Basic Project - My thoughts and your thoughts...


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Hello,

I started a simple project this weekend, and while I have a majority completed I have some thoughts. And I would like your thoughts.

Project: simple bench with some shelves below it, for shoes, to put in our garage to collect shoes/coats/etc.

Material: 1x12s (pine from Menards)

Skill Level: Newbie

Joinery: pocket hole and glue

Need your thoughts:

- How much will off the shelf standard pine 1x12s impact the quality of the project?

- Any tips on making square, repeatable, accurate cuts?

My thoughts:

- Seems like nothing on this bench is coming together great - not perfectly square, accurate, etc.

- I have a table saw sled, that I believe is square

- However, I think the pine from Menards was not the most square to begin with...when putting up against the fence on my sled, I noitced that some of the pieces (especially on the 40" cuts), were not square against the fence

- I don't have a jointer or planer, nor in the budget, but afraid that without these tools I may never be able to get close

- I struggled with using stop blocks....

Appreciate your thoughts and input!

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I would start by double checking your sled with the 5 cut method. Having absolute trust in your sled is important.

The only way to check your lumber for square, is to check it for square. Starting with a bowed piece against your fence won't help. If power milling tools aren't in your budget and you intend to continue wood working, I would be buying a hand plane to mill your lumber.

For long rip cuts, you could also build a straight line jig or track for a circular saw if you have one.

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You can always create a straight edge on a piece of wood at the table saw by using a sled.  You need to start with something that has a known straight edge, like a piece of MDF.  Add some toggle clamps to the surface of it to hold your work piece on it.  The straight edge of the sled against your saw fence stands in for a jointed edge to create a parallel edge on the work piece clamped to the sled.  After creating that first jointed edge you can then rip your piece to width by placing the newly cut edge against the fence.

 

With a crosscut sled you can then square the ends to the "jointed" edge.  

 

Unless you have had some time to practice and develop some skill, you won't find any satisfaction with trying to use hand tools to flatten your boards.  It will be important, for that reason, to be careful in your selection process at the lumberyard to avoid any boards with significant twist or cupping.  Starting with the flattest boards you can and then using the sleds described above will help you to get the best results.

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Unless you have had some time to practice and develop some skill, you won't find any satisfaction with trying to use hand tools to flatten your boards.

That's a pretty bold statement. One I also vehemently disagree with. I've never met a hand tool user that was born a hand joining whizz.

In an hour of practice, I'm sure most people could get a decent enough end to run down a saw fence.

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I get personal gratification, not to be confused with sexual satisfaction, with seeing those micro thin shavings coming off of my hand planes. If I can do it, believe me, anyone can with a little practice!

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I think there are a couple ways you can approach this

a) Recalibrate your table saw

B) That box store pine usualy will not be square, but hardwood stores sometimes carry 4\4 pine 8\4 pine as well in larger demensions, these are better pieces as far as what I've see and depending on what the store offers you can get them S2 or S3 and that might save you some headaches and work arounds.

c) Of coarse carefully select your wood at your box store and try to avoid piths and wet lumber, possible to find some gems in the pile.

d) While your at the big box store and assuming you have a hand held circular saw, buy some mdf (those long white boards) and make a poor mans track saw. This should help you sqaure of that lumber

f) this tip I learned after so many hours maybe months when i noticed it. If you have a piece of wood that is of a varying width i.e. there is a taper. Thin saw blades your 1\8 kerf saw blades will some times flex to follow that taper. The best way ive found in combating this is to put the less wide end in and moving the fence against it, then flipping the piece over to feed it through the table say, it keeps it from conforming to that taper. Obviously if you know your final demension you can skip the extra cut.

 

 Do a after action report and write down notes while you work, it always helps to learn from mistakes and those brilliant moments where you recognize where you can improve are sometimes lost at the end. Every project seem to bring a teachable moment for me, and developing your best practices will make you that much better. Big box stores were everyones crucible at one point or another, and if you get fraustrated enough you'll begine to source your wood elsewhere if possible.  :D

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Back to your pine question, If you're almost complete, post up some pics, particularly of your areas of concern.

Curious to see where the pine two by twelves were utilized and if all 12" were necessary (instead of two 6" boards with a 'rain gap'.

Again...need to see it. You can build some cool stuff with SYP and limited tools, but a long 2x12 is generally going to have a lot imperfection and is going to want to cup in the middle. I only pick them up to use in 12x12 chunks. The rest I cut off the quartersawn ends.

EDIT: Just realized you wrote 'one by twelves'.

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That's a pretty bold statement. One I also vehemently disagree with. I've never met a hand tool user that was born a hand joining whizz.

In an hour of practice, I'm sure most people could get a decent enough end to run down a saw fence.

"Vehemently," eh?  I think you take yourself too seriously.

 

I love hand planes.  I have several of them and use them when appropriate.  I agree with the "sexiness" of a fine wispy shaving.  I like the smell of freshly planed pine in the morning.

 

But a newb with a handful of tools isn't (shouldn't) run out and by a try or a jointer because his big box pine isn't square.  It doesn't make sense and it isn't a good application.  Build skills first.  Yes, some newbs can get great results on the first try.  I speak from first hand experience.  Common sense dictates that there's a more reasonable and practical approach, especially a more repeatable one, that applies to the OP's situation than buying a hand plane that reality indicates he's probably not ready to use for this project.

 

So, yeah, get some hand planes when you're ready.  Yeah, try jointing a board by hand.  Yeah use a rabbet plane to cut a tenon and hand cut some dovetails ... when you're ready.  But really, a pine bench to store some shoes in the garage that's being built with pocket holes and glue?!

