Preparing rough wood for a project - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 11-26-2014, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Preparing rough wood for a project

After many delays, I'm finally starting a project to build some cabinets. They will have face frames and raised panel doors. I was able to acquire a 6" jointer and a lunch box planer this year. I have some 4/4 rough cut hard maple to prepare. The maple was stored in an unheated warehouse by my local supplier and I now have in in my shop. As I have never prepared rough wood before I have a few questions on the proper way to machine it.

How long should I let the maple adjust to my shop environment before I start working with it?
It's my understanding to joint, plane, and rip it oversize. Then a day or two later mill to final dimensions. ( is this accurate?)
Also, how much over size? Thickness, width, and length?

I'd like to keep waste to a minimum and don't want to inadvertently make a pile of firewood.

Any guidance would be appreciated! Thanks.
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post #2 of 26 Old 11-26-2014, 12:45 AM
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I don't wait. I machine the wood all the way to S4S and soon as I get it in my shop. The only reason to accumulate wood is if you were making something like flooring where you have a large amount of wood that would shrink.
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post #3 of 26 Old 11-26-2014, 03:04 AM
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Acclimation is a sticky subject. Ive seen everything from 2 weeks to 2 minutes. Personally, i dont care either way. If it sits in my shop a bit, great, if it doesnt, who cares. Unless the wood is still a bit over-moist, you should be fine.

As far as the overmilling goes, id say yes and no. If you plan on using the milled pieces immediately, mill to final size. If youre going to wait a day or so, mill a bit oversize, say 1/4 inch or so, so you have some wood to take off if the wood warps

Id also recommend watching this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-ZZ0dhbJYY

He goes through the milling process in a really easy way to understand

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post #4 of 26 Old 11-26-2014, 08:36 AM
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You say the wood was stored in an unheated warehouse. Had it been there a long time or was it freshly milled? ie. Has it dried to final numbers?

George
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post #5 of 26 Old 11-26-2014, 10:05 AM
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When I buy kiln dried lumber in the rough, I let it sit in my heated/air conditioned workshop for two weeks before I use it. I then mill enough to do just the job at hand, say enough to do the face frames. I mill it to the size needed. Good luck with your cabinets and post some pics when your done.

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post #6 of 26 Old 11-26-2014, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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All - thank you very much! That YouTube video was very helpful and answered all of my questions. I'll have to mill a little at a time as I only work on this in the evenings when time allows.

Last edited by Tom-G; 11-26-2014 at 04:56 PM.
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post #7 of 26 Old 11-26-2014, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC
You say the wood was stored in an unheated warehouse. Had it been there a long time or was it freshly milled? ie. Has it dried to final numbers? George
George, it is kiln dried. I'm letting sit 2 weeks before I touch it as I'm painting a room and doing some other things getting ready for the holidays.
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post #8 of 26 Old 11-26-2014, 11:09 PM
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Milling the wood to final dimension as soon as it arrives in the shop is a bad idea. Face frames can be milled quickly because they will be attached to the cabinet carcass, but I never mill door stock like that.

Even with maple, there are internal stresses that show up when you start machining the wood. For the door stock, face joint one side and skip plane the opposite side. Sticker and cover those boards overnight. Do your final dimensioning just before you assemble the doors.

The tools don't make the craftsman......a true statement often overused by individuals who haven't a clue about quality tools or true craftsmanship.
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post #9 of 26 Old 11-27-2014, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wericha
Milling the wood to final dimension as soon as it arrives in the shop is a bad idea. Face frames can be milled quickly because they will be attached to the cabinet carcass, but I never mill door stock like that. Even with maple, there are internal stresses that show up when you start machining the wood. For the door stock, face joint one side and skip plane the opposite side. Sticker and cover those boards overnight. Do your final dimensioning just before you assemble the doors.
Do you also edge joint one edge during the initial prep before snickering to set overnight?
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post #10 of 26 Old 11-27-2014, 03:23 PM
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I have some Birch and Poplar I bought two weeks ago. I had planned to get right on the next project, but that didn't happen. Hope to start tomorrow. It is 4/4 rough that has been stored in the lumber yard warehouse. Now it has been in my garage which has AC/heat so it has been 70-75 deg F. for two weeks.

What I do is cut up the basic lengths to a more workable size first. The Birch will be used for face frames and drawer fronts and a door. The poplar with be used for the drawers.

Sometimes the lumber choices aren't the best. That was the case this time. Some are bowed somewhat. So, I will use my table saw rip jig to cut a straight edge on one side first. Then I will run each piece over the jointer to get a flat side, then do the same to clean up the saw marks on the straight edge I had previously cut.

Some pieces are now ready for the planer. Others need to be glued up for drawer sides (7 1/2 inches wide). The drawer fronts will also have to be glued up.

After a workout on the planer, I will have 3/4 inch thick face frame stock and drawer fronts. The drawer stock will be planed to 5/8 inch thick. I have come to like this thickness. It makes for a nice looking drawer.

That's about it for milling. Somewhere along the line, the final width will be ripped on the table saw.

I plan to cut half blind dovetails for the front of the drawer boxes and a simple rabbit for the rear.

