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Thread: Do You Mill Your Own Lumber?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Engel View Post
    IMO air dried rough lumber is the best.
    Yeek. Til you get sued for some bug infestation that either was or wasnt your fault. There is zero non KD material allowed in the shop. Oak is the dead worst. You could have a bunk of AD oak (any flavor) in your shop and open the overhead doors on a sunny day and your wood rack can be infested in a millisecond.

    While there is always the warning for reinfestation even after KD it is so rare no one can even state a case of it.

    AD lumber is very very very dangerous if your selling your work.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  2. #17
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    Like Zach, I also thought we were talking about logs to lumber. That I probably will never do. I have purchased enough bulk buys of lumber to know i hate moving thousands of boardfeet by hand.

    Depending on the amount of wood you process a year, i think those tools pay for themselves pretty quickly. Not only by the essential tasks they perform during the build process, but they literally allow you to buy material 33%+ off. Without them, you need to buy S3S, which is usually $1-2 extra per board foot. For some species, that is almost doubling the cost of the product. It's not unusual for me to buy a few thousand boardfeet each year, so after 3ish years my jointer and planer paid for themselves. Not to mention, the S3S lumber ive seen is uniform thickness, but not straight or flat enough for my standards.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Kane View Post
    Like Zach, I also thought we were talking about logs to lumber. That I probably will never do. I have purchased enough bulk buys of lumber to know i hate moving thousands of boardfeet by hand.

    Depending on the amount of wood you process a year, i think those tools pay for themselves pretty quickly. Not only by the essential tasks they perform during the build process, but they literally allow you to buy material 33%+ off. Without them, you need to buy S3S, which is usually $1-2 extra per board foot. For some species, that is almost doubling the cost of the product. It's not unusual for me to buy a few thousand boardfeet each year, so after 3ish years my jointer and planer paid for themselves. Not to mention, the S3S lumber ive seen is uniform thickness, but not straight or flat enough for my standards.
    Are you factoring in labor, knife sharpening, hauling chips? or just the cost of the machine?

    We pay $130/MBF for S2S SLR1E. (thirteen cents a board foot). There is no chips to haul, no knives to sharpen, no boards with long pounded down knicks from an errant piece of grit that wipes out a knife, no straight line drops to handle.

    Id imagine we would be well in excess of 50MBF, and probably more like 100MBF before we would ever make a double sided planer, good SLR, grinder, chip handling, pay for itself.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  4. #19
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    When you said "milling", I also thought you meant slicing and dicing logs.

    Yes, I generally prepare all my material from rough sawn or skip planed material. It's more economical to buy rough and lightly skip planed lumber and by jointing it flat and thicknessing myself, I have absolute control of things like grain match, figure and color, thickness, etc. I'm a firm believer that selecting the material is the very first step in the finishing process and doing a good job there can take a project from "that's nice" to "wow!". I also prefer to work in the thicknesses that are appropriate for my project, not the thicknesses that are on the rack at some supplier. Proportion is everything sometimes. (I've moved to metric, too) And having someone else joint/plane for you will almost never result in the same quality you will get with your own tools if you become skilled at the task, despite the time it takes to do it.

    That said, if you do basic projects that can work with commonly available thicknesses and "quality of flat" you might get from a supplier, there's no harm in simplifying your life.

    If it makes you feel any better...I've barely touched my lathe in something like 8 years. I'd not give it up as it's a very capable machine for when I want or need it and I wouldn't get close to it's value in resale. (Stubby 750) I'm hoping to get back to turning a little going forward, even if it's small things for other kinds of projects.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny means View Post
    I wouldn't ever want someone else determining how my lumber was milled. Not being able to mill my own would drastically reduce the quality of my work.

    What he said.......

  6. #21
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    No way would I sell my planer and jointer. Itís the first step of EVERYTHING. I mill my lumber from the sawmill, and Iíd mill wood from the big box store too if I ever bought it because itís rarely flat.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    Are you factoring in labor, knife sharpening, hauling chips? or just the cost of the machine?

    We pay $130/MBF for S2S SLR1E. (thirteen cents a board foot). There is no chips to haul, no knives to sharpen, no boards with long pounded down knicks from an errant piece of grit that wipes out a knife, no straight line drops to handle.

    Id imagine we would be well in excess of 50MBF, and probably more like 100MBF before we would ever make a double sided planer, good SLR, grinder, chip handling, pay for itself.

    Mark, we are dealing with drastically different pricing. You are paying 1/10th the price that has been quoted to me in the past for milling services. On top of that, i looked at surfaced options off the rack in the past, and they are almost double the cost of rough material. Not to mention they have sat on a rack for months, which caused them to move more than i would accept for my projects.

