Helping You Make Wood Work : Episode 2 – Wood Preparation

Helping You Make Wood Work : Episode 2 – Wood Preparation

Hello folks and welcome to another
episode of Helping You Make Wood Work. I’m your host Chad Stanton. Now if you didn’t
see the first episode don’t worry about it You can click on that link below to
check it out, but don’t go there now. Hey while we’ve got you, check out this episode. Today we’re going to be covering selecting
the proper wood for your project. We’re also going to talk about milling and
getting the wood ready for your build. So without further ado let’s get into it. When you’re out shopping for lumber there’s three different cuts that you’re going to encounter. Now the first one is the most common
and that’s what they call plain sawn. So you can see that the
grain on the top runs straight but then when we get to the end
grain you can see these rings. Now, they do this because it yields the most
out of a log and this is going to be the most affordable cut that you’re gonna
get but it can give you some trouble later. These rings have a tendency to
want to straighten out and as it straightens out, well you
can see that our board now cups. This is not an ideal wood for when
you’re making a tabletop or cabinet doors. Now a more stable cut is what they call rift sawn. Again the grain on the top and then when we get to the edge grain you can see it runs at a slight angle. this is going to give you fewer
complications with warpage. The third cut you’re gonna encounter is quarter sawn. You can see the grain runs straight along the top
and it also runs straight on the end grain. This is gonna be the most stable. Now, it does yield the least amount in a log
which means it’s gonna cost more but you can pay more upfront but it’s going to
produce less problems in the long run. So when you’re buying your lumber it’s important to
find out if it’s been air-dried or kiln dried. So what does this actually mean? Well the whole purpose of what we’re
trying to do with the material is get it down to a moisture content of
between five and nine percent. This is considered ideal for the least amount of movement you’re going to encounter. Now if it’s air dried, rule of thumb is, for every inch thick that the board is it takes about a year to dry. So it’s a rather slow process. But some of the advantages
are it retains the true natural color of the wood and it’s a lot easier to cut
whether using hand tools or power tools Now to speed up that process we can go
to kiln dried wood. Now kiln dried wood, you lose some of the color
naturally from it and the moisture content is dropped down rather quick but by doing so you’re collapsing the cells in the wood. This can cause it to be a little bit more
brittle which makes it harder to cut. Also too, this can produce
some internal tension So now I know you’re gonna ask me,
“Chad which one is better?” Well there’s really no right or wrong.
The most important thing is make sure you get it down to that moisture content.
So if you find out that your lumber has been air-dried, it’s always good to double check it with a moisture meter reader to make sure you’re in that percentage. Now, when I use a moisture
meter reader I like to check it in several places. I’ll check it on the endgrain, as well as several places along the large board. Reason being is, that end grain is going to
dry out faster because of the pores in it And the center of the
board is usually going to have more moisture in it. I’ll also even sometimes cut off the very end
of the end grain and check it again. Overall I’m looking for that average to stay between
my 5 and 9 percent across that board. However, if the wood has been kiln dried
well then you know you’re good to go, you can take it home and
get right to work on your project So I’m getting ready to lay
my lumber out and mark it for the individual pieces that will make up my table. Now, you’ve probably noticed looking at
this board that this one edge is straight and the other one isn’t and that’s because
the lumber store that I get it at they call it s3s which means surfaced three sides. You can buy lumber
that’s s1s, s2s, but the ideal one is s4s. Now even though I bought
kiln dried quarter sawn oak there’s still some issues
and that’s dealing with warping. Now we already covered one of the
issues which is cupping but take a look at this one. If you notice, this one has a bow to it.
It actually curves off to the side The other problem I’m having as you
can see I have some twist. The board is actually going two different directions. The third issue you can run into with the
board is what they call crook’d. Where it’ll actually turn this direction Now, this board is salvageable.
I can make this good again. And there’s a couple ways I could do that.
I could cut this board right at where it starts to bow. If I wanted to keep the length of it, I
could put it on a jointer and try and take that high spot off and then run it
through the surface planer but the real issue is coming into the
twist and to get all that twist out and it flat and straight again I might be
under my 3/4 of an inch So I think for this board I’m gonna set
it aside for another project and take a look at some of my other lumber. So since the first episode I’ve had
