making a box from rough sawn wood

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Forum topic by CTGuy posted 09-08-2018 03:58 PM 1188 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 500 days

09-08-2018 03:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question joining

Hello lumberjocks! I have watched this community since a few years already, and I have learnt a lot from all your comments and project posts. I am amazed at the friendliness and cooperation in this group. Keep it up!!
I am a novice amateur woodworker and I enjoy making things when I have the time (not often enough!). I’m helping my son making changes to the old house he bought and we are looking for advice.

We have some boards of rough sawn wood, I think oak. 3 sides are smooth, one side rough. We’d like to turn this board into a fireplace mantle: a simple wooden box made of the mitered boards with the roughs side showing. My worry is that the mitered edges will not line up smoothly: on one face we may have a ridge mating with the valley of the cut on the other face. How do we minimize this? Should we not use mitered edges? Am I over thinking this? We have just enough wood to make the show sides of the mantle, so we need to get this right the first time.

I’m adding pictures of the boards from photobucket in here.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, I’m llooking forward to your comments and suggestions.

7 replies so far

View Aj2's profile


2648 posts in 2400 days

#1 posted 09-08-2018 04:56 PM

You are correct it’s going to be very challenging to miter all the corners and keep the rough sawn faces.
If your dead set on this look then I suggest you buy some wood to practice build with.
It doesn’t have to be oak. But I wouldn’t test on something too soft either.
Wood that’s flat or without twist Is a good start.
I only post this because I liked your salvaged wood and I wish you success.
Good luck

-- Aj

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)


16319 posts in 3220 days

#2 posted 09-08-2018 06:42 PM

My worry is that the mitered edges will not line up smoothly: on one face we may have a ridge mating with the valley of the cut on the other face.

As in, mitered cross cuts and mitered cuts along the edges and ends of the boards… Yes, it will be quite challenging. How long is the mantle going to be, and how long are each of the three boards?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Lazyman's profile


4474 posts in 1989 days

#3 posted 09-08-2018 07:26 PM

If they haven’t been planed on one side, chances are they aren’t straight and flat either. Sight down each long edge and see if you can detect any twist or warp. The sides need to be parallel to each other and at 90° to the flat face as well. If one face and one side are flat and straight, you may be able to fix everything on a table saw. Another problem could be that they are not a uniform thickness. That can be a little more challenging to fix without a planer.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View MrRon's profile


5807 posts in 3845 days

#4 posted 09-09-2018 05:41 PM

You could miter the corners at an angle less than 45° as shown in the sketch, using the 2×2 as a back up. That way the rough edges will come together without the heels of the joint wanting to open the joint. You may then glue/nail the boards to the back up block.

View WyattCo's profile


93 posts in 706 days

#5 posted 09-09-2018 09:00 PM

This is a keepsake box I made last year for a customer. It is reclaimed pine that came from a building with historical significance. The lumber is approximately 130 years old. They wanted the original saw marks left in tact. All the joinery is miters.

View Aj2's profile


2648 posts in 2400 days

#6 posted 09-09-2018 10:27 PM

Well there’s your answer right there ^ send your wood to Wyattco. He can get it done

-- Aj

View CTGuy's profile


2 posts in 500 days

#7 posted 09-12-2018 02:41 AM

AJ and Lazyman, the wood was planed, but it has been sitting for a while and at least one board developed a bit of a bow. Time to start practicing. I have some pine and maple I can use.
Smitty, I forgot the exact measurements, but it’s a good 5 foot long and I’d say the boards are more that 7 foot. So it’‘shone shot deal for the long pieces.
Mr Ron thanks for the suggestion, that may help keep everything in place.
WyattCo your box is beautiful and you give me hope it will be feasible. How did you finish your box?

Thank you all for your comments.

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