Straight-lining Stock


It's common practice to have material straight-lined at the lumber dealers; they've got that big hulking machine I could never afford. And they've never charged too much for the service, but then I found out that wasn't so true. I had ordered a bunk of oak from my very reputable dealer and they brought it right out. As it was skidded into the shop, I notice a bunch of narrow boards across the top, so I have a look and the whole pile is a bunch of narrow rails. I had their salesman out that afternoon to see what I had. One of those guys that had never swung a hammer. He couldn't see anything wrong, that's just the way it came. His company couldn't be responsible, I should accept what they had sent...conditions of the market. I said, look buddy, the operator straight-lined every piece down the middle of the board. That can't be, he says, spewing more gobble-dee-gook. The first piece I flipped over matched up to its mate...and it took him two seconds to get his mind straight. I followed him down to his shop and picked out a pile of sticks I wanted and walked along as it went into the milling room. The operators at the straight-line could move and barely had one stick disappeared into the machine before another had taken its place. A whole thousand board foot was done in the matter of a few minutes. But there at the side of the machine was ten or fifteen percent of my material, now designated scrap...No wonder the men had adopted to cut the boards down the middle, no scrap to pick up. And that was the last time I paid for that service. My first solution worked well enough. I made an eight foot sled out of HDPB, laid in an oak runner; then drilled a series of holes across the width about six foot apart, where I could position dowels to hold the board in relation to the blade on my table saw. I could cut ten-foot goods, which was what I was buying anyway. I did the whole bunk, and I still had a pile of scrap, but figured it was under five percent. And I was satisfied. But, you know how it is; along came this pile that had an exaggerated warp and I notice I'm taking off whole corners to get a straight line...well, think about it. As cabinetmakers, we know that 90% of the component parts of any set of boxes is less than four feet long, and the next step in any process was cutting to length anyway. I determined from that point on to reverse the process. Well, it turned out better than that. Unless you can afford the good stuff, oak has its share of natural defects. I began sectioning the boards according to their own merit. My straight-lining was reduced down to virtually sawdust. I could stack and store according to length, and I ended up having less cut scrap at the end of each job. I'm telling ya boys, this one's a winner...a real skinned cat. daclark
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"daclark" wrote in message

Rule #1 ... let your salesman know the intended use before SLR, even if you have to slap him upside the head to get his attention.
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Last update: 6/21/06
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Your story certainly makes me wary of getting anything jointed at the mill! The last order I made was 100 bf of ash, and I had them surface 2 sides (which I cannot do anyway), and I left the edges rough. I straighten the first edge with a good 8 foot straightedge jig of MDF and circular saw (with good blade of course!) I think this will be the way of doing it for now.
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Hello, this essay was originally posted on a number of sites, and attracted quite a bit of comment. It became too much to track the comments and remember what had been said where, so I've relocate to a central location I have established a new group for the discussion of the craft trades; woodworking, metalworking, sculpture, glassworks, pottery, etcetera; and the topic of apprenticeship in the inherent occupations of man. If you would like to join this group of professionals, as well as novices, in the discussion of the craft trades...use the link below. The site will be moderated to keep the junk out. No off topic postings, no sales gimmicks, and no trashing the other guy's opinion... daclark
http://groups.google.com/group/senior-apprentice
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Hello, this essay was originally posted on a number of sites, and attracted quite a bit of comment. It became too much to track the comments and remember what had been said where, so I've relocate to a central location I have established a new group for the discussion of the craft trades; woodworking, metalworking, sculpture, glassworks, pottery, etcetera; and the topic of apprenticeship in the inherent occupations of man. If you would like to join this group of professionals, as well as novices, in the discussion of the craft trades...use the link below. The site will be moderated to keep the junk out. No off topic postings, no sales gimmicks, and no trashing the other guy's opinion... daclark
http://groups.google.com/group/senior-apprentice
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