LumberJocks

Milling Lumber to 3/4"

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by TuckerFan posted 10-27-2018 09:54 PM 780 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TuckerFan's profile

TuckerFan

29 posts in 2697 days


10-27-2018 09:54 PM

As I start my most involved project to date, (I need to lose the tag of “beginning woodworker”), I bought approximately 80 board feet of 4/4 of (what I hope to be beautiful) walnut. As I selected it at the seller’s, my more-experienced woodworking buddy helped me choose the better pieces. Here’s my dilemma.

I would like to mill the majority of the walnut to 3/4”. When I milled the first board square on all four sides using my jointer and planer, I realized it was going to be considerably less than 3/4” thick. In fact, it’s much closer to 5/8”. I was taking just slightly less than 1/32” on each pass. It just took that many passes until the entire length of the board was effected by the jointer. Each end, (about 2”-3”), was left untouched after the first few passes, as were a couple of places 4 or so feet and then again at about 7 feet in the length of the board.

What should I do? Should I stop jointing and planing at 3/4” regardless whether the entire length of the board has been jointed and planed? Should I rip-cut the cupped boards first, mill them four-square, then glue them together again? Should I mill them until the entire length of the boards have been milled on both faces and one edge, then glued the faces together to assure I have at least 3/4” thick of milled stock? Other methods? I have checked my books, YouTube, and a couple of buddies but with no luck.

Again, the boards appeared to be high quality boards to begin with…(not something that was twisted, cupped, and bowed so much that I wanted to use them for toothpicks!)

Thank you for your feedback!

-- I...I..have a...a...wood problem


17 replies so far

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 909 days


#1 posted 10-27-2018 10:13 PM

I’m not sure exactly what you mean by the ‘effected by the jointer’? Where you face jointing it, or did you mean you were planing it? The reason I’m asking as normally, you would expect to lose more in the planer on the thickness.

If you’re losing that much, it sounds like you had a lot of cupping and/or bowing. Is that the case?

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1325 posts in 2371 days


#2 posted 10-27-2018 10:16 PM

You should carefully consider the final dimensions of the pieces you need when you are surfacing your raw stock. For example, an 8’ board might have a very subtle twist in it along the length. Trying to eliminate that with the joiner and then planer might result in the loss of a lot of the thickness. If you do not require any 8’ finished boards, you could cross cut the same board to shorter lengths and then do the surfacing. You won’t need to remove as much to achieve the same flat surfaces.

View TuckerFan's profile

TuckerFan

29 posts in 2697 days


#3 posted 10-27-2018 10:21 PM

Sorry for the confusion. I didn’t make it very clear.

By “effected by the jointer” I mean that after just 3-4 passes a large majority of the board had been jointed, with the exception of the first and last 2”-3” and two spots about the size of my hand…well, a very large hand. Most of the material that I lost, I think, was at the jointer. I only needed to run it through the planer 2 or three times.

Yes, I was face jointing it.

Am I expecting too much to think that I could mill 3/4” thick from 4/4”?

-- I...I..have a...a...wood problem

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8673 posts in 2995 days


#4 posted 10-27-2018 10:26 PM

View TuckerFan's profile

TuckerFan

29 posts in 2697 days


#5 posted 10-27-2018 10:26 PM

Thanks, Kazooman. I just assumed I should mill the full length before I start crosscutting. (I must have read that somewhere…never had an original thought in my woodshop yet!)

That helps.

-- I...I..have a...a...wood problem

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1325 posts in 2371 days


#6 posted 10-27-2018 10:29 PM


Am I expecting too much to think that I could mill 3/4” thick from 4/4”?

- TuckerFan

Not in my experience, if the 4/4 is good quality. It all depends on the individual piece of stack. Even a subtle twist adds up over the length of an 8’ board. Trying to eliminate it at the jointer can cost a lot of thickness. Again, my comments come to bear there. A 2’ long piece of 4/4 stock is easier to mill into a perfect piece of 3/4 lumber than a 8’ piece. It is not clear just what your final target is. If you do not need 8’ lengths of perfect lumber, don’t prep it that way.

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 909 days


#7 posted 10-27-2018 10:30 PM

You should absolutely be able to get 3/4 out of a 4/4 board, in fact that’s the standard for a 4s4 board.

As Kazooman was saying, you need to look at what you need, and you should cut close to those dimensions. In addition, you should always expect to lose the first few inches from a rough board due to cracking, dirt, and other imperfections. It also helps if you lie the board on a flat surface, such as your bench and get an idea of what you’re dealing with in terms of cupping and bowing. You can then, plan your cuts based on this.

Edit: I just saw what Waho609 posted with the winding sticks. This is an excellent idea.

