Just milling around

For some unknown reason, my favorite part of a furniture project is the milling. For those of you not in “the know,” milling is the process of cutting down your rough stock lumber into the approximate sized pieces for your project.

For most of my furniture projects, I use rough cut lumber for a number of reasons. It’s usually a lot cheaper per board foot compared to the finished lumber at the big box store, and it is available in much thicker sizes than finished stock.

Rough stock

As the name implies rough cut lumber does not look as good as finished lumber because it is really “rough.” It will have saw mill marks along with ink marks, and it might not be perfectly straight, or it might have slight cupping. The key is to see the potential within the board. Michael Angelo said the statue was in the rock all along, and he just brought it out.  So I look for what might be within the board. Another advantage of rough cut lumber is that it gives you more of a margin for error while saving money at the same time.

See the potential within the wood?

I do part of the roughing work by hand. I will hand plane one side of the board flat and straight, then true up the thin side so I have two square sides before I start with using machinery. I could use my jointer, but if you have any twist or bow, I can flatten it out faster by hand without snipe or tear out and save electricity. And sometimes this can be a good workout too, so burning the extra calories is a plus.


I don’t really know why I like the milling part best, but I just do. I wonder if a tailor gets excited when they look at a bolt of fabric the way I get excited looking at my boards.

So a new commission has begun. I am working on a custom sized pool que holder. I hope you will enjoy reading about this project as it progresses along.

And so it begins!






About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
This entry was posted in In Yaakov's Workshop and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Just milling around

  1. Andy Coates says:

    How many planes?!!!!!!!!

    • yaakov says:

      I have just enough planes for milling:
      Scrub plane (works like a beaver on red-bull)
      Jack plane
      Jointer plane
      Smoothing plane

      Love’em love’em love’em!!

  2. It’s my favorite point too – only the promise, none of the reality. You can get all of it done in a day and think to yourself – great! I’ll have this finished in a jiff….

    Two years later…

  3. Yaakov, some of us must be made from the same bolt or rough cut piece. Family here wonders why I have such fun picking cottonwood bark or logs out of the forest. Then they ask what was going on when so much time was spent in the wood shed. Hard for them to understand how many pieces get picked up, mused over, and returned to the pile for a better idea. Will watch the progress. Shalom,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s