I am a newbie to woodworking. I have acess to free rough cut oak boards
from a flooring manufacturer. My dad brought me some 2.5 inch wide 1
inch thick and verying lengths long. I also have some wider boards.
Can a true flat edge be achieved with one of those hand planers or a
hand planer that plugs into the wall? I would love a jointer but Not
sure if I could afford it and then I would probably still need a
Is this wood good for anything. It is all oak, I think white.
With a good manual jointer plane you can achieve a relatively flat surface.
Typically the electric ones are too short to easily get a flat surface. The
delema however is that not even a full size electric jointer is the proper
tool for flattening the opposite side of the board. Flattening the opposite
side of the board is normally done with a thickness planer.
I would love a jointer but Not
Absolutely. Great sizes for face frame material for cabinets and cabinet
door rails and stiles.
A hand plane, yes (the cordless variety that was been around for a couple
hundred years). People used that technique for a long time quite
successfully. It does, however, require much more sweat, and skill (not just
use but sharpening and tuning). You also need a good holding mechanism to
secure your work, usually, this is a traditional bench.
Low-tech has its place, but it's not necessarily a really big money saver.
As for the plug-in variety, it's really a different animal. It's designed to
true up the jack studs in the rough opening for a door or window
installation. It's not what you want for this application.
Look for a post from JOAT about jointing with a planer. That narrows down
to one tool until you can ju$tify $pending for both. Forget the hand
electric planer. There are hand planes made for jointing the way it was
done long before electricity was invented. They will cost about 1/3 the
price of a 6" jointer.
Any free wood is good wood. At 2 1/2" you will have to do more glue ups but
it can be done and you can make all sorts of things that way. It is
possible to make entire projects with no wood wider than a couple of inches.
Conservative pundits claim Edwin Pawlowski said he invented electricity.
But it's not true. I think he said he played a role in the creation of
it (while rubbing his sneakers on the carpet?).
Both edges and faces were joined/planed (straightened/flattened) by hand
long before electricity was around. Takes time and practice. And the
longer the plane the better. Even if you later get power tools,
learning to do it by hand is a good thing. Trouble is, good hand planes
have gotten ridiculously expensive. I built all sorts of stuff - both
big and small - with just hand tools long before I got stationary power
You can also do the edges with a router or saw by clamping a straight
edge (like the factory edge of plywood) to the board and using it as a
guide to trim your board.
Sure, it's good for all sorts of stuff. White oak is strong, flexible
and reasonably rot resistant. It also looks better - not great but
better - than red oak IMO. It is a nice wood.
One thing you should *NOT* do is use iron/steel fasteners with it...oak
is acidic and the reaction with the iron causes black stain. Use solid
(not plated) stainless steel, bronze or brass. The strongest is SS,
next is bronze, brass is quite weak but looks nice.
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You have nice wood at the best price there is. But first settle on what
you want to make before you decide which tool(s) to buy.
Jointers and planers are great but they're not cheap, as you know. So
turn your lack of funding into a virtue: build things that will show
well with a hand-tooled look. Whether picture frames or table tops or
boxes, there is a certain appeal to a textured, almost wavy hand planed
surface. I don't mean to suggest that you should do all your planing by
hand (though you certainly could), it's just that you can speed up the
process by using one of those electric hand planers if only to clean up
the sawmill marks on your rough stock and then turn to a decent hand
plane or two for edge jointing and a hand scraper for finish work. I
guess what I'm driving at is don't aim for machine made perfection
unless and until you can afford all the machines that permit it to
happen. Where some see imperfection, others see art.
These are probably already quite flat, but their surface is rough. You
can smooth them with a hand plane, like a Stanley #4 or #5 (cheap off
eBay, search this group for buying advice). Generally a longer plane is
used for flattening, a short plane for final smoothing. For true
"jointing" (putting accurate edges on things so you can glue them
together) than a long #7 plane is used.
Don't use a hand held electric planer. These are a tool of very limited
usefulness, because their power far outstrips their control. They're
usually a good way to cut divots in your timber, unless you're very
practiced in using one.
A thickness planer is worth buying when you have the space and money.
This is really the tool for turning cheap timber into usable materials.
They can pay for themselves quickly, if you're doing a lot of work and
have access to cheap rough timber.
Another technique is to choose what you're making. A bit of medieval
reproduction looks much harder than it really is to make, and the tools
are very simple.
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