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Thread: Working with S3S lumber to speed up production

  1. #1
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    Working with S3S lumber to speed up production

    Hello again, after asking questions about 4 head planers I have been directed to the possibility of using S3S lumber to help get some of the labor off of me and speed up production.

    Do any of you work with this material to build cabinet doors?

    I would ask if there is any planing and jointing needed to build cabinet doors for kitchens.

    I glue up my door parts at 13/16 thick to allow sanding and still have 3/4 finished doors.(im not sure if that is standard or not but with the cup hinges i feel full 3/4 is good.)

  2. #2
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    If you can actually get material that's consistent in thickness, it could help speed things up, but if it's not consistent...well...you know... This is going to be a "find the right supplier" kind of thing, honestly.
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    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    Hi Andy,

    Over the years, I've used S2S, S3S, S4S, straight line rip and rough. Lately I've settled on rough. I've seen a fair amount of S#S that shows up not flat and square, so I had to perform additional machining anyway, or send it back and fight about it. For me, it's easier to buy rough (for less $), buy it a little thicker, and do the machining. This way I get the quality I want.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  4. #4
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    Darn ! I figured it was too good to be true thanks for the input guys.

  5. #5
    Andy, if you are doing solid raised panels inside the doors, go ahead and get the S3S, you are going to have to reduce the thickness to 5/8 anyhow.. I agree with the other guys, it is a bit "hit or miss" with pre-planed lumber.

  6. #6
    Totally depends on the supplier and the material. There are tons of folks who make face frames, etc from S3S and S4S. If you can source quality material that arrives flat and stays flat, I would say it’s absolutely worth it for face frames, especially paint grade. Stain grade / clear coat face frames demand more attention to aesthetic grain direction (more culling) in my experience, but flat is flat and you’d be money ahead if you could source quality S3S material that would net finished 3/4” thickness.

    I love the satisfaction of milling my own parts from rough lumber, particularly for fine furniture (essential) but cabinet makers rarely get paid more for spending more time and effort milling rough lumber into 3/4” thick cabinet frames / doors vs buying quality S3S...key word is quality.

    I would ask around to other local cabinet makers and see who is able to source quality S3S material, price it out and give it a try.

    What species are you building face frames / door from and is it paint, stain or mixed?
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 02-26-2020 at 7:31 PM.
    That's just like, your opinion, man.

  7. #7
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    You all need to either find new suppliers, stop being so cheap and pay a fee cents more, or come out of the dark that your doing boutique work and don't quantify your actual costs. Virtually no one other than bespoke makers work from dead rough. It costs a fortune.

    If your surfaced material coming in at 15/16 or 7/8 doesn't leave you enough room your either buying from a crap supplier, your buying at too low a grade for your work, or your way way too fussy.

    Own one because it's one of the above.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  8. #8
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    Depends on the quality of the millwork house you buy from, and the quality of the machine they use. If they use a really high end Weinig, there's no way you could improve on it. Why not get it S4S? They're setting up a big machine anyway, should be no extra cost.

  9. #9
    Heck, I'm a hobbiest, and if I ever need more than about 100 bdft of something I order it S3S. It isn't worth my time and wear on my planer blades (and body) to mill more than that up.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    You all need to either find new suppliers, stop being so cheap and pay a fee cents more, or come out of the dark that your doing boutique work and don't quantify your actual costs. Virtually no one other than bespoke makers work from dead rough. It costs a fortune.

    If your surfaced material coming in at 15/16 or 7/8 doesn't leave you enough room your either buying from a crap supplier, your buying at too low a grade for your work, or your way way too fussy.

    Own one because it's one of the above.
    School of hard knocks student here, I definitely agree. Watched my profit margin get eaten by a extra milling way more than I care to admit.

  11. #11
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    Being in any column is fine. Love your tools, love the shop, love seeing a board appear out of the planer from rough, dont have to quantify your time because this is your fun time, thats great. Do mostly bespoke/one-of work that pays for your time handling chips, thats great. Work with a lot of local/sawmill stuff and dont have access to surfacing, bummer. Are extremely fussy and unpleasable, thats your gig. But even off a simple straight planer, to not be able to get decent quality material into your shop 75% of the way to ready to go to work and leaving you enough room to color/grain sort, joint, and so on, is just kidding yourself.