    Now, IF i had access to the same service pricing you do, then i would be hard pressed in some situations. I dont do as much work now, but i used to make a lot of table tops, islands, counters, shelves, bars, etc. Basically, i used to joint, plane, and glue a lot of material. At the time, milling was probably 30-40% of my labor in a project, and as we all know, it can be laborious. Schlepping around long and wide 8/4 for 8 hours a day is best avoided. I would have happily paid $0.13 a board foot for S2S let alone S3S. That kind of work doesnt need dead nuts flat/straight lumber. I dont think i would ever build furniture from previously surfaced material. Im just very anal about stuff being right on those projects.

    Correct, my statement did not include wear and tear on knives or electricity usage. However, i havent gone through a set of carbide inserts yet, so that is included in the initial machine investment. Also, somehow my residential waste management hasnt refused my chip disposal yet. Im waiting for that day, because there have been trash days where i have 200+ gallons of sawdust sitting at the curb. Helps to give those gents a cash tip every christmas.

  8. #23
    I have two lumber places near me that sell kiln dried hardwoods for a fraction of what the borgs want for poorer quality material. It is all dimensional lumber and I've never had a quality issue. I do have a lunch box planer and a jointer when I need special thicknesses. One place will even let me cherry pick the highly figured pieces because his primary customers (contractors) want the vanilla grain boards.
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 01-06-2020 at 6:45 PM.
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  9. #24
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    Probably everyone has said this, but I wouldn't recommend selling them, especially since you have been using them for awhile and are used to getting what you want from hardwood. With a jointer (especially an 8" jointer) you can flatten most boards on one side and then use your planer to get them to exactly the thickness you want or need for your project. I've used a 13" planer for over 10 years and a jointer for the past 35+ years. I upgrade to an 8" helical head jointer about 6 years ago and it changed my whole process. Once you've owned a jointer and planer, you won't be satisfied with what you buy and get processed at the lumber yard.

  10. #25
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    NE Iowa
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    Having a planer and jointer made woodworking way more interesting and fun for me. I know buy rough sawn almost exclusively when purchasing from suppliers, and just as importantly, now saw stock from any promising trees I'm bucking for firewood (using a chainsaw mill - but I may spring for a bandsaw mill when I retire) , and take timber quality boles to a local sawyer. I might buy s2s lumber if I were doing a whole set of cabinets, but that's not likely.

  11. #26
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    My gut tells me you should dump them...

    You have a list of reasons why not to keep them.

    Can you list a number of reasons why you should keep them?

    My impression from your post is that you really do not have the interest level/desire needed to keep and use them.

    Personally, I have this problem of never wanting to get rid of ANY tool I have. But it sounds like we may differ in that respect.

    Yes, there is a chance you may regret getting rid of them. Perhaps you should give them to your son...he could provide upkeep and a good home, and you could still use them if needed...
    Too much to do...Not enough time...life is too short!

  12. #27
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    I almost exclusively buy rough sawn lumber and mill it myself. I did this even when I had a lunchbox planer and portable table saw. Now I have a 12Ē jointer, 15Ē planer, and a Unisaw. I would never want to go back to being limited to S4S for my projects. Donít sell your jointer and planer!

  13. #28
    In a previous life, I built cabinets for homes I built. Would buy planed lumber for the face frames and other parts, and never was the lumber i bought nearly straight. When I cut a board, joint it flat and surface it to thickness, it is flat instead of curved, and the whole project comes out much better than just '"good enough".

  14. #29
    I'm technically a hobbiest, but I would say even for me the answer is not straight forward. I have a 15" planer and a crummy 6" jointer (it will turn into a larger one someday) and i would not get rid of them. That said, I don't like thickening and jointing lumber. To me is it a mind-numbing, annoying delay at the start of the project. I normally start off with rough lumber, but if I needed more than say 100 bdft, I would just have the lumber yard mill it S2S with a straight line rip. It cost something like $35 to do. I also would have them deliver, as it wasn't worth my time to sort and pick out that much lumber. Unfortunately that place was located on land worth about 5 times the value of the business and is no longer there

  15. #30
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    The issue with having the lumber seller preparing the lumber is that few are going to actually flatten the stock properly before they thickness. It will all be the stated thickness, but that's very different than being flat. Some even just run double sided planers to create those " 3/4" thick boards " in the rack...and the scalloping is "awesome". This is likely true for the majority of S3S oe S4S material out there, IMHO.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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