 

I think it's time for a reality check, but don't care more than enough to respond to your post.  Certainly not "vehemently."

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"Vehemently," eh? I think you take yourself too seriously.

I think it's time for a reality check, but don't care more than enough to respond to your post. Certainly not "vehemently."

If you actually knew me, you'd know I don't take ANYTHING seriously. Humbly, I Find it to be one of my best qualities. Haha

Here is my reality. Not all planes come from LN and LV/V. My non chain home store carries a two pack of beginner planes. A #4 smoother and a longer jointer for $65. I bought this set years ago when just starting out and still will grab one off of the wall from time to time. I own a power jointer, the op doesn't. I threw out an option. I'm sorry my choice of words ruffled your feathers and forced you to use "quotes" around it.

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I vehemently agree with Vyrolan.

 

And more to the point...if I were building the OP's project, flattening boards wouldn't be a part of it.  I just built a couple shelving units for my shop...S3S poplar and screws...you put enough screws in something, flatness becomes entirely moot.  Screw it into submission.  Plug the holes if your OCD dictates that.

 

If you wanna build furniture, tool up and practice.  For garage shoe storage, screw it.

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==>The world has a healthy supply of cats so we need not be so particular when choosing the method of skinning any given one.

Ohhhhh, I don't know about that....    Say hello to my little friend(s)*.....

 

 

cat1_zpsi7oyyvyj.jpg

 

 

 

*Pop culture references for $100 Alex... Actually, this one is too easy...

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I vehemently grabbed my Oxford dictionary and looked up, 'vehemently.'

I couldn't even find the word in there!

Turns out my Oxford Dictionary is actually a placemat from a Denny's.

Long story short, I vehemently ordered the Moons over My Hammy.

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A lot of discussion here about how to get your boards flat and square, but not much about how to judge that in the first place.

First, plan on spending some time digging through the lumber to get boards that are as straight and free of defects as possible. Home center lumber is usually pretty poor quality, but unlike some lumberyards you can dig through the piles as much as you want. With dimensioned lumber all the boards cost the same so you'll want to get the best bang for your buck. So dig and select the best options, sighting down the length of the board to find the straightest stock. If some boards are noticeably heavier than others discard them as well: they are wetter and will be more likely to move on you. And of course look for knots, cracks, bark inclusions, and other defects.

Then you'll need a couple tools to check straight and square. As mentioned above, a cut of mdf can make a very inexpensive straightedge, though it will be heavy and not particularly durable. A 60" metal ruler is a much better choice in my opinion and can also be used for layout. You'll also want a square. Combination squares are the most versatile option, but many of them aren't actually square. There are different ways to test this, but the easiest thing to do is bring a pad of paper like a legal pad. Put the square up to the edge of the paper more or less in the middle and draw a line with a fine mechanical pencil. Then flip it over and draw along the same line. If the line tracks the whole length the same then it is square. If it deviates then it isn't and you don't want it. Don't be afraid to test multiple squares until you find one that is actually square. Do this with both the top and bottom of the ruler.

When you get home check your tools and calibrate as needed. The 5 cut method is perfect for sleds. Make sure your tablesaw blade is parallel with both the miter slots and your fence.

I have a power jointer, but I find it unwieldy for particularly long boards. My favorite method is to use my track saw to put on a fast straight edge. But with minimal practice a jointer plane can be very quick as well. If you are just going to run it through the table saw then remember that you don't need a perfect edge, just one straight and flat enough to put up against the fence.

Final piece of advice is to rough cut your pieces to length and width before milling them further. It's a whole lot easier to flatten and straighten multiple small boards than it is to try to get an 8' board perfect before you cut your pieces. After you've gotten the faces flat and the edges straight then you can cut them again to get nice, square boards of exactly the right length and width.

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I can't offer much advice that hasn't been said, but I've had the same struggles you have and I will tell you it will make your life much easier if you buy the selects grade of SYP, it's general kiln dried, straighter and no knots or bark to worry about.

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The solution to most of your problems, really comes down to practice.

 

When I started woodworking, I was amazed at how difficult it was to cut plywood square, and keep boards flat.

 

After enough repetition, a lot of saw dust, and a fair bit of wasted wood, it got easier. There's a ton of resources online, and this community is particularly helpful, but while the guidance you'll get here is a huge help, I think everyone everyone really needs to learn through experience.

 

Could not have said it better. 

 

Additionally, any time I am going to do something I have never done before, or do something I haven't done for quite a while,  I find a way to practice on a scrap piece of wood.  One of the reasons for saving the scraps is to have something to practice on.

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Haven't heard back from the OP? Illini40?

My thoughts...Big Box lumber is like a multiple personality disorder. You never know which one you're gonna get, and they're all warped.

I appreciate all of the comments. You are confirming my thoughts.

- I am going to double check my sled again with the five cut method

- I am going to look into building or buying a jointing jig for my table saw

- I need to bite the bullet and make my first trip to a hardwood dealer to see what I am missing out on - hopefully find some S3S or S4S

Besides S33 or S4S, is there any other options I should be considering? Remember - I don't jointer, planer, or have th desire to use hand planes.

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Another thought to the group - when making a jointing jig for my table saw is it best to use a runner in one if the slots or is it ok to just run the jig up against the fence?

I am thinking of something like the jig in Steve Ramsey's video below:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vrYjc3G1vgo

The fence is fine unless it isn't parallel to the blade. But if that's your issue then you need to resolve that anyway.

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