Lumber & Miscellaneous Woodworking Tips


Here you will find a list of 11 useful tips for tool and machine maintenance for woodworking woodshops.

Lumber - A piece of wood that has been sawn, planed, and cut to length from a log.

Lumber Tips

  1. If storage space is available, it is recommended to store manufactured boards flat to help eliminate warping.

  2. For best results store lumber in a room with similar conditions to where they will be used prior to making the wood project.  This will allow the moisture content of the lumber to stabilize and avoid shrinkage later.

  3. Store manufactured boards in a dry environment, and never lay them directly on a floor surface to prevent moisture absorption. 

  4. When storing manufactured boards, provide adequate support in order to prevent sagging.

  5. Do not store lumber horizontally on concrete floors without providing support stickers throughout.  Concrete can emit moisture that will cause the lumber to warp.

  6. Lumber stored vertically in racks is a good way to save space and avoid warping.  For safety, be sure to secure the lumber with a chain to prevent the lumber from falling.

  7. Use a storage bin to store cut off pieces of lumber.  This will help minimize clutter in the shop.

  8. Where floor space is limited, an overhead rack to store lumber can be one solution to solve the problem.

  9. A lumber cart with separate bins of varying heights is a way to store different lengths lumber vertically.  It also provides a way to organize cut off boards for easy access.

  10. A lumber cart built on casters, is a convenient way to store lumber.  The cart can be rolled where it is needed during the milling process, to eliminate carrying heavy lumber long distances.  Also, the cart can be rolled to outoftheway places in the shop when not needed.  This will provide maximum working floor space.

  11. If wall space is available, a wall rack is a convenient way to store lumber.  The rack can be constructed of wood or metal.  Just be sure the rack is secured to the wall studs and provides adequate center support to prevent the lumber from sagging.

  12. Large diameter pieces of PVC pipe provides a good way to store wooden dowels or other cylindrical objects.

  13. If your work bench is not totally enclosed, shelving or racks can be constructed underneath to store short pieces of lumber. 

Miscellaneous Tips & Information

  1. The formula for determining the miter angle is 360 degrees divided by the number of sides, divided by two.  This will equal the cutting angle required.  EXAMPLE:  Cutting angle required to cut an octagon is 360 divided by 8 = 45, divided by 2 = 22 ½ degrees.

  2. When purchasing a table saw, one of the most important features to consider is the rip fence.  It should stay square and have minute adjustments to fine tune the alignment.

  3. Due to the inconsistency in colors of some wood species, one should purchase all the lumber needed for a project from the same shipment lot.

  4. In order to prevent cracks, and joints from opening up after the project is complete, is to control the humidity in the workplace similar to the humidity in the environment where the project will be permanently placed.

  5. Use WD40 to clean a plugged paint can nozzle.  Remove the spray nozzle from the paint can and insert it into the tip of the WD40.  The pressure will remove the dried paint.  The straw must first be removed from the WD40 can.

  6. For a slip free grip on push sticks, coat the handles with PlastiDip.  The handles can be dipped in the PlastiDip or it can be applied with a brush.

  7. When making a project with many parts, label the parts with a pencil to eliminate errors.  There are many methods to labeling, such as naming the parts, as well as using numbers, letters, or directions.  Also, identification of mating parts is critical.

  8. A method for transferring a pattern to wood is to make a photo copy of the pattern and place it, facedown, on the wood.  Next, slowly move a hot iron across the pattern.  The heat will activate the toner and transfer the image to the wood.

  9. A technique to repair a stripped screw hole, is to use a splinter of the same wood to fill the hole.  Place glue on the splinter and tap it into the screw hole, and allow the glue to dry.  Next, sand the surface flush and then drill a pilot hole before replacing the screw.

  10. A woodshop should have consistent lighting throughout, to eliminate shadow areas.

  11. To improve the lighting in your woodshop, paint the ceiling and the walls white to ensure the best reflection of light.

  12. An easy way to make multiple parts to the same shape, is to first trace the pattern onto the stock and use a band saw to cut the shape slightly oversized.  Next, attach a template of the shape onto the stock with doublesided carpet tape, and then use a table mounted router to trim the stock to the exact size.  Repeat this process for number of pieces required.   

  13. The standard dimensions for kitchen base cabinets are 34 ½” high by 24” deep.  The typical dimension for the top overhang is 1 ½”.

  14. The standard dimensions for kitchen wall cabinets are 30” – 42” high by 12” deep.