New project [stock prep] 1

I recently went to an Amish sawmill to buy some rough-sawn pine to do some remolding in my horse barn. The owner showed me a pile of white pine that had been sitting for about a year. He said that I could have it cheap because it had some discoloration. There was only a little over 300 board feet so I bought it all. While doing the remodeling in the barn I set aside all the clear and near clear boards I found in the pile. After only a week in the shop it tested with the same moisture content as the rest of the lumber in the shop, so here’s the first project using this wood.

For this series I am not going to tell what it is and where it came from until the end, just for a change.

Building a box [case]

First I broke down the stock into slightly over size pieces, I used an old Disston #7 hand saw Because nothing is square at this point final sizing is done latter in the process.

rough pine

I jointed one edge with a #5 and then ran all 4 pieces through the band saw to make the long edges parallel. I know a band saw is not a hand tool, but I really hate ripping by hand. I used the narrowest board to set the with of the cut on the saw. I did not measure so I don’t know how wide these boards are. I would guess they are about 7″ plus or minus.


I next worked the wide faces of the 4 boards. If there was a severe cup I used a scrub plane to remove it. I work smaller pieces like these on the end of my bench. I have a piece of scrap screwed to the back edge of the bench for a plane stop. When it gets to beat up I just screw a new piece of scrap on. If the stop is to tall for what I am working on, I just plane the stop down.


You can see the plane tracks on the scrubbed surface. I will leave some surfaces without further smoothing if they will not show, like drawer bottoms. The idea of smoothing all the hidden surfaces only became common after machines began to do the work. To me, tool marks are a connection to the maker of a piece, not a flaw. I am always happy to see the connection.

scrubbed surface

If there is no cup I will go to a fore plane with a less cambered blade. Here you can see a better view of the stop. If I could only have one plane this would be the one, the rosewood body never needs to be waxed, it slides on the surface with little effort and it seems like the blade never needs to be sharpened. When I bought it the tote was broke off, I don’t know if the one I made is correct but it works.

fore plane

Here we see the 4 pieces ready for the dove tails. This piece is being built from a photograph. I only have the over all dimensions not the sizes of the components. The size of these components will determine the size of all the rest. As long as the rest of the piece is build in proportion to these it will look all rite but not be an exact duplicate of the original. These 4 pieces are to be dovetailed together to form a box. All that matters is that there are two sets of boards that are the same length so the box is square. I started with the shortest board in each set and squared the ends on the shooting board. I then planed the second board in each set to match. I don’t know exactly how long they are and it does not matter as long as everything else is based on these.


Measuring with a ruler is the best way to introduce inaccuracy into your work. When each piece is marked and made directly from the previous pieces it reduces errors. I only use a ruler when necessary like setting the height of a table or the height of a chair. Whenever possible I mark directly.

About millcrek

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3 Responses to New project [stock prep] 1

  1. That’s really nice stock. I love nice pine. Such an under appreciated wood.

  2. Jack Plane says:

    I haven’t hand-ripped anything since I was about ninteen. There’s no shame in using a bandsaw if it does what you want it to do.
    It’s good to see a scrub plane being used; they’re not something one sees too often now. I plane all faces of every board with a scrub plane; some are left with the resulting furrows and others obviously get further refined. I like the feel of a slightly furrowed surface beneath a table or drawer bottom etc.

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