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1325 posts in 2371 days


#8 posted 10-27-2018 10:35 PM



Thanks, Kazooman. I just assumed I should mill the full length before I start crosscutting. (I must have read that somewhere…never had an original thought in my woodshop yet!)

That helps.

- TuckerFan

Just a note here…. DO NOT crosscut to your final dimensions at this stage. You need to allow for whole host of things such as snipe on your planer if that is an issue. Leave enough excess to allow for any issues in the surfacing of the stock. Still, it will be easier to dimension shorter pieces of stock.

By the way, for future reference, the same issues come to bear on the width of your stock. It is pretty easy to get a nice, perfectly flat face on a 1” x 2’ board. Make that a 1” x 12” and you have a whole new world of problems to deal with.

View goochs's profile

goochs

62 posts in 1648 days


#9 posted 10-27-2018 10:39 PM

I always cut my pieces to 2inch proud of what I need then check them for cupping. If cupping is too much I then will rip the board before I start to plane them. It seems like a lot more work but getting those less than widths is just more work and wood.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4555 posts in 1008 days


#10 posted 10-28-2018 01:12 AM

It depends on how thick your 4/4 was to start with. Technically 13/16” can be called 4/4 for S2S, and if you’re taking 1/32 per pass, that’s just two passes to get to 3/4”. I always look for at least 7/8” boards, and often find 1” to 1-1/8”.

If you have boards with twists, cupping, bowing, etc, it’s best to cut them down close to their final dimension before jointing and planing. Not just crosscut to length plus maybe 1/2”, but ripped to width + 1/8” or more. That minimizes the depth needed to get a flat face. Take shallower passes, like 1/64” and use a lumber crayon or some chalk to scribble over the face so you can see when you are flat. Depending on the application, you might not need to be perfectly flat.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View bigJohninvegas's profile

bigJohninvegas

632 posts in 1880 days


#11 posted 10-28-2018 01:26 AM

Do you have a project in mind that is using the whole 80bf?
I don’t mill anything till I need it. Then I will rough cut it down into a little over size pieces for the project I am working on. At that point I mill it to what I need.
Figure a good 15% waste. Like others have said. Always a few inches off each end.
Good luck.

-- John

View msinc's profile

msinc

567 posts in 922 days


#12 posted 10-28-2018 02:36 AM

I have my own saw mill, but walnut is always tough to find so I buy a lot of it too. I mill my own logs to five quarter for this reason. Sometimes even thicker if I know I need longer boards or am going to use it live edge but thinner like for shelves, etc. If I am buying it depending on how well it was stacked or if it was dried properly I usually end up passing on four quarter for this exact reason. All that said, how wide are you trying to use/leave these boards?? If I am building something with large panels or covering a large area like the dining room table I am currently making I rip them to 3 and/or 4 inches and either tongue and groove or biscuit them together. I believe I have a better chance of them staying together that way, but also for the exact reason you are posting…try to leave them too wide and you not only loose thickness getting them flat, but there is a less than 50/50 chance they will stay flat based on my experience.

View TuckerFan's profile

TuckerFan

29 posts in 2697 days


#13 posted 10-28-2018 02:10 PM

I greatly appreciate all of your suggestions. The goal for me, in addition to keeping ten fingers and two eyeballs, is to give my son a kitchen hutch that can be viewed by anyone and impress everyone who is not a furniture salesman or a woodworker! Who am I kidding? He is single and because of that, this will be used as a liquor cabinet.

Although he hasn’t decided on a specific dimensions, this piece will be roughly 4’ wide, >6’ tall and 2’ deep. Hopefully, it will have storage above and below the “counter” top, with glass in the doors on the top cabinet and and roll-top on the work surface/counter top.

Seriously, thanks to everyone on this site for your quick responses and especially the explanations. I have a lot of help now!

-- I...I..have a...a...wood problem

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

958 posts in 1638 days


#14 posted 10-28-2018 08:13 PM

ya learned an expensive lesson i learned early on. when i started cutting pieces oversize THEN jointing and planing, i could have used them at 7/8” thick.

View jmos's profile

jmos

916 posts in 2788 days


#15 posted 10-29-2018 12:06 PM

My old lumber supplier sold 4/4 S2S that was barely 3/4” from the store (they were the only game in town.) Unfortunately, instead of jointing the faces, they just planed, so the faces were clean and parallel, but not flat. By the time I got everything jointed and planed to a consistent thickness, I could never hit 3/4”.

However, do you really need 3/4” thickness? For a lot of applications 3/4” is a lot thicker than necessary, and may make the piece look heavy. There’s nothing wrong with using 5/8” for most case pieces, and even thinner for many projects.

If I really wanted a full finished 3/4” I had to buy 5/4.

If you really want 3/4” from a 4/4 board you need to be buying rough. And, as most have said, cut to length (leaving extra some extra length for things like planer snipe) then joint and plane.

-- John

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com