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8 Tips for Milling Rough Lumber Evansville IN

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.

The Home Depot
(812)423-6710
5230 Pearl Drive
Evansville, IN
Hours
Mon-Thur: 6:00am-9:00pm
Fri-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-7:00pm

The Home Depot
(812)471-1132
333 N Burkhardt Rd
Evansville, IN
Hours
Mon-Thur: 6:00am-9:00pm
Fri-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-7:00pm

Ryan's Ace Hdw & Rental
(812) 402-1223
4530 N 1st Ave
Evansville, IN
 
Washington Sq
(812) 473-8200
1100 S Green River Rd
Evansville, IN
Store Hours
Sears Stores
Store Type
Sears Stores
Hours
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:10-21
Sun:12-18
Store Features
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:10-21
Sun:12-18

Lowe's
(812) 424-7605
103 South Red Bank Road
Evansville, IN
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 7 pm

Woodcraft - Evansville, IN
(812) 479-9663
Eastland Place Shopping Center
Evansville, IN

Data Provided by:
Fastenal- Evansville
812-867-5369
8501 Baumgart Rd Evansville, IN, 47725
Evansville, IN
 
Fastenal- Evansville
812-464-5493
1401 Virginia Ave Evansville, IN, 47711
Evansville, IN
 
LOWE'S OF W. EVANSVILLE, IND.
812 424-7605
103 SOUTH RED BANK ROAD EVANSVILLE, IN, 47712
Evansville, IN
 
Lowe's
(812) 475-9655
6716 Oak Grove Road
Evansville, IN
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 7 pm

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...

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