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  1. #1
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    squaring up a board?

    Ok, lets see if I got this right. In order to true up a piece of wood you must:(step #1) run the edge with the valley through the jointer to get a perfectly straight edge, then (step #2) take the other edge (or crest) off with a table saw running the jointed strait edge along the table saw fence. Then (step #3) end grains can be cut off with a miter saw or radial arm. Is that right so far? Ok, now what about the faces of the board? Do you run both sides through a planer or just one? Is this in the right order and is it correct? Thanks for the help. :)

  2. #2
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    RE: squaring up a board?

    I usually do:

    1) Joint one face
    2) Joint one edge perpendicular to the now-flat face
    3) Plane the other face
    4) Rip the other edge on the tablesaw.

  3. #3
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    RE: squaring up a board?

    I do it in the same order as Rob.
    Measure once... cut twice.

  4. #4
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    RE: squaring up a board?

    I don't understand, why joint a face when you can just plane both sides? And what happens if board "face" is too wide for the jointer. Most jointers aren't that big anyway, are they? :) I really appreciate the help Rob.:) Thanks, Steve

  5. #5
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    RE: squaring up a board?

    >I don't understand, why joint a face when you can just plane
    >both sides?

    When you buy lumber, whether it's rough-sawn or even if you buy it surfaced, you pretty much have to assume that it is not perfectly flat. Even surfaced lumber will experience some wood movement - cupping, bowing, twisting - until it acclimates to the environment where it resides.

    A planer will make one face perfectly parallel to the other face - which means that any cupping or bowing will be transferred to the face being planed. A planer will make the face being planed perfectly coplanar to the other face, which is the surface being referenced. (There are techniques to overcome this, but that's another topic :))

    The reason for using a jointer first to flatten one face is because the referenced surface is the bed of the jointer, which is a known flat surface. Jointing an edge first is not reliable, since this depends on referencing a flat face of the board against the fence, which is set at a known 90* angle to the cutting knives. At the first step, you don't have a flat face on the board to work with.

    >And what happens if board "face" is too wide
    >for the jointer. Most jointers aren't that big anyway, are
    >they? :)

    No, they're not - and there's the rub. :) But you have a couple of options here. You can rip the board to a width that fits the jointer, or you can sharpen up you trusty hand planes. :) In fact, my current project involves milling up some 10" wide walnut planks that I didn't want to cut down, so my hand planes have been getting a workout!

    If you don't like either of those options, you can try the techniques I alluded to above. One of these is to pass the board through the planer, cupped side up (assuming the board is not perfectly flat), and take very light passes - just "kiss" the surface of the board, hitting only the highest spots - until you've got a reasonably flat surface. Another technique is to construct a sled that carries the board through the planer. This involves coming up with some device to hold the board level and as flat as possible; the logic behind this is that the planer then references the flat bottom surface of the sled.

    I really appreciate the help Rob.:) Thanks, Steve

    And my thanks to Leo (Arctic Fox), whose explanation of the "FEE" method has helped me remember the whys and wherefores of squaring up stock -

    F - faces
    E - edges
    E - ends

    Erin

    "How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself."
    - Anais Nin (1903-1977)

  6. #6
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    RE: squaring up a board?

    Was going to ask something that was already answered. But I got it. Sorry.


  7. #7
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    RE: squaring up a board?

    >I don't understand, why joint a face when you can just plane
    >both sides? And what happens if board "face" is too wide
    >for the jointer. Most jointers aren't that big anyway, are
    >they? :) I really appreciate the help Rob.:)


    To paraphrase: what Erin said. :)

    To elaborate: the planer doesn't ensure the stock is flat, it merely removes a layer of material fairly evenly across the board. If the board is twisted before running it through the planer, it'll be twisted after running it through the planer. Using the jointer for the first face helps to get a true flat surface that you can use as a basis for getting the other surfaces flat at square angles to the first side.

    I was thinking more about my previous answer, and that's the way I do things ideally. It's easier for me to run everything through my jointer, then put it away (my shop is on wheels) and get out the planer. Sometimes I swap steps 2 & 3. This occurs in the following case: if I can't run either edge perpendicular to the flat face through the jointer with the flat face against the fence because I'm cutting against the grain. In this case, I'll plane the opposite face first, then joint an edge.

  8. #8
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    RE: squaring up a board?

    Thanks Erin and Rob!!! That makes more sense to me now. I like the F.E.E. acronym. I'll remember that. Both a big help, Steve

  9. #9
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    RE: squaring up a board?

    One more question. If you do this procedure to stock that you are going to glue up for a single wider board, should this procedure be done to make all boards the exact same thickness and if so...after the glue up, is that the only thing you do to ensure proper thickness? In other words, does the "glued up" board now need to be planed again (or anything else) to ensure uniform thickness or should this have already been accomplished before the glue up? Thankyou!!

  10. #10
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    RE: squaring up a board?

    Whether making a panel or a dining table top it is a good practice to thickness plane all boards at the same to assure the exact same thickness. Any thickness variations can frustrate perfect surface alignments at glue-up, so why tolerate them?

    Joining pairs (or more) to make narrow panels with the intent to plane and edge joint them again before joining into a larger panel seems wasteful to me. I can see the logic in it, but since the next glue-up is likely to produce additional minor surface mismatchs you would be uneccesarily wasting thickness by repeatedly surfacing. I tried this approach one time and ended up with a 1/2" thick small table top, I was planning for more like 5/8"-11/16" thickness.

    If care has been taken in the preparation of your boards, particularly in the flattening and edge jointing operations, it is probably more economical to join three or four or more boards at a time. The surface mismatches will tend to average out over several boards and less overall thickness will be lost to flattening operations.

    Naturally you must work with speed and confidence with larger glue-ups and a another pair of hands and eyes may be needed for setting cauls and taming humps.

    Thats my other 2 cents.
    Measure once... cut twice.

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