American Woodworker
Contact Us | Help | Report a Bug
Sign in | Join
 

8 Tips for Milling Rough Lumber Arkadelphia AR

Some twisted boards are hopeless causes. You might just as well turn them into firewood. Sure, you can joint them flat, but a few rogue boards have a nasty habit of slowly continuing to twist, no matter how many times they’re jointed or how short or narrow you cut them.

Hardman Lumber Company
(870) 246-5824
3026 Pine St
Arkadelphia, AR
 
True Value
(800) 642-7392
2625 W Pine St
Arkadelphia, AR

Data Provided by:
Plyler True Value
(800) 642-7392
406 N Elm St
Gurdon, AR

Data Provided by:
The Home Depot
(501)565-7168
11 Mabelvale Plaza Lane
Little Rock, AR
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(870)307-0300
3000 E Harrison Street
Batesville, AR
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Arkadelphia - Auth Hometown
(870) 245-3900
2919 W Pine
Arkadelphia, AR
Store Hours
Hometown Dealers
Store Type
Hometown Dealers
Hours
Mon:9-19
Tue:9-19
Wed:9-19
Thu:9-19
Fri:9-19
Sat:8-18
Sun:12-17
Store Features
Mon:9-19
Tue:9-19
Wed:9-19
Thu:9-19
Fri:9-19
Sat:8-18
Sun:12-17

Atwoods
(870) 246-8600
2727 Caddo St
Arkadelphia, AR

Data Provided by:
The Home Depot
(479)619-2730
1701 S 46th Street
Rogers, AR
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(501)860-6288
17060 Interstate 30
Benton, AR
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(501)945-3500
4325 E McCain Blvd
North Little Rock, AR
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Data Provided by:

8 Tips for Milling Rough Lumber

8 Tips for Milling Rough Lumber

Get the best yield from the least-expensive wood.

by Tom Caspar

Cut Big Boards into Small Pieces

You might think the best strategy for milling rough lumber is to flatten as large a piece as possible, then cut it into smaller parts. Not true. It’s better to cut a big roughsawn board into individual pieces, one for each part on your cutting list, more or less, and then start milling. The problem with the big-board strategy is that the smaller pieces you cut from it may not end up flat or straight. Some boards have a lot of internal stress built up inside. When the board is whole, all this stress is in balance. When you rip the board, you release some of that stress. Each half seeks a new balance and a new shape. A flat, straight board ripped down the middle might well make two boards that aren’t flat or straight. It’s hard to predict which boards will react this way, so I assume every board could present this problem.

I always cut my individual pieces slightly oversize, adding 1/2 in. of length and 1/4 in. of width.

Use the Best Crosscutting Tools

Rough lumber can be tricky to crosscut safely. Its faces and edges are rarely flat and straight, so using a chop saw, miter saw or tablesaw is not the best practice, because the blade could bind, stall or kick back.

My favorite tools for crosscutting are a jigsaw, a circular saw and a Japanese tree-trimming saw (see Source, below). This very coarse handsaw cuts incredibly fast, even through thick hardwoods. 

I generally crosscut before doing any jointing or planing. Crosscutting reduces a big board to more manageable sizes, so I can mill more accurately. I put my board on four sawhorses for plenty of support and mark it with chalk, a felt-tip pen or a carpenter’s soft-leaded pencil.

Let Boards Rest

To make pieces dead flat, I usually let boards rest before taking them down to final thickness. I plane boards 1/8 in. thicker than needed and stack them with stickers or stand them on edge so air can circulate around every side.

After the boards rest for a day or so, I check each board for flatness by laying it on my tablesaw or jointer. It’s not unusual to find that some previously flat boards have cupped or twisted a bit. I rejoint one side of these boards, then plane every board to final thickness.

Avoid Badly Twisted Boards

Some twisted boards are hopeless causes. You might just as well turn them into firewood. Sure, you can joint them flat, but a few rogue boards have a nasty habit of slowly continuing to twist, no matter how many times they’re jointed or how short or narrow you cut them.  

If your rough lumber is only slightly twisted, however, don’t get too alarmed. It doesn’t mean you’ve got junk wood. It may remain perfectly stable after it’s milled. Just cut it as short and narrow as you can in the rough state—but not less than 12 in. long—to get the m...

Click here to read the rest of the article from American Woodworker