Good Day All,
Well...I'm taking the plunge and am going to start buying my lumber
from a lumber yard instead of the borg.
I have figured out how to calculate BF, that wasn't so bad. I am
confused as to what lengths and widths of board I can reasonably
handle. I know there are probably many variables and the archives have
been reasonably helpful, but no real answer.
I will have (about to purchase) a 6" jointer with a 45" bed and a 13"
planer. I have a 10" contractor saw and a 10" chop saw.
The lumber yard seems to have 8' - 12' lengths and 12" widths, setting
skill level aside; can my equipment (I guess specifically my jointer)
handle these lengths? I'm thinking I'm going to have to cross cut the
boards to a more manageable length and then joint rip and plane.
Am I heading in the right direction?
Looking to draw on your wisdom, Sean
I have all those tools, and more. I still don't buy less than S2S lumber,
usually S3S. It's just not worth the time and trouble to joint and thickness
rough lumber when the mill will do it for $.05 a foot. I'd rather spend the
time on the project.
You will find that most lumber will be random widths, usually 3" to 6", with
9"-12" or more bringing a premium price.
For critical work, s3s lumber doesn't usually "cut" it. wood should be
dimensioned and then assembly should follow quickly. Ive seen my share
of warped s3s in lumber yards. Perhaps your needs are not critical?
My lumber yard lets me pick : ) I pass on 50% of the lumber in the stack.
Even what I get isn't 100% perfect, so I sometimes will surface 4/4 or 3/4
S3S to a slightly smaller dimenson. It all depends on what I'm building.
My point was more: Pick your rough stock for a project, and have the yard
thickness it and joint one edge. If you get joy out of making rough ones
into smooth ones, by all means have at it. I have a stockpile of rough
lumber that I bought because the price was right. I'll mill it when I know
what I want to do with it.
I'm with Dave on this one. It's not about the joy. If I did have my supplier
surface my stock it might be weeks before I could mill and assemble all the
pieces (YMMD). It also would not give me the opportunity for stock to
acclimate to my shop conditions.
You just have better quality control (for straight and flat) when you do it
yourself when you need it.
Your way is efficient and is probably perfectly adequate, but in-house
dressing of lumber is likely to yeild flatter stock most of the time.
You didn't address a fundamental property of wood: it MAY warp or bow
within a day or two after being surfaced. Failing to get that "perfect"
part into the project on a timely basis (same day would be nice...) can
result in less than stellar results. Buying the wood "straight" from
the lumberyard guarantees that you aren't constructing your project the
same day the wood was dimensioned.
BTW, I don't mind surfacing my stock. It's easy. Besides, why do you
think I got into this hobby? I could just go to Ikea and forget having
a shop! :) I like turning a piece of rough wood into a suitable portion
of each piece of furniture I make. You talk as if surfacing wood is
some horrible experience to be avoided at all costs. I say it "ain't
no big deal" AND I get great results for my efforts, which again, I must
say, are not laborious.
I grant you that your experience is different.
I'm with you. The guy at the yard that I used recently asked me alot of
questions about my project, my equipment, and my skills, and made a
suggestion that saved me a few cents per board foot. I asked for S3S,
and he offered S2S with on edge "straight cut". I think they have a
table saw set up with a very long fence, which allows them to use it as
a jointer. The result is a slightly rough finish but a straight edge
suitable to ride on the fence of my saw. Didn't have to charge me as
much for the millwork because it's an easier operation than jointing.
I also tend to buy at least S2S lumber for exactly the same reason you
do... (not really a problem to joint and thickness rough lumber ...
BUT it takes way too much time...(and I am retired and have the time)
But back to the original posters question....... I normally will store
lumber in my shop in 6 foot and 4 foot lenghts... or somewhere in
between...over the years Very very few of my projects required lumber
longer then 6 foot and my 24 x 24 foot shop can only "donate":
enough space for 6 or 4 foot lenghts...
Buying from the boxes is expensive...even buying S2S will be
a lot cheaper then from the borg...
Rip those boards to jointable widths, and you are good to go. The sizes
of your equipment are typical of the DIY. I buy boards anywhere from
5-1/2" wide, up to about 11.5". They are all manageable with my 6"
jointer, 13" planer, 10" Unisaw. If you had an 8" jointer, at some
point you'd want one even wider. If I leave a board wider than 6", I can
take care of it by planing, scraping and/or running it through the
planer for light cuts if the board is relatively flat to begin with.