That's my workflow.
Hope you find it useful.
Here is a pic of my plan. My daughter is expecting the week of Christmas. :-)

Disclaimer: I am still learning how to use Sketchup. Some dimensions may not be accurate. This was a good excuse to practice what I have learned so far.
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post #11 of 26 Old 11-27-2014, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom-G View Post
Do you also edge joint one edge during the initial prep before snickering to set overnight?
Sometimes, but I'm more concerned about how the faces react to planing initially. The next step is to see how the wood reacts to ripping. If the board starts to bow significantly you'll need to rip wider boards to accommodate the stress.

The tools don't make the craftsman......a true statement often overused by individuals who haven't a clue about quality tools or true craftsmanship.
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post #12 of 26 Old 11-28-2014, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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I did a project in birch where my local supplier ripped and milled the stock to s4s at the time of purchase. Within a week none of the boards were straight. Now that I can joint and plane, I want to avoid a repeat. It looks like I need to mill just enough stock to use in a couple of days. I do appreciate everyone's guidance. Thanks again.

Last edited by Tom-G; 11-28-2014 at 02:06 AM.
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post #13 of 26 Old 11-28-2014, 08:10 AM
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Most of that depends on the particular wood and birch is prone to warp anyway. The fact of the matter is larger hardwood manufacturers stock faceplate material that is 3/4"x2" that is already run S4S. This wood sometimes sits on a shelf for months and is fully usable. Personally I would rather see if it is going to warp before it is included in a project. If the wood is going to warp it's going to warp and I would rather not have to cut a board out of a faceplate after a cabinet is built.
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post #14 of 26 Old 01-13-2015, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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Update: I built the first cabinet for our remodeling project, a bath vanity. Dry assembled yesterday. It has hard maple face frame and 3/4" maple ply case. The rough sawn maple sat in my basement for several weeks before I milled it. Based on everyone's feedback, I milled it over sized, then a few days later brought it final dimensions. I'm pleased with the way the face frame came out.

I now need to build the raised panel doors. This will be a first for me. I had milled all of the maple a few weeks ago and it is still straight and square. The thickness is 7/8". Since everything is good to go, any reason I should bring it down to 13/16" or 3/4"? The hinges will surface mount on the face frame and then mount to the back surface of the doors, so they are not limiting door thickness. I checked the router bit set and it is designed for 3/4 - 7/8" stock. I'd like to build the doors at 7/8" thickness but just want to make sure I'm not missing something that will cause problems.

All comments are appreciated.

Last edited by Tom-G; 01-13-2015 at 02:17 AM.
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post #15 of 26 Old 01-13-2015, 04:53 AM
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Id imagine that with 3/4 being pretty much the universal standard for wood youd have better results milling down to that. In all likelihood though, it wont make all too much of a difference. Might saw a bit of wear and tear on the panel bits though

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post #16 of 26 Old 01-14-2015, 08:58 PM
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Youre better off with a 3/4" thickness. Its a lot easier to work with the measurements. 3/4 is the standard thickness. Personally I don't let wood acclimate very much.....maybe a few days. I will cut most stuff right down for face frames and door frames and such and never had an issue. However......if you make panels or drawer fronts....NEVER lay them flat, they will cup if not completely dried. I have had more issues with stuff being too dry when I build it and absorbing humidity in the summer and causing issues......
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post #17 of 26 Old 01-14-2015, 09:57 PM
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Preparing rough wood for a project

Why would you bother over milling? When I buy wood I stack it in my shop. It sits there until I get ready to use it. I have wood that's been in my shop for 15 years. I have used some wood the same day I got it. When I do mill I cut everything to exact thickness. I try to use milled pieces the same day.

Last edited by hwebb99; 01-14-2015 at 11:13 PM.
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post #18 of 26 Old 01-14-2015, 11:11 PM
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if you want a heavier door, no reason not to. I would agree that consistancy is simpler for components, but doors are outside the frame, doesnt matter how thick they are.
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post #19 of 26 Old 01-15-2015, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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I can only work on my project on nights and weekends as time allows. So I had milled all of the door material oversized at 7/8" thinking that by the time I was able to build the doors I had sufficient thickness to clean it up and still achieve 13/16" or 3/4". I had stacked and stickered it a few weeks ago, and when I checked it the other day all are perfect. I just hate to waste anything, like turning good hard maple into shavings if not really needed. As this will be the only cabinet in this room, I don't have to worry about matching to another cabinet. I appreciate everyone's thoughts on this. I think I'll go with the 7/8" and see what the doors look like. It will be a learning experience and I can adjust for the next cabinet if needed.
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post #20 of 26 Old 01-15-2015, 01:23 PM
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It all depends on the ambient tenp and humidity where the piece is going to live.If it is kiln dried to 7 and the ambient in your house is 11% it's going to move some.Not much.If you acclimate it in your shop or basement and the ambient is 11% and in the kitchen where the piece is going to stay is lower,what have you gained.Moisture content is a factor in building cabinets and furniture but I think a lot of guys read to much into it while not knowing much about it.
I used to buy 3-4K BF kiln dried hardwood from IN that was 7% out of the kiln.By the time it got to my shop in IL it was around 9%.I let it acclimate for a couple days and it may be 11% depending on the weather.Built cabienets and furniture and took them to the customer house and of course it would be different.Just ocassionaly had a problem with a raised panel in a door splitting.Maybe 1 in 1000.
As long as it's below 13% depending on your area and climate.
Don't worry about it much
Machining 1/4" over and then machining again is a huge waste of time to me.Do you think manufacturers do this?Even the custom ,high end shops don't do this.It's a waste of time.
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