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    I have some very serious questions to ask and need help from those of you who have dealt with sawmills. I have found a very good deal, at least for around here, on both red and white oak. But I have never had the opportunity to buy direct from a sawmill so I am having problems answering his questions. I am looking to buy a 50/50 mix of Select & Better and #1s. What kind of wood can I expect to get? Do you guys normally buy this grade or do you go for something better, and what is a higher grade? Because of my physical restrictions and limitations, he is going to plane the wood down for me to 3/4 inch, of course that is extra. He asked if I wanted it planed on one side only or on both sides. Is there an advantage of one over the other? Here is a quote from him "The one-inch planes to 3/4" real nice, one side. The 4/4 planes to 3/4" both sides." Anybody explain this to me? He said many of his customers have the lumber planed on one side down to 3/4" because they only need one side planed. Still trying to understand that. Another quote "Bandsawn lumber normally needs only a light sanding even if not planed so my experience is that you'll need little more than a light sanding on the stock surfaces. The edges may need more if not put through a joiner-planer" Is this true in your experiences? Sorry to be so long winded but I am not ashamed to ask questions when I am looking to spend some of my cash on something I am not sure of. All I want is good lumber that I dont have to do a ton of prep work on to get it usable. He said I am more than welcome to come out to his mill and pick out my own boards or if I have him pick them out he will get the best he can for me and almost all of it will be 6 to 8" wide and 111" long. If anyone in this forum has had experience with sawmills you can answer me here or direct to my email. But I know some of you folks probably know all the ins and outs of buying lumber from sawmills and can make this a sweet tutorial for us first timers. Thanks in advance. Murray goldenwing@journey.com
    Goldenwing

  • #2
    I buy from a sawmill in valpo indiana. he charges me .60 a boardfoot 2.00 for walnut, cherry, or cedar. all kiln dried. he will cut it anyway i want price does not vary and it is kiln dried!
    \"A SHIP OF WAR IS THE BEST AMBASSADOR\"<br /><br />OLIVER CROMWELL

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    • #3
      Here is a link to one of the mills I use occasionally that explains wood grading (hardwood, softwood and plywood - all different grading specs) and has definitions of all the terms used.

      Wood Grading

      The project I am building determines the grade of wood I buy. If it is a large project I will buy FAS, if only one side will show then F1F, smaller project - Select as select is the same grade as FAS only it yields smaller clear pieces.
      (This will make more sense after reading the link )
      In regards to planing, I think what he is saying is that a 1" board IS realy 3/4" thick finished size like a 1 X 4 is really only 3/4" X 3 1/2" physical dimention. In order to get a flat clear board that is 3/4" thick you start with 4/4 (read four quarter) or 1" thick rough lumber.
      Many small mills now use a gas powered bandsaw to mill logs in order to minimise waste. The 'rough' lumber from a bansaw mill is much smoother than the traditional cicular saw blade cut 'rough' lumber. You may be able to make the surface smooth with sand paper from a bandsaw mill but it is not likely to be a flat and true board, for this it needs to run thru a jointer and planer.

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      • #4
        He asked if I wanted it planed on one side only or on both sides. Is there an advantage of one over the other?
        I have bought direct from a mill a few times with good success, but never had them plane either one or both sides. I have always planed and jointed it when I got it home. This is the better way IMO if you have the equipment and time to do so.
        "The one-inch planes to 3/4" real nice, one side. The 4/4 planes to 3/4" both sides." Anybody explain this to me? He said many of his customers have the lumber planed on one side down to 3/4" because they only need one side planed.
        I can only guess that he is saying the one side planed "real nice" would be the side you would have showing in the project and the unplaned side would be hidden, not finished and not needing that much work.
        Bandsawn lumber normally needs only a light sanding even if not planed so my experience is that you'll need little more than a light sanding on the stock surfaces. The edges may need more if not put through a joiner-planer
        The wood I bought was samill sawn, not bandsawn, and the surface was rougher. I have had no bandsawn lumber but can imagine it is somewhat finer surfaces as my bandsaw places a finer surface on wood than a rip saw.
        He said I am more than welcome to come out to his mill and pick out my own boards or if I have him pick them out he will get the best he can for me
        I would select it myself so you can judge which is straighter than others and pick and choose. This obviously takes more time, patience and energy but gives you better control over what you have to work with.

        I took a pecan tree to this saw mill nearby and they cut and kiln dried it for me. The finished product was more warped and twisted than I imagined it would be, but this could be that the tree was not select enough for turning into wood lumber. In fact, I took two logs to him and he looked at the second and immediately declared it had too many knots in it and that his saw blade would not even go through it. This turned out to be some of the hardest wood I have worked with. In fact, it is so hard I have decided to use it for jigs and template type stuff. Being as hard, it allows me to mill and shape to more exacting standards than softer wood would. I recently made a re-saw guide from it and that worked well.

        Hope this helps !

        Jerry
        It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

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