What I lust for at the moment is a 22" drum sander. :)
Yes. And yes, your equipment is perfectly adequate for the task. I recently
upgraded from a 6 to an 8 inch jointer, but only because it was nice to have
both the extra width and length at times, not not necessary
Yes, crosscut to 1" more than you need to start. If, for instance, you had
an 8' board and needed two 4's, if you joint then crosscut, you will loose a
lot of material flattening any bow, and secondly it's pretty hard to joint
an 8' board on a 45" bed and have it come out really flat. So crosscut
If you have pieces wide than 6" rip slightly oversize on the bandsaw. If you
do not have a BS, edge joint the board before ripping on the table saw (it
makes ripping a rough-cut board a little safer). Then go back and face/edge
Rip 3rd edge on the TS, then plane opposite face (or "vise" vera)
If you want to end up with a wide board (e.g. table top), you are going to
end up gluing it up out of multiple <6" boards anyway. Sometimes you may,
however, want a a solid 10" board for something like a big drawer front. In
that case, you can use some combination of face jointing by hand and light
passes in the planer to get things pretty flat.
6" is not that much of a limitation at all. You have the right toys.
Well I have an 8" joiner and a 20" grizzleguts planer. I have not bought
surfaced lumber for 20 years .
Perhaps a few tips that I use would be helpful .
Seldom will you need tp machine a 12" board ,I find it best to cut the rough
sawn material to rough lenths you will be needing on your particular project
.and then mill the wood .
I think I would spend a little extra and get the 8" joiner,Grizzley has
pretty good equipment and reasonable prices . They even have a 20" planer
,not their newest one but one such as I have for a pretty good savings .
With a planer and joiner you can get a straight edge and one surface flat
get the remaining surface flat in the planer rip the piece to slightly
oversize and clean that edge up on the joiner.
For over size boards one option is to rip tyhem down the middle machine the
boards and then woth a good glue joint carfully glue them together..Usually
a little scraping and sanding will produce a good result..
Amother approach for boards wider than the joiner but within the planer
limits is to take a scub plane and a straightedge and roughly clean up one
side of the wide board then run it through the planer. that will expose the
high and low spots on the other side give it the same treatment and run it
again through the planer .Each time you do this you will be getting close to
a perfect board . This is the standard procedure I use when a board is
twisted or badly cupped.
One Thing I should mention is the surfaced material you buy at the
lum;beryard is seldon as advertised what they call 1" or 4 quarter material
was that before surfacing so in fact you end up buying 13/16" material. Even
when buying rough sawn material it is supposed to be cut 1/8 heavy ,even
then if the job requires 1' finished material then I usually buy 5/4 "
material so that I am assured of a an inch finished, and of course roughsawn
I will plane first just to reveal surface then lay out the project
making grain choice primary consideration and then utilization of stock
for least waste.
Then cut to length and surface joint one face for and plane to final
Then you're ready to joint an edge, rip to width and begin joinery.
Obviously, in general...always room for some variation, but that's a
As for equipment, you can easily handle six foot lengths on the
jointer. A supporting table for the chop saw will be extremely useful
as will an outfeed on the saw on occasion.
Sorry for second post, intended to add an additional thought or two...
This has been an ongoing discussion but I personally would recommend the
8" jointer over the 6" if it's at all within your possible budget and
space constraints. The additional width for surface jointing is, imo,
well worth it. Others disagree...
Hardwood is normally random width and depending on specie will vary from
as narrow as 3-4" to as wide as 12" in normal-run stock. Really premium
stuff in some species such as mahogany can occasionally be found in far
wider stock, but that's not the norm.
I am far from being an expert, but it seems to me, the shorter your boards
are, the more waste you have. For example, if you cut a 12' board into 2
6's, for easier handling, you'll inevitably will need a couple of 4' pieces,
and end up wasting as much as 4 feet. I know in drywall that is the case,
always work with 12' sheets.
Real joy is leaving that crap right at the lumber yard and picking up lumber
at your local sawmill, where you can often pick your logs and cuts if you
care to. That way you get the thicknesses you want, and the lengths you can
Your equipment list is about the norm for hobbyist types, though I would go
against conventional "wisdom" and upgrade my ambition to a genuine iron
planer before I would even consider an 8" jointer. The planer will give you
benefit on every board. The number of domestic hardwood boards of 8" or
greater that will not normalize in the planer and thus require a jointer, is
small. Face jointing is required most on boards containing sapwood, which
are normally only 4-6" anyway, as sawing for grade tends to rotate the log
as soon as all sapwood is gone.
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