I got a bunch of free wood today, as in 6 rough quarter-sawn(!) red oak boards, 2" x 12" x 9'. For free. (Yay!) The boards were stickered about a year ago. (The largest piece was 38" x 4" x 13'. It is becoming a bar top, I think.)

Now, I'm making a table, and the legs and a few other pieces are 3.75" square. I could make all of the 4x4 pieces I need from two of the 12" boards with plenty to spare.

Is there any problem or surprise waiting for me if I laminate the boards in this way? If laminating is the proper term when dealing with thick stock in this way. My plan is to run the boards trough the planer to get a flat side, rip it to the desired width - 3 pieces per big board - and glue the flat sides together. After the glue has set, run the finished board back through the planer, cut to length and move on with construction.

Thoughts? Is this the right approach? There were some boards of the right size, but they were already spoken for. And I'd rather not spend another $300 on lumber. Because I'm cheap.

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1 Answer 1


Is there any problem or surprise waiting for me if I laminate the boards in this way?

Not if you glue them together properly, no. Properly here means well-jointed faces on both pieces (flat and smooth), ample glue, heavy clamp pressure. Also highly advisable to work the wood just prior to the glue-up as fresh surfaces glue much better than old surfaces.

It's actually standard practice to make up beefier material from thinner stock when the thicker stuff is unobtainable, and as mentioned in a few previous Answers when you do this what you end up with tends to be stronger and more stable than if you'd used a single piece (not that it matters for table legs of course).

If the wood is flat-sawn, with curving grain visible on the board ends, it's a good idea to glue two pieces together so that the curves oppose. So either bark side in or out in both cases. If the wood is rift-sawn or quarter-sawn, with vertical or nearly vertical grain on the ends, then it doesn't matter.

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