Frequently asked questions

Lumber thickness is measured in the rough (before planing) by the number of quarters of an inch. So a 1-inch thick rough-sawn board measures 4 quarters of an inch, which is written as 4/4. A 1.25” thick rough-sawn board is 5 quarters of an inch, or 5/4. A 1.5″ board = 6/4, and so on.

Planing is the process used to smooth out the rough surface left by milling. It also gets rid of much or all of the warp and twist from internal stress and drying.

It’s typical to lose ¼” in total thickness to completely plane a board, but that can vary some. So for example, 4/4 rough-sawn boards usually net ¾” thickness. 5/4 rough-sawn boards typically end up 1” thick, and so on.

Slabs can lose 1/2″ or even more in the planing process. That’s because their thickness and width cause the warp and twist to have more effect.

But again, the actual amount lost in planing can vary. It depends on the individual piece.

Hit & miss planing is what we do to most of our dimensional lumber and our slabs.

In this case, we aren’t planing the board to its final thickness, but taking it to 1/8” under its rough-sawn thickness. The planer “hits” in some places and “misses” in others. So a 4/4 rough-sawn board is planed to 7/8”, 5/4 to 1-1/8″, etc.

We do this for a couple of reasons:

  • It allows you to see the board’s grain and figure better than you can when it’s rough-sawn. It also gives you a good idea of how much warp or twist remains (if any).
  • At the same time, it preserves thickness so you decide what you want to prioritize when finish planing. For example, you can choose to favor smoothness on one side over the other if you’re making a table. Or you can preserve that gouge for an epoxy project. The finish is up to you.

We have planing, sanding and straight line ripping capabilities at the showroom and generally finish your lumber while you wait.

Length (in feet, rounded to the nearest inch) x average width (in feet, rounded to the nearest inch) x rough thickness (in inches). For example:

  • 3’ long x 12” wide x 4/4 rough (3/4” planed) thick board = 3 x 1 x 1 = 3 board feet (BF)
  • 78” long x 8” wide x 5/4 rough (1” planed) = 6.5 x .67 x 1.25 = 3.75 BF
  • 8’ long x 6.6” (7”) wide x 8/4 rough = 8 x .58 x 2 = 9.33 BF

A boule is a set of slabs or boards that are milled from a single log. Slabs from the same boule will have similar characteristics – like color, grain, texture and quality – making them ideal for use in a single project. They’re also great for bookmatching. 

Bookmatching is gluing two slabs together so they essentially mirror each other. The final piece looks like an open book.