I try to resaw this reclaimed oak, or just plane it down?


So....
I've got some pieces of red oak that I'm planning to build a spice rack out of. It's reclaimed barn lumber, originally rough-sawn to about an inch thick or a little more. I don't have very much of it, because the barn is in Virginia, and I'm in California, and I couldn't get all that much in my airplane luggage!
So the design for the spice rack is based off one my brother built, which used half-inch by three-inch boards to make a box 16" wide by 30" tall, with shelves every six inches.
My dilemma is this: making half-inch boards out of one-inch boards with the planer seems like a waste of good lumber. And, also, if I don't do any resawing, I've got just enough lumber to make the shelf; no leftovers to practice on and see how the wood behaves. So it's very tempting to take the three thickest shelf boards (which measure out at about 9/8ths), and figure taking an eighth-inch off each side to get rid of the weathered part, and then resaw them down the middle, taking out another eighth-inch of kerf and leaving me with two 3/8" boards, and then adapt the plan to use 3/8" boards instead of 1/2" ones.
The trick to this, of course, is that I've not done any resawing before, so I don't know if I can get a good enough cut with the shop's bandsaw to only end up taking 1/8" out of the middle once it's all been planed smooth. And, as I said, if the resawing doesn't work out, that means that I need all the wood I've got, so I can't plan to practice on one board and discard it if it doesn't work.
So, is trying to do resawing like this a reasonable idea, or am I being silly to think it will work? What's the usual amount of wastage along the saw-line that's expected from resawing?
(For what it's worth, these boards are pretty solid; they were under a metal-and-tarpaper roof, and crosscuts on the ends show only a very thin layer of discoloration. They're not like the piece of 1"x14" that I got from the side of the barn, which had beautiful straight grain, absolutely no warpage -- and weathering so deep that there was no more than 1/4" of solid wood left.)
Thanks for any advice! - Brooks
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If it were me, I'd resaw it. Try to get to know the bandsaw a little bit by practicing on 2x4's or other oak if possible, to see which direction it tends to drift, and set the fence angle appropriately. At that point, the kerf should be less than 1/8, but it'll probably leave some definite marks, which you'll need to plane or sand or scrape down (I've been enjoying hand planing and card scraping to get rid of bandsaw marks for the last few days). So yes, I think it's reasonable, but I'd try to find some scrap to practice on first. I'd hate to plane away a half inch of old, nice oak also... My first real woodworking project was a stepstool with reclaimed American chestnut for the steps, and I didn't waste a bit of that board - I still have a few little scraps around. Good luck, Andy
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Andy wrote:

Thanks to all three of you who replied and unanimously suggested that I try resawing this. I just got a chance to spend the afternoon in the shop today, and apparently today was my lucky day -- the bandsaw was already set up with a 1/2" 4tpi blade, and it cut a test piece straight enough that I didn't even need to angle the fence!
I did have a couple of small "learning experiences" on the first oak board I cut -- particularly about being careful not to lean the board (our fence is pretty short) and not let it wander away from the fence. But I think those pieces will still be usable and, if not, I have leftovers -- one of the advantages of resawing the boards is that I have twice as many as I thought I had, so I think I've got enough to build a door (as Ed suggested) _and_ have leftovers!
The rest of the boards after the practice one resawed pretty nicely -- a few little wobbles on a couple, but nothing serious.
Now I just have to wait for someone to fix the planer! I got the resawed boards all jointed on two sides ready to plane, and discovered that the planer's out of alignment so things get stuck instead of going through....
- Brooks
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Now Everything will look like it needs resawing! :o)
Glad it worked out.
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Lobby Dosser wrote:

Yeah, I noticed that! I had to stop myself from sawing up the extra board that I didn't need to make shelves out of....

Thanks! I'll post pictures when it's done.
- Brooks
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I'd resaw. 3/8" is plenty strong enough for a spice rack. I'd also put door on it to keep the spices out of sunlight so they last longer
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By all means, Resaw. But practice first. Buy or scrounge a couple bits of oak to practice on or, failing that, use a 'similar' wood. It helps if you have a good bandsaw blade that is designed for resaw. Half inch or wider and 3-4 TPI skiptooth. Google 'resaw technique' for tips on fences, drift, barelling and so on.
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