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.
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.
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Delta 22-590 13 in. portable thickness planer includes: Delta 22-590 13 in. portable thickness planer includes: 3 cutting knives cutter head wrench dust chute with 4 in. port and magnetic blade changing tool. High-speed steel indexed double-sided knives provides 2X blade life and allows for quick blade changes. Oversized cutter head height adjustment handle with indexing ring provides ... More + Product Details Close
The next important hand tool for the woodworker is an accurate tape measure. Get a retractable one that is at least 25 feet long. Any longer than that, and you start having problems getting it to roll back up. Since measurements on large scale projects can be very susceptible to even the most minute measurement variations, you’ll want to make sure the “hook” or tab at the end of the is firmly attached, with no give. When they get loose, you’ll have as much as 1/8” variation in your measurements. This can add up to some severe accuracy problems in the long run.
If desired, add decorative trim pieces to your coffee table. We used an x pattern, but you can leave it as-is if desired. Simply dry fit your pattern into the side panels of your coffee table. Then attach using wood glue and brad nails. After your pieces have been added, fill any holes. Once your wood filler is dry, sand with 120 grit sandpaper. Then stain or paint and finish with a polyurethane.
1: Table saw in place of a jointer. Any number of tips in previous issues address straightening edges of boards without a jointer. A jointer serves one purpose, but a tablesaw can serve many (just watch your local Craigslist for a decent one to come up.) The thickness planer is unavoidable, but until you can afford one, buy stock in the thickness you need.