Clear Cuttings In A Typical No Common Board

Cutting No. 3-41/2 in. x 41/2 ft Cutting No. 4-6 in. x 52/3 ft

Wood graders gauge the value of a board by figuring how many clear pieces can be cut from it


also advises against putting stickers between layers of kiln-dried wood, saying they promote air circulation and moisture changes.

Moisture can wreak havoc on surfaced stock, and that's a good reason not to buy lumber that way. Wall said some of his customers have been especially discouraged with surfaced stock-after seeing how much a species like oak moves and twists shortly after thev

get the lumber to their shops.

Here's another tip: It s often more economical and easier to mill pan of a rough-cut board to produce a project than to process the whole board. If you only need a 3-ft. long piece, it doesn't pay to joint, flatten, and thickness-plane an entire 8-ft. board. Besides, cutting the board into shorter segments can significantly reduce warp in the leftover piece and make subsequent milling operations easier.

Processing your own wood gives you an opportunity to learn more about the material and how it changes with the seasons, says Wayne Raab, head of the woodworking program at Haywood Community College in Clyde, North Carolina.

Raab encourages people to use moisture meters, although the actual moisture level of a piece of wood is not as much of a problem as mixing stock with divergent moisture levels in the same project. "If you mix a piece at 12 percent with pieces at 8 percent, there's a good chance that you're going to have popping joints," he says.

Once you learn to deal with wood movement and to work with the random widths in which hardwood comes, you can build anything. Gluing up narrow stock to make wider boards produces components that are stronger and more stable than many wider boards. For Raab's students, "Working with narrow stock makes them more appreciative of wide, exceptionally beautiful boards and convinces them to hold these special pieces for more decorative work. It helps build an appreciation for material." he says.

Buying by the Log

Furniture-maker Mehler savs he

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