I have always believed that the secret to having a high-quality output is on the quality of the materials used. Hence, it is as essential for me to make sure the wood I am using for all my woodworking projects are perfectly and evenly cut. To achieve this, I should be keen and efficient when preparing it for use.
The process can be a bit tricky when you don’t have the sequential list of what to do. And it could take a lot of your time, just by doing that process alone. And because of that, I believe putting this 8 steps in preparing wood for your woodworking project can somehow be a helpful guide before starting on your project.
Step 1: Cut rough wood to size
When purchasing wood, normally you will be given the option of buying a rough or surfaced cut. By the name itself, rough lumber is coarse and came straight from the mill while the surfaced are already cleaned and smoothen, and ready to use.
Opting to buy the rough cuts are more preferred by most wood workers because it is, of course, thicker, and by cleaning the surface, yourself gives you the full control of how you want the lumber to look and measure depending on your project and tasks.
You can start by cutting the rough wood about 1-inch from the end of the board. It is common for lumber to have checks, which are small cracks found around it. It is important that it should be removed as it is not only unpleasant to look at but may grow bigger and ruin the whole piece later on.
Once all these checks are eliminated, you can go ahead and cut the pieces you need. Allow at least about 1” extra length from your desired size using the miter saw, or the radical-arm saw.
Step 2: Flatten the best side of the wood using a jointer
A jointer is an effective and reliable power tool to flatten the surface of the wood and perfectly square the edges. When using it, you should set the depth of cut on the jointer for efficient performance. For the precise cuts, you may want to make a couple of passes or possibly more to ensure you will get your desired result. Don’t forget to put a mark on this jointed side to avoid any confusion when working as you progress.
Before using the jointer though, it is important to get yourself familiarize with its capacity and limitations as each model has length and width boundaries. Make sure that you are using the model that can carry out your task.
Step 3: Flatten one edge using the jointer
The same as the preceding step, you need to pick one edge on the board to be flattened in the jointer. Though you may find some techniques and tricks in flattening without the use of a jointer, it is still recommended to use one because it is proven to be more precise, consistent and has better performance and quality of the output.
When jointing the edge, face joint your stock so that the face will be flat against the jointer’s fence for better results. Mark this flattened edge, so you can identify this side that is jointed easily.