It's generally more difficult to find long boards. Stock under four or five feet long can often be cut from longer boards, but as the parts become longer, the rough stock will have to be either very clear and straight, or have extra thickness to allow you to remove any bow along its length. In making parts for the room divider (featured in this issue), four stiles had to be set aside: three because they kept bowing no matter how often they were jointed flat, and one because it was under the minimum thickness by the time it was flat.
For someone just beginning to purchase hardwood lumber, lumber grades can be overwhelming. Most lumber companies use the generally accepted grading rules set by the National Hardwood Lumber Association. Grades are based on the amount of usable clear material in a board. The highest grade boards are FAS and Select, followed by #1 Common and #2 Common. What grade you choose depends on your project. Some projects, such as tabletops and high quality furniture, may dictate the highest grade available. Many other projects are just as easily adapted to #1 Common (often referred to as cabinet grade) – kitchen cabinet doors, smaller projects and items where some character is acceptable.

I consider this my “basic” tool list. Although I do not have a dedicated box for these tools, I assure you that they have a great home in cabinets, on shelves, and laying around on benches. When I do need to take my hand tools somewhere, the larger tools end up in a simple tongue and grooved latch box my grandfather owned. The smaller tools are always in my overall pockets. Overalls work great. They have multiple pockets, they’re comfortable, and they protect your upper body and legs. You only have to deal with small chunks of wood getting into the pockets, which can be dealt with if you or your other half are crafty enough to sew some flaps. It doesn’t bother me though. Thanks for your time.
Hi Alex! I usually only do one coat of stain for darker colors like Dark Walnut. The dark wax doesn’t make a huge difference in the color since the stain is already pretty dark, but I like using wax on furniture to give it more of a natural finish versus a poly. For pieces that get used and abused heavily (like our dining room table) I use a matte finish poly, but for the coffee table wax worked just fine. I hope this helps!
The course was fantastic and exceeded my expectations so much that I then booked the second week plumbing course covering domestic hot water systems. Again the centre and staff were excellent and I then booked a third week to take advantage of their ‘4 for 3’ offer so I’ve now done the tiling and carpentry courses. All staff at Yta are so friendly and helpful and I will be recommending the courses to all my friends and family. I will definitely be returning to book more courses and that seemed to be the thinking of other students also. Fantastic training centre! I wish there was an option for more than 5 stars! They deserve it.

The Amish here in Ohio use a nifty wooden rule for calculating bd. ft. It has a brass football shaped hook on the end and they’re about 2′ long. Three columns of numbers run down the length of stick. These columns are the length of stock say, 12,14,16 foot. Within these columns, bd. ft. has already been calculated and marked. For a 16′ bd. the hook is placed over one edge and a reading of bd. ft. is taken from opposite edge from the 16′ column. “Audels Carpenters and Builders Guide #1” pg. 146, shows a good example. They call… Read more »

Always be on the lookout for usable wood. You might be able to salvage some. You can use a metal detector to find nails and screws. You don’t need a full fledged metal detector. I use a pinpointer made by Garrett. If your wood has some woodboring beetles you can still use it if not eaten too badly. A healthy dose of cyfluthrin will take care of them.
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When you've selected your lumber, restack the pile neatly. Before heading off, calculate the number of board feet you have pulled just to be sure you have enough. It's advisable to allow for errors, waste and slight changes in plan when purchasing your material. Depending on the material and the complexity of the project I'll typically allow from 10 to 40% extra.


However, if you want to stain or clear-coat the project, you'll have a number of choices to look through. Since your local home center megamart will probably only carry a couple of hardwood species (poplar and red oak are common) spend time at a fine wood supplier and look through the vareties available. They should be able to help you determine how each species will look when finished, which will go a long way toward refining your decision.
Thank you so much, Fawn!! I think using pocket holes to connect the top boards is a fantastic idea, and we actually did that with the bigger dining room table we did a few weeks ago. For our coffee table, I kind of liked the look of small gaps in between each board… gives it a more rustic look I think! 🙂 Have fun building your table… I’d love to see it! Tag me on Instagram!
Birch comes in two varieties: yellow and white. Yellow birch is a pale yellow-to-white wood with reddish-brown heartwood, whereas white birch has a whiter color that resembles maple. Both types of birch have a hardness of 4 on a scale of 1 to 5. Birch is readily available and less expensive than many other hardwoods. You can find birch at many home centers, although the selection is better at a lumberyard.

Make sure that as you work with machinery, you are wearing a face shield or safety goggles. If you are exposed to noise, use hearing protection to match the level of noise production. Gloves can protect your hands from splinters. If your woodworking machinery has a cover to protect the start and stop buttons, it is advisable to obtain one for yourself. This will protect the start buttons so that you do not accidentally activate machines.
I think it depends on the type of woodworker you would like to become. Are you more interested in traditional “electric free” carpentry or are you drawn to the ease and convenience of modern machinery? Also, I think you should take into consideration what kind and how much shop space you have available. I have worked with all the modern machines for years now, and are just presently finding personal satisfaction in traditional woodworking. In fact, last night I built my very first bookcase with just a few “powerless” hand tools. So in all, I would suggest some personal reflection…What type of woodworker do you want to become?…and from there garnish your shop appropriately.
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