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Cabinet Wood Down to Manageable Size

Pete Brown - 15 May 2006

From my earlier entry, you know that I bought about 500 bf of Ghost Tiger Maple for our kitchen cabinets. I cut the maple down to manageable sizes. In my shop, as tiny as it is, I can't really handle anything longer than six feet. In addition, the resaw capacity of my older model MM16 is about 13", so that is as wide a board as I can handle. My planer has the same width limitation.

So, I spent about nine hours on Saturday cutting most of the 10' and 11' boards into pieces. Out of each board, I got two pieces approximately 6' and two approximately 3'. That size will enable me to more easily handle the boards, but is also sized so that it will work with most of the cabinets I am building. I also cut out the worst of the defects, and cut fresh ends on all the boards, eliminating the end checking. The final stack is stickered in my basement

The boards are pretty thick, varying from 2 1/4 to about 2 5/8 thick. The hardest part was lifting them up, turning them around (without destroying computers and other things in my basement here) and hefting them out the door and on to the sawhorses. Each board weighed close to 200 pounds and was 10' long or longer by 18 to 20" wide, so that was a killer.


The boards were too thick to cut with a regular circular saw. In fact, they were thick enough that I had to fight my crappy skil circular saw trying to cut them - it would bind and kick back and do all sorts of unsafe things. After two boards of that crap, I bought a nice 15 amp Porter and Cable saw and that did much better. It still hung up a bit, but not as much as the skil, and it never kicked back on me. Cheap tools are never worth the bother.

I finished the cut with either a handsaw or my Bosch reciprocating saw, depending on how much there was to cut.

I left the two most highly figured boards full size in case I decide to use them for some large panels, and also left two 6-8" wide boards about 9 to 10' long. I need those for some especially long stiles for the wall oven. You can see one of the figured boards here, as well as some of the other project lumber.

I also tried to be intelligent about how I cut the widths. On highly figured boards, I tried to make sure I had one board of door-panel width. I'll still end up having to glue-up panels in some cases, but I wanted to maximize the figure.

Next step is to resaw all the boards. I'm aiming for a finished size of 4/4. I should be able to get that from the 2-5/8" boards without any problems. That will be harder to achieve with the boards that run closer to 2" If I end up having issues processing the boards, I can drop down to 3/4, but I'd prefer the thicker size as I think it looks more impressive on a custom cabinet.

We'll all be happer once I stop using our basement as a lumberyard :)

posted by Pete Brown on Monday, May 15, 2006
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