If you want to move on to the big leagues of woodworking, you absolutely have to learn how to flatten rough-sawn wood. That’s because the shrink-wrapped 3/4-in.-thick wood you buy at the home center is limited to, well, 3/4-in. thicknesses. Furniture building calls for a myriad of different thicknesses, any of which you can create yourself. But flattening wood takes a couple of essential and pricey tools, namely a jointer and a thickness planer.
Enter your city, state and “rough-sawn lumber” into a search engine and you might find a local supplier of rough-sawn lumber. And if not, you’ll find online sources for lumber. They’ll deliver the sizes you want right to your home. Home centers may carry only a few different species of wood, but you’ll be amazed at the variety that’s available from a real hardwood supplier.
It isn’t hard at all to flatten lumber—you’ll pick it up right away. And it’s incredibly rewarding to bring out the beauty hidden within a gnarly board that looks like it’s only fit for pallets. But here’s the best part: When wood is purchased in its rough-sawn state and then flattened, it stays flat. It’ll be perfectly straight, flat and square, so building a nice piece of furniture is that much easier.
Flattening rough-sawn wood with a jointer and planer video
This video is referred to in We do everything by our own hands magazine, May 2011, Shop Rat, Flattening rough-sawn wood, on page 78.
Watch the video for a primer on flattening wood and then go for it.
— Travis Larson, Senior Editor
More on milling rough-sawn lumber:
– How to Use a Bench-Top Planer