LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner

How dimensioned is dimensioned enough..

1735 Views 16 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  mattg
This is really a followup to a tweet by @AdamKingStudio regarding what the biggest problem we encounter is and mine is the dimensioning of long boards.

I butt up against the desire to keep my boards as thick as possible but still having them sufficiently jointed that their being less than perfectly flat and square doesn't cause me problems. So how do you guys approach this?

As a current example, I have a 7' board that will act as the bottom stretcher in the sideboard I'm building. It's a 4/4 board but it probably has about 1/2" of bow to it when laid flat. So I'd end up with a 1/4" board if I jointed it perfectly flat but obviously most of that bow can be clamped out of it, but doing so also alters the dimensions a bit… See what I'm getting at?

A bit rambling I know but hopefully you get the jist of what I'm getting at, so how do you guys deal?
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
I'll try to dimension it as little as possible as to not lose too much material - but still try to aim for perfect flatness, in the example you describe, this might be impossible - but in that example since the board is really long - it might be possible indeed to clamp/brace it in someway to counter that bow. with a bow its somewhat easier to brace than a twist though…

I guess my point is that it might work different in different scenario, with different boards and designs. but what do I know?!?
Hey Damian
There are some tricks to wedging wood when sending it through a planner but I doubt that will help here.
the best thing I can come up with is to cut the board were the bow is and you might take the biggest part of the bow out of the wood and of course it won't be usable for the use you bought it for. I've had boards with twist in them that I was able to rip the biggest part of the twist of (on the band saw) and plane the rest down to what i needed.So ultimately you have a choice of saving the thickness and not the length or vice versa.
I think being a cheapskate is part of my problem as I usually buy just enough wood for my projects so I don't have a lot of wiggle room when it comes down to construction time; I should also probably buy 5/4 instead of 4/4 for the longer pieces, but that goes against my cheapskate nature :)
I think we all try and get as much out of our lumber as possible but a little extra material can save more trips to our lumber supplier and keep our project going.
I think we all try and get as much out of our lumber as possible but a little extra material can save more trips to our lumber supplier and keep our project going.

Excellent point Jim….when ever I do a project…I ALWAYS buy a few more boards of differing sizes for those "Uh-Oh" moments…..but even when I do not need them, they do not go to waste, I just figure what I have extra into another project and go from there.
Good point Don, you are welcome at my lumber yard anytime. I would by a flat piece for this project and save the bowed board for smaller ones. Sometimes when you try to make Lemonade from something other than lemons…...... you get…....... something else..
Just read your profile….Man I wish I lived closer to you !!!! I would love to have my own lumber yard…Of course if I did…I would probably go broke because I would not want to sell any of the "Good Stuff" lol.
Hi Damian;

Get a different board. Not what you want to hear, but that's pretty much what it boils down to.

You could play around with dampening the inside of the curve, causing it to expand. The problem is the moisture is, (or was when it was drying), unequal causing the board to cup.

To get this right could take a lot of time, so I would go for door number one… new board.

New board indeed! That would be far too easy :)
Damian: Listen to Lee, he hasn't led me wrong. I called him on the phone one day and he was in his car. I was going to ask him about bookmatching veneer. I told him I needed about 5 minutes of his time. He answered in 3 seconds and said what else are we going to talk about. I knew the answer but I was hoping I was wrong and wanted Lee to tell me it was OK to do it differently.

He's a guy that makes a living with his work, make it wrong and he loses customers. I'd go with get another board. The current one is not lost, it will just be used in a different porject at a different time.
I think getting a new board is the best solution… but like you Damian, I was hoping there's a chance somewhere, someone would be able to magically offer a solution to cut the cost, and make with what's at hand…
Did you buy the board warped or did it warp after you bought it?
Karson - I'm well aware of how good Lee is at this stuff :)

With regards a magic solution though I did try my rip it on the bandsaw and glue it back together idea and that did work.. Not suitable for all applications obviously but it did work.

(I see a trip to the lumberyard in my future…)
Damian: I just posted a blog that referenced yours and is a little different question. I was going to ask it on your blog but decided to start a different one.
Warped wood is warped wood. If it warps, it wants to. I you try to straighten it (after milling), it will want to warp in whatever you put it in. Sounds like a good way to build in quality issues.

I prefer to build with wood that wants to stay straight naturally.

You know I've always wondered about that. My solution in my head is to resaw that board in half, or in thirds, then glue them back flat using your tablesaw as the flat reference(clamp it to your tablesaw). I don't know if you could do the whole 7' board, but I've always wondered about it. Just a thought!

1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.