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I'm looking to build a couple simple picture frames. I don't have a jointer or planer, so would use my table saw or split-fence router for those operations. Even with those tools, though, it seems that running an 8' board over the jointer would be a bit difficult. Is it a problem to cut the 8' board into more manageable lengths (2-3') before jointing / planing them? I figure I'll lose any grain continuity I might have had by going this route, but that's not a problem.

Given that I will be using a table saw to joint the faces of the boards, it would be much easier to rip them to rough width (~1.5-2") beforehand as well. Would this pose any problems? Will I wind up with workpieces that are slightly different sizes by going this route?

  • You should be able to maintain grain continuity in your work, just make sure to keep all the pieces in order. Also, (in my experience) grain continuity isn't usually a huge concern in a picture frames since the face of the boards is so small and is visually broken up by the profile you put on it. – SaSSafraS1232 Jun 27 '17 at 22:29
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Larger pieces generally require removing more material to get a perfectly flat face, so it is common to break pieces down to more manageable sizes before jointing. This applies to both the width and length. The more significantly the rough lumber is warped, the larger the benefit to breaking it down first.

Ripping non-flat lumber on a table saw is dangerous so the band saw is the preferable tool to use for.

Jointing only flattens one face or side, a thickness planer planes the wood to the desired thickness and this is how you ensure all your pieces are of the same thickness. After you have a flat face and a perpendicular edge, you can safely use the table saw to rip all the pieces to the same dimensions.

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Is it a problem to cut the 8' board into more manageable lengths (2-3') before jointing / planing them?

Not at all, in fact it's fairly standard practice to roughly size, then complete sizing/shaping on the pieces. As long as you don't leave yourself with tool little width or thickness there shouldn't be any problem.

Will I wind up with workpieces that are slightly different sizes by going this route?

Would you normally if the same project were being made from multiple boards you'd bought in rather than boards you'd cut from a larger piece? There's no difference at the end of the day, consistency is entirely up to the processes used and checking/double-checking of dimensions as you go.

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