Ok, yes, that sounds gimmicky, but buying rough-sawn lumber from a sawmill can be much more affordable than buying dimensioned hardwood from the home center. Buying rough-sawn lumber opens up a world of new lumber species to you in various widths and lengths. Most sawmills are locally owned and operated, so you’re supporting folks in your own community. While you could take the money you save and buy a thickness planer and edge jointer to process your new lumber, learning how to flatten, thickness, and square a board by hand with hand planes is quieter, less dusty, reliable, and satisfying.
Running a screaming thickness planer in your kitchen isn’t something many would consider, but you can plane a board on your kitchen table, in your living room, your apartment, dorm room, basement, garage, or front yard. You can do it while the kids are asleep. You can do it inside whether it’s the hottest of summers or coldest of winters. You can even do while watching TV. When you’re done, your tools can go back on the shelf rather than taking up garage space.
Some quick pricing at a box store shows that 1 board foot of red oak is about $7.24 (that’s $3.62/linear foot of a 1x6 S4S board). Contrast that with $2.50/b.f. of 4/4 rough-sawn red oak at a local sawmill. When pricing out a project-level quantity, that’s a significant difference.
Admittedly, taking a rough-sawn board to flat and square takes a few extra steps, but there are some benefits to this:
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