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Blog entry by MsDebbieP posted 12-14-2013 10:16 AM 2155 reads 0 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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December 14/13

Hendrik Varju is a well known furniture designer/craftsman who operates “Passion for Wood” near Toronto, Canada. He also offers woodworking courses and seminars and has been widely published in woodworking magazines in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. In 2007, Hendrik started producing DVD courses and he has offered to provide some of them as prizes in Lumberjocks’ contests. You can see the full list of all of Hendrik’s DVD courses here

This week, the prize is Hendrik’s first DVD course called “Jointer and Planer Secrets”.
It is over 4 1/2 hours long and focuses on how to use your jointer and planer effectively to mill four-square lumber. It also has a long and detailed bonus section on edge gluing solid wood panels. You can read more about this 2-DVD set here:
It is valued at Cdn. $64.95 + taxes and shipping.


To enter this contest, just post a comment giving your answer to this question: “In your opinion, what is your biggest secret to successfully milling four-square lumber?” Post a comment before Friday, Dec. 20/13 and Hendrik will choose his favourite answer. Then we’ll let you know how to claim your prize. Hendrik will ship it directly to your home at no cost to you.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

33 comments so far

View ScottKaye's profile


769 posts in 2460 days

#1 posted 12-14-2013 11:50 AM

“In your opinion, what is your biggest secret to successfully milling four-square lumber?”

In my case, that would most definetely be LUCK! But in all seriousness, you need to start with a REALIABLE SQUARE! I have the Incra 7” square and its absolutely dead on 90 degrees inside and outside. You cant mill a rough cut board to S4S if your equipment doesnt start out square in the first place.

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View stefang's profile


16730 posts in 3842 days

#2 posted 12-14-2013 11:51 AM

The technique for taking twist out of lumber. That is, hold down on the high corner at the start and slowly transferring the weight over to the other side so as to end the cut on the other (opposite) high corner.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 3183 days

#3 posted 12-14-2013 12:02 PM

Start off with flat square lumber to begin with, close to the size you need.

Don’t buy a 1×12 and rip it in to 5 – 1×2s… 1×4s or 1×2s.

I just don’t like messing with straightening badly twisted boards when you don’t know if they’re done twisting.

One Christmas, I built a series of figured walnut jewelry boxes made from a salvaged antique dresser and all the lids re-warped. All 8 of them – from the same piece of gorgeous walnut I had to use. Big mistake.

I’ve ripped 1×12s in half and one side will be warped due to inside tension release.

Also, have the lumber mill laser cut one side straight for free. Big help right from the start.

I guess that means I prefer to work with tension free wood. We get along much better that way.

View bondogaposis's profile


5540 posts in 2859 days

#4 posted 12-14-2013 12:44 PM

I think the secret to milling four square lumber after selecting the lumber is to get one face true and flat. For table legs I look for rift sawn wood with straight grain. I use a hand plane to true up the first face because I don’t yet have a jointer. Then mill the other faces using the first face as a reference, typically on the table saw. Then move to the thickness planer to plane to final dimension.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1906 posts in 2477 days

#5 posted 12-14-2013 01:03 PM

The secret to milling four-square lumber is grain direction. That is most important, doesn’t mean I know which way grain direction is though…....

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View BigFoot Products Canada's profile

BigFoot Products Canada

711 posts in 3901 days

#6 posted 12-14-2013 01:12 PM

“In your opinion, what is your biggest secret to successfully milling four-square lumber?”

Well I’d have to say my biggest secret (of course it won’t be a secret anymore) will be when I win
“Hendrik’s first DVD course called “Jointer and Planer Secrets” and utilize his techniques..:)

View DIYaholic's profile


19861 posts in 3183 days

#7 posted 12-14-2013 01:39 PM

I haven’t ANY secrets….

Even though I have a Ridged jointer & a DW735 Planer….
I have never face planed or edge jointed!!!

I really need to learn the proper technique for the jointer!!!

There you go, I’ve no secrets, or skills!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Bogeyguy's profile


548 posts in 2576 days

#8 posted 12-14-2013 01:51 PM

“In my opinion, what is the biggest secret to successfully milling four-square lumber?”
(1) A quality joiner large enough to accommodate the lumber you will be face and edge joining. A joiner that has flat tables, a square fence and sharp blades. A quality planer for good surface planning.
(2) Face planning to remove twists, bows on the joiner leaving a bottom flat surface to feed thru the planer and then thickness planning so the 2 face surfaces are flat to each other.
(3) Setting joiner fence square to the table, joining 1 edge, ripping the unjoined edge on the table saw and joining the cut end. This should result in an S4S piece of lumber.

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View Roger's profile


21011 posts in 3312 days

#9 posted 12-14-2013 02:13 PM

My take is very simple: take your time, take a little at a time (1/32”). It takes a bit longer, but, hey who’s watchin the clock. Plus, it’s a lot safer, and you get better results

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View ChuckV's profile


3237 posts in 4035 days

#10 posted 12-14-2013 02:29 PM

I try to remove equal amounts of wood from the two faces.

I often mill the pieces about 1/16” over the target thickness. Then I sticker the pieces and let them sit for a few days. During that time, there could be some movement. Having that extra 1/16” in thickness lets me straighten them back out on the jointer and planer.

If I resaw the pieces, I leave more extra thickness and let them sit for longer. There is often significant movement to be cleaned up after exposing the inside of the board via resawing.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4908 days

#11 posted 12-14-2013 03:00 PM

“In your opinion, what is your biggest secret to successfully milling four-square lumber?”

I would have to say having sharp tools that you are able to control. You get one flat side trued up and then joint the edge to get a perfect 90 deg. Then use a thickness planer to get it to the right thickness and saw to the correct width.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

580 posts in 2885 days

#12 posted 12-14-2013 03:01 PM

The secret for a new woodworker like myself is making sure I get educated on how to mill lumber before I start using all the proper resources I can find on the topic, including but not limited to wonderful DVDs on jointer and planer usage.

-- Matt, Arizona,

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3651 days

#13 posted 12-14-2013 03:04 PM

My secret would be to use smaller pieces of wood. At present I have a benchtop jointer, and it’s simply unrealistic to expect success on a 3 ft. long board. If I need longer materials, I pay the extra and buy s4s. This will change once I refurbish a Delta floor model that I haven’t had the time for. At present the infeed table is not parallel with the outfeed, but I think some shims will take care of that. Shims and time!

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Ripthorn's profile


1459 posts in 3493 days

#14 posted 12-14-2013 04:26 PM

Use hand tools to take down localized twist or high spots in otherwise straight boards before using the powered tools. I tried to do it all with powered tools once and ended up with boards too thin for what I wanted to do.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 4104 days

#15 posted 12-14-2013 05:23 PM

To own a planer and jointer.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

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