    Another shop sent me this link the other day http://www.yoderlumber.com/images/pd...rpricelist.pdf

    Scroll down to the bottom. $0.08/bf for surfacing, $0.08/bf for SLR1E. Thats insane. Even with the $20 minimum you buy 200 board feet of material and bring boards to your shop, not all the chips and off falls, for that cheap. You cant surface and straight line 200 feet of lumber in a hobby shop for 4x that price.

    Said it before, be great to have the capacity of a large shop where to bring in #1 or #2 common or dead rough and grade in-house/cull out juicy stuff, but small shop, if you crunching the numbers or looking at time/production your best bet is likely to buy the highest grade material your supplier has available, and get it as close as you can to your finished product while allowing enough material to do whatever you need to do.
    Last edited by Mark Bolton; 02-27-2020 at 12:52 PM.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  12. #12
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    Gosh! I have spent so long learning things the wrong way. I have an options to buy s3s from my CnC guy. he runs a much bigger shop then me and he cuts all of my body parts from eCabs. He has offered me to buy s3s from him and he says he uses it on all of his doors and faceframes.
    It seems giving it a try may be worth it after reading all of this great info.
    As for the machine it was cut on i am not sure because he buys all of it from another source.
    he told me jointing and planing this wood is not needed to make doors. That sounds dreamy to me !

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy photenas View Post
    Gosh! I have spent so long learning things the wrong way. I have an options to buy s3s from my CnC guy. he runs a much bigger shop then me and he cuts all of my body parts from eCabs. He has offered me to buy s3s from him and he says he uses it on all of his doors and faceframes.
    It seems giving it a try may be worth it after reading all of this great info.
    As for the machine it was cut on i am not sure because he buys all of it from another source.
    he told me jointing and planing this wood is not needed to make doors. That sounds dreamy to me !
    I would sure give it a try. From my sources, trying to get consistent S3S would be like trusting the factory edge on a sheet of plywood.
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  14. #14
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    Yup, the idea is sound if you can get consistent material so you can achieve the quality of joinery you likely expect without burning time fixing things.
    --

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

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    I would sure give it a try. From my sources, trying to get consistent S3S would be like trusting the factory edge on a sheet of plywood.
    I dont see how you cant bring in your material fat at even say 15/16" and have enough material to get to 3/4" in a situation where you'd be running 4/4? Are you saying every stick of material that would come in from your supplier that has almost an extra quarter inch of thickness STILL doesnt leave you enough room to get flat on a jointer and co-planar through the planer? Thats completely nuts. You really need more than 1/4" of material to get flat? You'd have all the room in the world from a straight line rip on width, any good SLR is going to take the bare minimum to get one straight edge and its never going to be a glue line rip by the time it makes it to your shop but youve got one fence-ready edge as opposed to a dead rough edge and no drop to handle.

    If you cant get flat in 1/4" then I guess its back to low grade/twisty/severely cupped/need long parts. Of course in that situation you'd need all the material you can get to get a 4/4 board out of 5/4 or 6/4 dead rough. Thats not cabinet making.

    This conversation I believe started off on cab parts where perhaps other than a pantry door most of your parts will be sub 40" (thinking full height uppers with 8-9' ceilings).

    Unless you have primo supplier (I am lucky there I guess) no one is saying you'd bring in dead on your dimesion. My day to day comes in at 13/16 for 4/4, 15/16 if Im trying to hit 13/16 or 7/8 (I like cab doors at 13/16 minimum).

    Comparing it to plywood is my point, apples and oranges. A ridiculous sheet of ply may be out of square by 1/8" on the diagonals with relatively straight edges in comparison to a bad SLR. Good one will be glue line off the saw but not by the time it gets to your shop but it will likely be as good as any sheet of ply. The point is your intimating that your stock should land surfaced from your supplier ready to use. May be for some, I joint nothing, but bringing in at 15/16 or 7/8 should leave anyone plenty of room and your still going to be handling 1/3 of the chips, but to not handle the other 2/3 and the drops.. yeesh... I dont get it. A crap supplier at 15/16 I could still run all day long but my prices would go through the roof.
    Last edited by Mark Bolton; 02-28-2020 at 1:24 PM.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

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