Fuzzy Wood, can't smooth for lamination bench top

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  • #132136
    devin82m
    Participant

    Hey everyone,

    I can’t seem to plane smooth these Hem-Fir 2x4s. I bought them at Home Depot, they were the cheapest they had and they told me they don’t carry Douglas or Spruce (I wanted spruce). Needless to say I can’t get my Stanley #4 to smooth this stuff, certain patches will smooth, most others look fuzzy and I suspect there is a bunch of resin. The plane is not skipping, it plows right through and is a new blade and sharp. The corners of the stock are rounded too, they don’t look anything like Paul’s stock even before he planed his. I spent 30 minutes going through their massive pile to find the stock I did and every piece has numerous knots.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I live outside of Seattle (Poulsbo) and even if someone could suggest somewhere to buy better quality stock I will take that, I just want to get my bench done so I can work comfortably on more projects, currently I’m using my table saw top as a “bench”, no vise.

    Thanks!

    • This topic was modified 6 years ago by devin82m.
    #132139
    Joe Kaiser
    Participant

    Hello! I too am from Seattle. I had the same problem with my home depot bought lumber. I just let it be, and they laminated together just fine. If you are ever in the snohomish/mill creek area send me a PM of you want to check it out.

    Seattle, WA

    #132140
    Joe Kaiser
    Participant

    Oh,I did buy some from Lowes. They cleaned up nice

    Seattle, WA

    #132141
    devin82m
    Participant

    Oh cool! Yeah, this is a first for me, I figured I would get my bench done and then move on to the many projects I have planned. I’m am IT guy downtown Seattle, so I don’t have a lot of time and or woodworking skill, but I love woodworking with hand tools.

    So did you find Lowes had a better stock? Did you laminate the Home Depot stuff or the Lowes stuff? Did you plane at all (gave up and just tried to glue it)? Or did you plane it? Also, were the corners (the entire length) rounded on yours? I’m really excited about building my first bench, just to see it sitting there will be a wonder, let alone using it.

    Have you noticed cupping or twisting in all the moisture here?

    Yes, I have many questions. 😉 Thanks for any help (checking your blog out now)

    #132145
    Joe Kaiser
    Participant

    I too work in IT, and am down on 2nd on Tuesdays. Small world.

    The stock wasn’t any better at Lowes. I had 10$ to home depot, so I bought some there, but Lowes is closer and picked up the rest when I was ready for it. It was all about the same. Lowes carried Doug for mostly. I am not sure what I got at home depot, but it was whiter.

    When laminating the top, you only need to plane it to the point of being able to squeeze it together by hand. If you can hold the cup back, glue and a clamp will.work just fine. Really you are just removing what little machine marks are there.

    Yes, all edges were chamfered. I just planed it down once it was laminated, but you don’t half to. Get a scrub plane for this. AA smoother will work, but it will take much longer.

    I haven’t noticed any twisting. We do get a lot of moisture, but it is changes that mess with it. My bench stays in my garage (which is insulated) and it usually doesn’t fluctuate that much over short periods. I will probably have to true it up eventually, but haven’t in the year it was made.

    If you have more questions, message me and I will send my email over

    Seattle, WA

    #132147
    devin82m
    Participant

    Ha, cool, I’m on 1rst. I appreciate the information!

    #132148
    flametamer
    Participant

    Devin,
    I did the same thing except I also got mine from Lowes. I spent hours trying to get the surfaces to mate the rounded corners were a problem for me because I did what we all are taught to do is let the wood acclimate to your shop before using it. This was a big mistake here in the south since our humidity is considerably higher and to me box store lumber is wetter because it is stored outside in the elements. The stack I picked through had been brought in that morning after a hard night rain so it was all wet. I thought letting them set in the shop would let them dry some what I was not expecting was how they would bow, twist and wind which was the reason my hours of flattening them. If they are the least bit wet I would recommended at least getting the top together as fast as possible because when glued together there is less chance of the above mentioned problems. Not saying that it cant or wont happen but two boards glued together makes it hard to twist, bow and wind than one board sitting by itself. Just some problems I ran into when I built mine. Next bench will be some thing different but at least this got me woodworking. Also check the top because on mine I had to send a few hours getting it flat after I got it all glued up because this was my first project with only hand tools I had to learn as I went so the top was not even across.
    Branko

    #132173
    devin82m
    Participant

    Thanks for the tips @flametamer! Should I plane the boards or should I just see if they hand fit and if they do glue them?

    #132174
    Joe Kaiser
    Participant

    Lowes carries green 2×4 and kiln dried. Do you know what you got?

    Seattle, WA

    #132175
    devin82m
    Participant

    All I know is that they are Hem-Fir studs, the cheapest they have at the beginning of the aisle. 2x4x6

    #132176
    Joe Kaiser
    Participant

    Look at the stamp on the board. It should have “KD” or “KLN” if it was kiln dried, and “GRN” (and I have seen just “G” before) for green.

    Kiln dried will (obviously) be better and twist less. Good luck on the build. Post pictures when you are done

    Seattle, WA

    #132177
    devin82m
    Participant

    OK, I will check when I get home tonight. Oh I will be posting pictures everywhere when I pull this one off. 😉

    #132234
    jmahoney
    Participant

    I’m sure you have tried, but based on your photo alone..it really looks to me like your against the grain. A portion of material to the lower right of the dark knot looks fine, the rest looks against the grain. Is this how the material looked when you got it? or was it smooth, the roughened up after planing? Maybe I’m just totally missing something.

    Perhaps I'm Just Over Eager, Better to Curb the Enthusiasm

    #132236
    devin82m
    Participant

    This is the stock I got, it looks like it was kiln dried. Stud stock. Those two in the pictures are a couple of the better ones.

    #132240
    jmahoney
    Participant

    Funny thing to me is those boards are produced from the Stimson mill literally 3 blocks from my house. They only produce 2×4’s and only for Home Depot. I guess inland northwest hospitality is fuzzy boards shipped throughout the region.

    Hem/Fir is a mix of wood in a single unit of boards. Not a species. So a unit is comprised of hemlock and fir. Hemlock(what we call White Fir here) essentially is garbage for anything other than studs(stud grade is nearing the bottom of the desirability scale). I can literally put 1/4 thumb nail marks in seasoned hemlock heartwood. Weak.

    If you absolutely want something better…I would return what you have, and maybe spend twenty cents to a dollar more per board on wood that is labelled “#2 & btr SPF KD” (grade 2 or better spruce,pine,fir-kiln dried). IMO Doug Fir is best out of the conifers, they fetch the highest price most of the time.

    Personally I have a hard time listening to lumber jockeys at big stores, drones.

    Perhaps I'm Just Over Eager, Better to Curb the Enthusiasm

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