Hand Tools Archive

Re: Power/Hand Tool Milling Exhibit A *PIC*
Response To:
Power/Hand Tool Milling ()

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
Exhibit A Shown below is a corner cupboard where every piece in it is a shade over 7/8", even the crown and excepting the panels and backs. It didn't matter what thickness I wound up with; I just stopped planing when all the stock I needed was cleaned up. No boards were rejected from rough stock because I was worried they would not make thickness. This result is typical, not the experience claimed by Warren.

I regard coaxing the most from my lumber stash a fun challenge.

Steve: Milling rough lumber to finished size[with machines] is one of my favorite parts of the work I do

I easily relate to this statement. I'll match my skill at coaxing finished lumber from rough lumber by machine with any hand tool enthusiast. There is nothing different in the wood removed to achieve a plane surface, regardless the technique. It turns out as far as this operation is concerned, experience is what is important, not the tools used. My years of standing beside a jointer yields the same result as someone else's XX years pushing a hand plane. Search somewhere else to find a superior outcome.

Where I don't agree is that it is common for shops to buy 5/4 to get 7/8". I sold hardwood for nearly 30 years so I should have some insight of what is bought for what purpose. I have turned more hardwood into furniture than most of you and I never resorted to 5/4 lumber to get a finished 7/8" thickness. You do what Steve describes to get your 7/8" parts.

Hardwood is rough sawed 1 1/8" to 1 1/16" depending on the accuracy of the saw and the risk the mill is willing to take. To meet grade, 4/4 lumber must be at least 1" after drying. In fact it is often about 1 1/16" after drying and occasional pieces are 1 1/4 because of the details of how logs are sawed. This lumber easily cleans up at 7/8" if there is little cup or twist in the cutting that needs to be 7/8". If someone is foolishly achieving finished size of the whole board and then making cuttings, they are not part of this conversation.

If somewhere in the world there is a shop that only uses 7/8" lumber and can not use 13/16 at all, this shop might choose to buy 5/4 lumber (that is MORE than 5/4 more expensive) or they might discard the 4/4 lumber that didn't entirely clean up at 7/8. I have no idea what the better strategy might be. It's too rare to consider.

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