2 More ways of saving money on lumber include the kinds of materials you select, such man-made materials like MDF, Plywoods, Laminated woods, Hardboards, Particleboard and or OR ... selecting natural boards and trimming and cutting them to get the best wood from them while cutting away defects.

Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/9YBNBYfevGU

What you do with the wood after you get it home can be just as important as the time and effort you put into selecting it, so minimizing defects and making the best cuts becomes very important ...

Setting wood for woodworking

Man-Made Woods
Selecting-man made woods like plywood, MDF, and laminated woods is one way of saving money and getting some excellent materials. Not every woodworker enjoys working with these materials so it is a matter of preference, but there are some advantages. 

Sheet goods as they are called, are normally much less expensive than purchasing natural woods because of how they are made. Better quality woods like cabinet grade plywoods and MDF are normally very flat to work with and in the case of cabinet grade plywood, they may even come with a finished veneer on them like Oak, Maple, Teak etc so all you need to do is cut them to size and put some edge treatment on them and they are ready to go. 

In the case of MDF, again there are various grades and thicknesses and because this material is very flat and stable it is frequently used for veneering. Veneering just means applying a thin layer of natural wood over top a stable product like MDF. This can be done using contact cement or using veneering glue and pressing the sheets onto the substrate using a vacuum press. Either way the results are excellent and can produce exotic looking panels that are flat, stable and easy to work with, and because we are only using thin sheets of veneer rather that thick boards, we are saving a lot of good valuable lumber while still having the benefit of having but just in a thinner version. 

Sheet veneering is available from a variety of suppliers, who are all probably good, I just have not dealt with them, but one that I have dealt with who are very helpful and friendly and will ship anywhere is a company called Oakwood Veneer, check out their website for much more veneering information..

In the case of special woods like burls, flame or birdseye woods that are already rare, using them in thin sheets means we can get much more square footage of coverage from just one log than cutting it up into board ... which would be very expensive and most of the wood features are buried, unseen, inside the board. 

Using sheet goods works best when larger projects are being made, like cabinets, bookcases, cupboards etc. They will often work fine for smaller projects but will require more cut planning but in either case, excellent results can be made.

Natual Woods
As touched on in previous episodes, the problem with natural woods is that they come with defects such as warping, knots, cracks, edge damage or bark, cross-grain and even the kind of cut you use may affect the wood. In an ideal world, we would all like to use Quartersawn wood but it is more expensive because there is less of it than Rift Sawn and Flat Sawn woods. 

The toughest decisions once you get your wood home is how am I going to cut it to get the best value from it. The first thing to note is that cutting your wood to length is normally the final thing you will do be using it, this includes after it has been glued if that is how it is used. 

Sadly this can happen to any wood at any time. Often wood purchased at the wood store when brought home after a period time can warp on you. Sometimes severely, other times mildly, but warping is common and there is little that can be done about warped wood except to cut in a way that minimizes its effects. Warped wood can be cut ripped or crosscut to help it conform with where it needs to be used, or in the case of ripping, sometimes a board with mild warping can be rip cut and re-glued to make the board more stable and to eliminate or at least minimize warping. 

These nasty defects can also crop up at any time, the good news is that often dealing with cracks is a little easier than warping. Again the best way to deal with cracks is to rip the wood, then re-glue, and the advantage of doing this often means the grain and color of the wood will already match so the glue line can often be invisible or near invisible. Note, my preference for a blade for this is the Freud Glue Line Rip blade, a full kerf blade that gives outstanding edge smoothness that often does not even need to be jointed, so you can often just rip down the cracked area and re-glue it back together. 

Knots and Edges
Cutting wood to avoid knots is pretty normal but don't forget to turn the board over and look at the back, sometimes knots can be better or worse on the back of the board so simply flipping it over can make a big difference. Watch also for cross grain around knots of where knots were. Cross grain is where the wood goes in all directions at the same time and is hard to finish, hard to plane and sand and often creates tear out right in the cross grain area. 

Broken, damaged or bark attached edge grain can often be easily cut off. Again, make sure to check the back to see how and where the damage goes and make sure to trim it to be damage free otherwise it can cause you problems later in your build.

In the end, taking your time and observing the back and the form is the best practice you can get into and soon you will be making good choices to get the best value for your purchases. 

Bring in Colin for your Meeting of Event
Colin is available for to attend any number of woodworking events and he is no stranger to public speaking have given seminars at wood shows, talks at woodworking meetings and developed and delivered training programs for woodworking students.
The expectation for time on a "Saving Money on Lumber" course would be 4 - 5 hours, perhaps 2 hours before and 2 after a lunch.

One model that works well is to have Colin give a presentation on a woodworking topic to your woodworking club or guild, then a day or so later give a paid course on Saving Money on Lumber to those members interested in a detailed seminar on the topic.
Know that Colin will be traveling from Western Canada so some timing and costs will need to be sorted out in advance.
Use the "Contact Us" link in the left-hand column of this website to contact him.

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Copyright Colin Knecht

Cutting wood