Working with rough lumber in your projects can open up more creative possibilities and save money in comparison to the standard, pre-dressed wood alternative. However, there is more to it than just running boards through a thickness planer and jointer.
Rough lumber can be twisted, cupped, and bowed to various extents. These changes in shape are what happens to wood as it dries after sawing. Adding to this, rough lumber comes with a surprising variation in width and thickness board to board due to the lack of precision sawmills provide.
Raw Lumber may take years to complete the drying process depending on the type of wood and conditions it is stored in. Because of this, you should always get pieces that are larger than needed for the end project. Get the boards thicker and longer than what is required, mill down the thickness yourself and cut the boards to a length 1 inch (1”) longer than their finished length before getting into FEWTEL!
When working with raw lumber, FEWTEL is an acronym to help remind you the order in which wood is processed into a finished and usable product. Following this order will result in your handling the wood in the most efficient way, minimizes the amount of time spent, and can help prevent accidents.
F: Flatten one FACE of a board.
E: Square one EDGE of the face you flattened.
W: Rip the board to WIDTH.
T: Plane the board to THICKNESS.
E: Square one END of the Board.
L: Cut the Board to final LENGTH.
And as with all woodworking, the tools involved can be dangerous and should be used properly to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you.
- Only use woodworking machines that you have been trained to use safely and properly
- Always wear safety glasses, goggles, or a face shield (with safety glasses/goggles)
- Use gloves to protect hands from splinters when handling wood but do not wear near rotating machinery parts or blades
- Wear protective footwear
- Wear suitable hearing protection for the level and frequency of noise you are exposed to.
- Ensure equipment is properly grounded before use
- Clamp down and secure all work pieces when milling
- Machines should be fitted with efficient and well-maintained exhaust ventilation systems to remove chips or sawdust that is produced
- Use a push stick to push material into the cutting area
- Ensure guard is in position and in good working condition