time to work through my drawings and get all the individual sizes and measurements
for each of the components of the table. Now, I was able to work this out through Sketchup. If you’re not familiar with Sketchup,
graph paper is a great way to go because it already has the scale on it for you Now, before you head off to Woodcraft or your lumber store to buy the material
it’s important to make a cut sheet. A cut sheet has each of those
components of the table on it. It also gives me the quantity of each of the components. I can also write in for the thickness,
the dimensions, and even a place for notes for anything particular that I have to remember to do
on the certain components. Once I have my lumber, I’m gonna take my cut sheet and I’m gonna look for the best sections of the wood
to fit for my individual components Now when I’m looking at the wood
I want to look for certain defects. In this case here you can see that this material is darker and that I have some knots and cracks.
I definitely want to stay away from those. If I have to use a section such as this where it’s stained well I want to make sure that that is
designated for an area that won’t be seen like the back of the table. All right so this process is actually going to take quite a bit of time but it’s
gonna make sure that the piece looks its best so don’t rush through this. So I’m
gonna get busy doing that right now. One thing to keep in mind when you’re laying out for your individual components don’t mark it to your finished cut, leave it a little bit longer. I like to go somewhere between a quarter inch and a half inch longer. All right, the order that I like to do my
pieces, I like to crosscut them first. Now remember I have this not at the finished length but the rough length which is my quarter to a half inch longer. so next I’m gonna rip the piece to width and I’m gonna keep it just a tad larger than its final dimension. Now, a rule of thumb that I like to go to is, when my fence is getting kind of close to the blade, any distance that’s less than the width of
my hand I like to automatically use a push stick. Now even though my table-saw
did a nice job on ripping that edge I want to clean up any saw marks left
behind so I’m going to use the jointer. However before I push this board through I want to pay attention to the grain direction on the board The blade on this is gonna be coming up and around so I want to make sure that the grain
direction is going down on the board this will help avoid any tear-out
on the edge. Before I go any farther I just
want to take a second to use a square and make sure that I got a true 90 degrees. Looks good. the next step is I need to get
it down to the thickness that I want. Now when I buy my material from the
sawmill it comes thicker than 3/4. It’s somewhere between 7/8 and 11/16. So now is the time to
plane it down to that thickness. Now just like with the jointer it’s important
what direction I put the board through remember on the jointer the blade is
coming up and around but on the surface planer it’s coming down and up. so I had to pay attention again to the grain direction so with the grain direction
running up on this board that’s going to help eliminate any kind of tear out. now before I put this through, it can really generate a lot of fine sawdust so this
is where I like to wear a dust mask. A few more passes and I’ll be down to
the dimension that I want So you might think at this point that I would cut my
pieces to their final dimensions but I’m gonna wait to do that for the next
episode and there’s a reason for that. We’re also going to cover some joinery
techniques and some glue up tips. So make sure you click and subscribe in that
link below and we’ll see you next time on another episode of Helping You Make
Wood Work.

9 thoughts on “Helping You Make Wood Work : Episode 2 – Wood Preparation

  1. Another excellent video Chad. This video will be very valuable to new woodworkers who don’t understand how to select and prepare wood. Production wise the video techniques for the transitions are great. The colored lines used tie well with the end graphic. That’s pretty slick. What was really super were the stopped action shots turning to clack and white while a circle appeared with a color clip with a more complete explanation. That’s something I’m going to have to remember for the videos I’m making. There are times when I’d love to go back and do a better explanation of something I filmed. A technique like this is perfect.

  2. I use Cutlist Pro to figure out my cuts. It leaves a little to be desired, but does a good job. One thing I really like about it is the option to print all the parts on labels that I can stick to the pieces as I finish the prep work. It greatly helps keep track of parts, especially if I happen to have more than one project going.

  3. Menards supposedly kiln dried wood is usually wetter than hell if you buy it in the morning you'd better have it installed in a day or two otherwise you'll have a stack of 2×4  or 1×6 banana wood fit for the fire ring.

  4. I see your planer does not have a chip collector. What do you do with all the chips? I catch mine in a wheel barrow and then put them around trees or other areas where most people put bark.

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