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Steps to prepare lumber for your DIY

Preparing the woodPreparing lumber for a construction project involves some important steps, regardless of whether the lumber is rough or surfaced. Factors like the design size, grain pattern, and warping of the wood should be taken into account.

To avoid warping, allow the boards to acclimate in your shop for one to two weeks and plan to purchase at least twenty percent more lumber than needed.

  • First step involves cutting a small piece from the end of the board and checking for cracks
  • Continue to cut and check until no more cracks are found.
  • Cut the pieces needed from the board, allowing for at least one extra inch of length.
  • Flatten the best face of the board using a jointer and mark it as the reference face.
  • Flatten one edge of the board against the jointer fence and mark it with a “V” for the reference edge.
  • Flatten the opposite face using a planer, leaving 1/32 inch extra thickness for removal of machine marks.
  • Cut the opposite edge to width, leaving 1/16 inch extra for jointing and smoothing.
  • Joint the sawed edge to remove saw marks.
  • Cut the best end square, removing no more than 1/4 inch.
  • Lastly, the best end should be cut square and the opposite end should be cut to final length.

Extra Tips

  • Allow boards to acclimate for one to two weeks before use.
  • Do not use green wood as it is unstable and unpredictable.
  • Carefully examine the board for grain patterns and features before cutting.
  • Plan to buy at least 20% more lumber than needed for the project.
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