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how to surface rough lumber

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  • how to surface rough lumber

    Hi all, been lurking on the board for a couple of months now and just registered.

    I have been trying to figure out what tool to buy in order to surface rough lumber. I don't have the space nor the budget to purchase a surface planer. Can a thickness planer do the same job?

    I have a lot of projects in mind and would rather spend a lot less buying rough lumber.

    any info is greatly appreciated.



  • #2
    The proper way to suface rough lumber would be to run one face over a jointer. This will get the board flat and straight. Then ,with the freshly jointed face down, run the board through a thickness planer till you get the desird thickness. Then you run one edge through the jointer to get it straight, and cut to final width on the table saw. Some people, myself included, add an extra 1/32" to the width so a final pass over the jointer will take away any saw marks.

    Buying rough sawn lumber will save you money. The initial investment in the machines can be a chunk of money, but you WILL make that back very quickly. Also, you can start working with other wood besides pine, maple, poplar, and red oak.

    The only draw back is that when you start buying machines, it gets very addictive. Next thing you know you will need a band saw. Then a radial arm saw. Pretty soon you'll find yourself searching for a mortising machine or another tool that you may use only 3 or 4 times a year. It's not that bad of an addiction. It could be worse.

    Sorry for the run on.



    • #3
      A surface planer and thickness planer are the same thing. You can run your rough lumber through the planer to smooth it out and get it down to usable thickness for your project. A jointer is nice to have but can be done quite easily with a router also. My planer, tp1300, has paid for itself a couple of times in wood cost savings over the last few years, but I have only had a small benchtop jointer for about 6 months.
      info for all: --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."


      • #4
        I saw an interesting video on using your thicknes planer to flatten out wide boards. It has become my next project. I don't have the $530 bones to buy the grizzly 80-100 jointer with the longest table available in a 6" jointer so this sled may work for others as well.fine woodworking I also found some great tool reviews on american woodworker that have helped me make some good tool choices.
        Measure twice...Cut once..I always forget that one!


        • #5
          ive seen a cool jig you can make to joint wide boards on a planer. use a piece of mdf as wide as your planer will accept to make a bed, then you can lay your wood on top of that and then run it through a planer. since mdf is is pretty darn flat you will be able to flatten the top side true, then flip it over and run it through the planer again minus the mdf bed until both sides are flat. you will want to drill some holes in the mdf to accept dowels to trap the wood on the mdf bed, or whatever works for you. just make sure that the dowel do not stick above the width of the wood, i haven;t tried this yet so any other opinions on this would be greatly appreciated.


          • #6

            I do not understand how the MDF helps? The planer's bed is already flat. I think you still need to shim the rough board on top of the MDF like the sled from Fine Woodworking.