The right way to prepare lumber

Hi, I am a new (wannabe) woodworker. I have recently aquired a jointer and planer. The few boards I have prepared so far were done in 4 steps (information I got from searching the "wreck"):
1.) face joint 2.) edge joint 3.) plane 4.) rip
With my limited experience, I was very interested in Glen Huey's recent article in PW. This was a very good article and I feel I learned from it. I am hoping that I can get one thing clarified for me. His sequence is:
1.) edge joint 2.) rip 3.) face joint 4.) plane 5.) edge joint (again) 6.) rip (again)
I understand that if one does this sequence, why it is necessary to repeat edge jointing and ripping (steps 5 and 6) for the stock to be square. What I would like to understand is how the 6-step method squares stock better than the 4-step. Or, what is the reason that the 4-step fails to square stock? Thanks in advance. Bob
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I don't see anything gained by first edge jointing and ripping; it seems like a waste of time and wood. You have to do it again because the first time probably isn't square to the face. Doesn't Huey give an explanation?
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In the opening paragraph, the author states: "But what you do, how you do it, and in what order you do it will influence the project from start to finish, and will make your projects run smoother." No reason is given for why he takes the steps he does.
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I don't like edge jointing a wavy board. Can you guess why?? :)
Dave
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That's one way, yes. The order isn't written in stone, though. 2 must precede 4, and 1 must precede 2 and 3 (hence 4 also). So the order 1-3-2-4 works also.

Because it's the next thing to impossible to joint a face square to an already-jointed edge -- the edge is just too small a surface to be able to reference it accurately against the fence. To get the edge and face square, it is imperative to joint the face first, then square the edge to the face.

It doesn't.

It doesn't.
In my opinion, the *only* reason for doing the six-step procedure listed above is if you're working with stock that's too wide for your jointer. In that case, you want to rip it into pieces narrow enough for the jointer and then edge-glue it back together -- and you'd better edge-joint it first before ripping it, or else your rip cut(s) won't be straight.
Note that if the stock is not pretty close to flat already (not twisted or cupped), trying to rip it on a table saw can be quite dangerous. It's better to use a band saw for the rip cuts. It's better still to use stock that's already nearly flat... but the world is often an imperfect place. :-)
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rjdankert wrote:

In the sequence above, the first edge joint was done before the face jointing, so it isn't necessarily pependicular to the face. Ditto for the ripped edge.
One major problem with the suggested technique is that you can't safely rip twisted boards on a tablesaw. With a bandsaw it would work.
It really doesn't matter what order you use, as long as you get there in the end. I think the following pattern makes the most sense:
face joint plane edge joint (because you planed first, you can now put either face against the fence) rip
Of course, all of this works most efficiently if you trim the rough board close to the dimensions that you'll need before doing any of the above. That way you don't need to remove as much wood.
You might want to read "Flat, Straight and Square: Simple milling sequence yields true stock", in FWW #102.
Chris
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Ditto. The 4-step is just fine. keep doing that.

Agreed.
I think that is the point of the 6-step method... to get the board closer to size, which I agree is generally a good thing. Any time you can manipulate a smaller workpiece it is easier to get accurate results. Pushing an 8', 45lb. board over anything but a really big jointer requires specific attention to technique and a bit grunting.
However, the safest way to rough cut potentially twisted stock is with a bandsaw.
There is an additional benefit to the band saw as well. If the grain swoops through the board (or is diagonal to the original edge) and you finished pieces are relatively small, you mark out your rough cuts parallel to the grain rather than parallel to the edge of the original board. Rough cut with the bandsaw then proceed with the 4-step method.
If you don't have a band saw, a jig saw will work for this as well.
Cheers,
Steve
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I didn't see the article you mentioned, but I've seen lots of articles that use the 4 step method you list first. It's the customary and accepted way of doing it. The only thing I could add, is if you know what you are building, cut to rough length before milling. Does the author give any reason in the article for that sequence? Seems to me, in the case of twisted or bowed lumber, it might not even work. If somehow you were able to joint a straight edge onto a twisted board, (I know, I know, hand plane would do it) how could it then be ripped accurately, when it wouldn't even lay flat on the table saw?
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rjdankert wrote:

I like to do this on good condition boards:
1.) Rough cut to length 2.) face joint 3.) plane 4.) edge joint 5.) rip
Why? With both faces surfaced, it's easier to pick the "keeper" edge and choose a direction of travel for edge jointing, and I have either face available to face the jointer fence.
If the board is twisted or badly cupped, I'll get it closer to final size with the band saw (ripping) or hand planes (cups & twist correction), before step 2.
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I agree with this. If the board is face and edge jointed before planing, the chance is there for that jointed edge to get out of shape during the planing, requiring re jointing. Why do it twice?

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I don't understand how that can happen. One face is jointed, and an edge is jointed to be perpendicular to that face. The planer makes the other face parallel to the jointed face (an consequently also perpendicular to the previously jointed edge). How does that affect the previously jointed edge? Unless, of course, you are talking about releasing tension in an improperly dried or reaction wood board, in which case all bets are off on any easily described order of proceeding.
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alexy wrote:

That edge can hit the internal fences or guides in the planer, or you can bump the edge in the process of maneuvering around the planer.
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Well, sure, just like you can bump one of your planed faces on your way back to the jointer. By "getting out of shape", I thought he was talking about the basic shape (plane) formed in the jointing operation.
BTW, your reasoning makes sense to me if you can't clearly see the grain on the faces before machining. If the initially jointed face shows that with that face against the fence, either edge will be against the grain, then planing the other side to use as reference face against the fence seems to be the only way to do it. If the grain is visible before machining, I just mark its direction, and choose the face to joint that face will allow me to joint the first edge properly.
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I use the same philosophy prepping wood as I do metal (my day job). Do all roughing work first, before any finish cuts. Any finish cuts done prior to roughing another surface may or may not remain true. If they do, great. If they don't, you have to do it again. Why take the chance? I don't own a jointer nor do I want one. Don't need it. My sequence of operations is: rough plain (hand) one face if needed. Rough plain edges if seriously out (bark on, ect). Send them through the planer and plane to size. Finish plane one edge. Rip opposite edge.
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Top posting fixed so that exchange flows naturally.

Aha, that's an added variable, and I absolutely agree. If your jointing is by plane, I definitely would wait on the edges until both faces are flat and parallel because both faces need to register to the two faces of your vise. I still don't envision how the planing operation could make a previously jointed edge no longer true, but I'd definitely follow your order for hand jointing.
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Well, whatever you have to say, I won't see it. You have just now done what bottom posters seem so good at. Putting everything in such an order that you have to wade through the garbage to get there. I'm not in the mood for wading. Plonk.
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Wow! I went back to the message in question, and see exactly what you mean. I had to push the page down key ONCE to get to the new text I added to the message. What an extraordinary effort, and how inconsiderate of me to put my text in such an order to create such an inordinate waste of your valuable time. My humblest apologies.
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That's the way I do it. The order of steps 2 and 3 could probably be reversed, but as long as I am at the jointer...

I'd switch 4 and 5 (for convenience while working at the jointer)

I don't think it does. Be interested to see any other responses you get.

The only rationale I see for the first two steps is to get a board of approximate width (or maybe remove crook) before the standard 4-step process. E.g., if you want to prepare a two-inch wide board and have some 7" wide rough stock, the first two steps could be used to get a piece of 2.25" wide rough stock with parallel, straight, but maybe twisted edges from which you would prepare stock using the standard 4-step process.
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snip
Depending on several variables, the 1-4 sequence may work fine. First variable, Jointer size. If you have a 10" board and a 6" jointer then you may have to face joint the board with your 12" planer and a sled or rip it to 2-5" boards on the bandsaw....
Oh heck, the list of variables goes on and on. There is no one perfect step for every condition. I generally use the 1-4 method but switch it up from time to time.
Bottom line is be safe, conserve as much wood as possible, avoid repeating steps and above all, have fun and make something nice!
Dave
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