Once you have designed a project and purchased the lumber, you must prepare the stock, jointing and planing it smooth and square, cutting it to the proper dimensions and sanding any surfaces that will be difficult to reach when the work is assembled.
The procedures you follow depend on how the wood was surfaced before you bought it. For rough, unsurfaced lumber, first smooth one face on the jointer, then one edge, producing two adjoining surfaces that are at 90° to each other. Next, plane the other face of the
board to make it parallel to the first. When the stock is square and smooth, you are ready to rip it to width and crosscut it to length.
For S2S lumber, which has already had both faces surfaced, you need only joint one edge across the jointer, then cut to width and length. S4S stock, with all four surfaces dressed, can be ripped and crosscut immediately; only surfaces that will be glued together must be jointed. Before gluing up any part of your project, remember to sand any surfaces that will be hard to reach after assembly.
Slide the fence toward the guard, if necessary, to ensure that no portion of the cutter knives will be exposed as the workpiece passes over them. Lay the workpiece face-down on the infeed table a few inches from the knives. Butt its edge against the fence, then place two push blocks squarely on its face, centered between the edges. (Use push blocks with offset handles to prevent your hands from hitting the
fence.) Feed the board slowly and steadily across the knives (above) applying downward pressure on the outfeed side of the knives and lateral pressure against the fence. When working with long stock, bring your left hand to the back of the workpiece when your right hand passes the knives. When one face is done, joint the board edge as shown in the photo above.
Set the cutting depth to Me inch. Stand to one side of the planer and use both hands to feed the stock carefully into the machine. Once the feed mechanism grips the board and begins to pull it across the cutterhead, support the trailing end to keep it flat on the table (above). Then move to the outfeed side of the planer to support the workpiece with both hands until it clears the outfeed roller. To prevent the stock from warping in use, avoid planing only one face; instead, plane the same amount of wood from both sides.
Salvaging cupped stock on the band saw
You can salvage cupped boards using the band saw, radial arm saw, or table saw by ripping the stock into narrower boards. Iryou are using the band saw as shown here, install your widest blade and a rip fence. The narrower the width of cut, the flatter the resulting boards. Set the board convex (high) side up on the table and, butting the board against the fence, feed it steadily into the blade. Finish the pass with a push stick. Remove any remaining high spots on the jointer.
Set the blade height about / inch above the workpiece. Position the rip fence for the width of cut, then push the stock into the blade, holding it firmly against the fence with your left hand and feeding the board with both thumbs (above). Stand slightly to one side of the workpiece and straddle the fence
with your right hand, making certain that neither hand is in line with the blade. Keep pushing the board until the blade cuts through it completely. To keep your fingers from coming closer than 3 inches from the blade, use a push stick to complete the pass. (Caution: Blade guard partially retracted for clarity.)
With the workpiece flush against the miter gauge, align the cutting mark with the blade. Position the rip fence well away from the end of the stock to prevent the cut-off piece from jamming against the blade and kicking back toward you. Hook the thumbs of both hands over the miter gauge to hold the stock firmly against the gauge and flat on the table, then feed the board into the blade (right). (Caution: Blade guard partially retracted for clarity.)
Making repeat cuts with the table saw
To cut several boards to the same length on the table saw, screw a board to the miter gauge as an extension, ensuring that one end extends beyond the saw blade. Push the miter gauge to cut into the end of the extension. Turn off the saw and mark the length of cut on the extension.
Align a wood block with the mark and clamp it in place as a stop block. To line up each cut, butt the end of the workpiece against the block and make the cut.