If you’ve ever bought a two-by-four at a big box store, you know very well that not all wood is straight or flat. Although wood is hard, it can bend, bend, and bend as it dries or is exposed to moisture. Dealing with deformed wood can be tricky: Precision cuts will be more difficult and the joints won’t be as strong.
Before you start a project with wood you just bought, you’ll likely need to mill it – a woodworker talks about trimming the board into a 3D rectangle (also known as a cubic or rectangular prism). This involves leveling both faces, cutting 90 degree edges for those faces and parallel to each other, and cutting each end to the length you want at right angles to the newly straight edges. Once you’ve learned how to properly mill wood, everything you’ve built fits better with less effort. It takes a long time up front, but it’s worth it in the end.
One note to keep in mind is that the steps below show how to get perfectly ground wood with modern power tools. However, you don’t always need the utmost precision in wood, especially if you’re not gluing multiple pieces together or using Complex carpentry techniques. Consider my current project: a pair of floating shelves that only need to be close to flat and square. Since the wood is too wide for my joint and too tall for my flattening sled, I used a hand plane to make it flat enough. So before you spend hours getting 1/32 of an inch, think about what level of precision you really need. Sometimes close enough is good enough.
You can also fully Wood grinder with hand tools onlyalthough it takes a lot of time and practice to do a good job.
warning: DIY projects can be dangerous, even for the most experienced crafters. Before embarking on this or any other project on our site, make sure you have all the necessary safety equipment and know how to use it properly. At the very least, this may include safety goggles, a face mask, and/or ear protection. If you use power tools, you must know how to use them safely and correctly. If you haven’t, or you’re uncomfortable with anything described here, don’t try this project.
- Time: 1 to 4 hours
- Cost: none
- Difficulty level: medium
1. Acclimate, dry and store the wood properly. Wet wood warp. Drying the wood warp. Wood that alters warp environments. If you haven’t dried and stored your wood properly, it doesn’t matter how many squares you get. will distort again.
When you first bring wood home, test it for moisture content. Ideally, wood panels should have 9 percent moisture or less. If it is too wet, leave it to dry. No matter what, you should let the panels sit in your shop for at least a few days to adjust to the temperature and humidity in their new environment.
Do not stack the boards to dry directly on top of each other. This will trap moisture between them which can cause additional deformation or even cracking. Instead, slide small strips of wood called stickers between each board to ensure proper ventilation. This will allow the boards to dry more uniformly.
To make my stickers, I cut strips about half an inch wide from any scrap piece of wood lying around.
2. Flatten one face. Once a piece of wood is dry, flatten one of its faces. There are a few ways to do this. The best way is to use a link, which is specifically designed for this. Slide the plate along the tool bed and over the rotary cutter head. Always use push dies to do this, because you don’t want your fingers anywhere near the blades. It usually takes several passes to get a perfectly flat face.
If you don’t have a conductor, you can flatten the wood with a planer. but, You will need to build a sled To do that. The reason you can’t flatten the board in a planer without a sled is because the planer doesn’t base its pieces on a flat surface. Instead, the planer will follow the contours of the bottom of whatever you feed it. So if your board is warped, the planer will cut off the top of that piece of wood to continue the warping. With a sled, you force the planer to trace the ground surface of the sled, leaving a nice flat cut.
- Pro tip: To help yourself know when you’re done, scribble on the face you’re working on with a pencil. When all the pencil marks are gone, you will know the face is flat.
- NB: For those who don’t have a planer or binder, you can Build a router sleigh to flatten the board faces, but this takes more labor, especially if you’re milling a lot of wood.
3. One common edge. Now that one face is flat, it’s time to trim the edge. The goal is to make this edge completely straight and at a right angle to the flat face. Again, the best tool for this job is the connector. First, select the edge you want to flatten. I usually choose the one who is actually closest to the apartment. If both were wonky, I cut the ones that ride more securely along my link bed.
Lay your board on the joiner feed table with the chosen edge facing down and pre-flat face screwed to the fence. Push the plate over the cutter head, and trim the tip. Again, this will likely take several passes. When finished, the tip should be completely straight and at a right angle to the face.
- Pro tip: Use a pencil to mark the edge and face you flattened out, and draw the arrows pointing at the 90 degree angle so you don’t lose track of what you’ve done.
- NB: If you don’t have a connector for this step, you can tape the edge of a board to a table saw.
4. Flatten the second face. If you have a planer, this is pretty straightforward. Simply run the board through the machine, flat face down. Again, scribbling in a pencil on the rough side of the board will help you see if you’ve smoothed out every square inch of the wood.
The planer is the best tool for this job because it cuts parallel to the bottom face of the board, so you’ll get a uniform thickness. You cannot use the binding for this because it is not able to cut parallel to the top face. If you try, the board will likely develop a front-to-back taper, defeating the milling point.
If you do not have a flat, there are several other ways to tighten this face. The first is to use a router sled, which was also an option for step 2. The second is to use a table saw, with the square edge down and the flat face against the fence, but this method only works if the board is small enough that the saw blade can cut through.
5. Cut the remaining edge. You now have two parallel sides and a 90-degree edge to both. The next step is to trim the remaining edge on your table saw. If you know the final width you want the board to be, set the fence of your table saw at that distance from the blade. Otherwise, set the fence to cut a piece off that last edge. By taking only a small amount of wood, you reduce waste and make the board more versatile for future projects.
[Related: Tune up your table saw the right way]
Run the board through the saw with one side down and the hinged edge against the fence. This will create a cut parallel to that edge, which is also perpendicular to both sides.
- Pro tip: Any time you use your table saw, check the angle of the blade with a digital angle selector. On some projects, such as cutting boards, there is a noticeable difference between 89.8 and 90 degrees.
6. Trim the ends to length. You can trim the ends of your board with either a miter saw or a cross sled on a table saw. The latter is generally preferred because I have better control with a table saw. Plus, clutter builds up near my miter saw and I have to hold it every time I want to use the tool, while my table saw is usually straightforward.
Lay one edge against the sled fence (if using a table saw) or the fence built into the saw itself (if using a miter saw). From there, cut enough wood so that the first end is completely flat. Then flip the board over and cut it to your preferred length (or simply cut it just enough to flatten the opposite end if you’re not sure what you want to use it for).
- Pro tip: I try to keep the same edge against the fence for both pieces, for consistency, but if you grind the wood correctly to this step, it doesn’t matter which edge you use.
Now your board is perfectly square in all three dimensions, and you’ve opened up a whole new world of woodworking. Go and my son.
#grind #wood #home