Skip Planed Lumber - how to finish face surfacing

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Forum topic by tripdip posted 04-23-2010 12:52 AM 22071 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 3498 days

04-23-2010 12:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question planer jointer milling

I have a lumber supply about an hour from me, that sells kiln dried, flat stacked lumber that is “skip planed”.
I understand skip planed lumber has been through a thickness planer, but the face is not fully finished.
I am not clear on how smooth skip planed lumber is. I have not been to the supplier yet.

I own a good thickness planer, but do not yet own a jointer.
I have read articles on using a planer sled to flatten one face, when you don’t have a jointer, but is that necessary with skip planed lumber?

My question:
If the board is flat and without cupping/warping, can I run skip planed lumber through my thickness planer (without a sled) and get a flat face?

If not, then I would either need to use a sled or pay the mill to plane one face…

-- Al, Northern Illinois

6 replies so far

View rhett's profile


743 posts in 4209 days

#1 posted 04-23-2010 02:04 AM

Depends on the application. While it is “ideal” to have perfectly flat lumber, even wood ran over a jointer and then planed will often not stay flat if left to itself. Unless some major twisting etc. is present, if you cut the pieces for your project oversized and then plane them down it should correct most any problem.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View rockom's profile


134 posts in 4413 days

#2 posted 04-23-2010 03:52 AM

If your talking about the Kirkland sawmill, I found it necessary to flatten one face with a jointer and plane the other. A sled on your planer should work. For some projects, you wont need too worry about it. Their prices are so low, take the money your saving and squirrel it away for a jointer.


-- -> Malta, IL -<

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3547 days

#3 posted 04-23-2010 05:09 AM

By skip planing I think they are just getting it to a point where it will stack fairly evenly. It is usually around a thickness of 15/16” if it is skip planed 4/4 lumber. Not trying to make it look good, just making it stack better for transport. It’s just a bit better than rough. You still need to treat it like you do any other lumber.

In the days when I had the shop building cabinets full time, I bought S2S lumber and would expect it to be mostly flat and smooth on both sides. If I was buying 4/4 FAS Red Oak S2S for 2.50 a board foot, I would expecct to pay about 2.15 or less for the same grade skip planed. It would be my labor getting it finished.

I was usually concerned about moving it through the shop quickly. Buy 300 BdFt. 10 foot long boards, straighten the edges, rip to rough width for face frames and be done. No time to joint and flatten boards.

Smaller projects, and now that I have time to spare, I would buy rough or skip planed wood, no problem. Just cut to the approximate length you want to end up with, joint the face, plane the other face flat at the right thickness.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 4357 days

#4 posted 04-23-2010 12:39 PM

Yes, skip planing is just a slight clean-up. It gets the surface to a point where it will drive through a planer better. It also helps expose the grain some. All too often I’ve picked lumber (particularly walnut) thinking it had a certain character only to find out once I started planing it, it was completely different.

So skip planed lumber is good. It saves some of the hassle of having to push stuff through your planer because a board may be too uneven ( the planer drive mech. will do it for you as it should.)

I’ve had to skip plane lumber alot. It can be a real pain.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View millmgr's profile


27 posts in 3654 days

#5 posted 04-27-2010 09:07 PM

Green lumber is typically sawn 1/8” over thickness. As it dries it will shrink depending on the orientation of the grain. Some parts of the board will shrink more than others. Skip planing or Hit/Miss planing planes to a uniform thickness , usually 1/16” below full size. The feed rolls of a roughing planer are tires that do not flatten the board as it goes through like the steel rolls of a cabinet planer.That’s why you will see the center of one side clean and the edges of the back clean. Quality of the finish depends on how sharp the blades are and if the lumber was a little plump or not. Skip planing also removes the rough mill surface that typically has some dust and dirt embedded that tears up jointer and planer knives.
In most cases, you should be able to plane directly from the skip dressed surface. You may also want to rip the board before planing so your planer isn’t doing extra work.

View tripdip's profile


4 posts in 3498 days

#6 posted 04-28-2010 06:59 AM

My first post here.
Thanks for all the fast and good feedback.

-- Al, Northern Illinois

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