– Ben Martens

Milling Wood

Years ago, I didn’t understand how wood got milled to the right dimensions. When I planned out Tyla’s jewelry box,I spent an unreasonable number of hours trying to figure out how to get wood that was the right thickness. Fast forward a few years and I’m now much more comfortable with buying any sized chunk of wood and getting it to the right thickness, width and length.

There are four tools generally involved in the way that I do it:

  1. First I use the jointer to get two flat and 90 degree faces on the board. These give me good (and safe) reference points to use other tools.
  2. If the wood is much thicker than I need, I’ll use the bandsaw next. This lets me slice down the length of the board to make two thinner boards.It’s less wasteful than turning all the extra thickness into sawdust.
  3. The bandsaw isn’t incredibly precise and it leaves some saw marks, so the next step is the planer. I use the jointed face on the bottom as a reference and then make the top face parallel and get the board to exactly the right thickness.
  4. The final step is the last edge and that can be easily trimmed up on the table saw.

When I started building Elijah’s Christmas present, I took a video of that process of milling one board. It was only about 1″ thick and I need a 1 1/2″ thick board so I milled it down to 3/4″, cut it in half and glued the two halves together.