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Thread: How to straight cut crooked lumber

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    New Brunswick

    Default How to straight cut crooked lumber

    I have a large amoumt of rough Oak which has been stored inside for well over 15 years.There are various sizes . The boards that are 4 to 8 inches wide have " crooked " a fair amount . On a 10 to 12 foot board it could be out as much as an inch in the middle.How can I cut them so I have straight lumber to use. I have a table saw , band saw , planner and various sanders. I also have access to a jointer. Any advice would be appricated.

    P/S First time to the forum and like it.
    Thanks Camp44

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    St. Catharines

    Default Re: How to straight cut crooked lumber

    There are various approaches to this.
    I clamp down the bent board to a sled which is basically a straight board. That straight board has a strip of wood attached underneath and the strip runs inside the miter slow on the table saw. Alternatively, the straight board could be simply run against the fence, with the bent board on top, again, attached with clamps.

    You write nothing about the application of your lumber, but if it is furniture then I know of few projects that require 10 foot lengths. Cut the rough wood to the lengths appropriate for your project and this will diminish the degree of bend in the resulting pieces - less loss of material.
    In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    South Shore Nova Scotia

    Default Re: How to straight cut crooked lumber

    Decide on a finished dimension and work each board as dictated by it's condition.

    Sleds can be very handy and don't have to be complicated.
    The South Shore, Nova Scotia

  5. #4

    Default Re: How to straight cut crooked lumber

    It sounds like you want to true up all the wood at one time. My philosophy on that is not to do it. Once you work wood. (Square up your stock) It can still move on you.. Warp and things. If you let it sit for a week or two after that, it will warp again. So the best plan of action for me is to keep the stock the way it is untill I want to build something. I take my bill of materials and select my boards for each piece. Usually starting with the largest piece needed, on the smallest piece of suitable stock. Then I would rip to length giving a few inches for waste. Once it's ripped I use the same method as Darius uses but you can use a jig saw or skill saw to rip a straight edge. Then take it to the joiner and run your edge and face side. rip the opposite edge on the table saw, and then to thickness in the planer. Hope that helps
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  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Toronto Ontario
    Real Name
    A.B. Normal

    Default Re: How to straight cut crooked lumber

    Hi, as others have said, the first step is to cut it to length, a bit longer than you need the finished piece to be.

    If there is a lot of material to remove to straighten an edge, make a sled for the tablesaw as indicated above.

    If there isn't a lot of material to remove go to the jointer.

    At the jointer you flatten one face, the one edge.

    Rip to a bit oversize to width.

    Plane the other face to desired thickness, plane the saw cut edge to desired width.

    Regards, Rod.

    P.S. You need a jointer, a planer is only half of the team.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Real Name
    Mark Rose

    Default Re: How to straight cut crooked lumber

    The way I do this layout is to mark rough lengths about 3/4 oversized to the finished length. Then snap a chalk line to layout one side for a straight edge, That way you can see what you are doing and change your mind if needed by blowing compressed air on the wood. Also you can see the wood and waste. You can play with the line in and out from end to end, to get the most out of the wood grain.
    Rough off the waste with the bandsaw freehand, much safer than a table saw then head to the jointer face joint, edge joint, then thickness planer.
    Cheers, Mark
    Last edited by Mark in Burlington; 03-18-2012 at 07:05 PM.
    Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut, that held its ground.

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  9. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    13 Critchley Avenue, PO Box 36, Monteith Ont, P0K1P0

    Default Re: How to straight cut crooked lumber

    I do exactly as the others have suggested. I use the table saw and a mitre saw for rough sizing.

    Here's some gnarly Elm boards roughed and used (are yours this gnarly?):

  10. #8

    Default Re: How to straight cut crooked lumber

    All you need is a piece of aluminum or steel angle long enough , tape it to one side of your board , run the metal part along your ts fence , you now have a straight side , run it on the fence to get the other side straight. keep smiling John

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    New Brunswick

    Default Re: How to straight cut crooked lumber

    Thanks guys ,Ii think I have the idea now. Will give it a try. Not doing all the wood at one time and will cut to size needed plus a couple of inches.
    Thanks again

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Bromptonville Québec

    Default Re: How to straight cut crooked lumber

    Hi Ed. First welcome to Canadian Woodworking Forum. Glad to have you here. You said your boards have (crooked) a fair amount. In order to make a suggestion I need to know if your boards are cupped or warped. Or both.

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