By Joshua Farnsworth

In the above video, and in the below 10 steps, I teach one of the most basic and essential skills in traditional woodworking: how to square, flatten, & dimension your own rough lumber into finished boards.

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

To build quality traditional furniture, you need to start with perfectly flat and square lumber. Some people achieve this with power jointers, planers, and table saws. While the electrical power route is more economical for a commercial woodworking workshop, I prefer the safety, exercise, quiet, and historical feeling that comes from dimensioning my boards by hand. Plus, it just makes you feel cool.

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

Sure it takes a little longer, but why did you get into woodworking in the first place? To hurry and build a bunch of stuff, or to enjoy yourself? It’s therapeutic to take some things slowly. And with practice, squaring lumber by hand won’t take all that long…ask your ancestors.

TOOLS THAT YOU’LL NEED

Even though I have a nice tool buying guide (here), I’m still often asked for links to the tools that I use in my videos, so here they are (note that you don’t need all these tools):

WORKBENCH:
HAND PLANES:
HAND SAWS:
MARKING & MEASURING:

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

STEP 1: CUT THE BOARD TO ROUGH DIMENSIONS

Use a longer try square (12″ +) to mark your rough board’s approximate length.

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

Then use a Cross Cut panel saw to cut your rough board to rough length (across the grain). Keep in mind that this isn’t your final length. You’re just removing any messy wood, and getting to a manageable length; somewhat close to what you’ll eventually arrive at.

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

You can also use a Rip Panel saw to rip the board lengthwise (along the grain) to get a manageable width, if needed. Here’s an old chart that shows the difference between Cross-cut saw teeth and Rip saw teeth:

Cross-Cut-Saw-Tooth-Profile

Rip-Saw-Tooth-Profile

Moravian Workbench Free Plans Ad

STEP 2: FLATTEN A REFERENCE FACE WITH HANDPLANES

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

Place the board between the bench dogs with the arced side facing up, to avoid rocking. You may need to use shims if your board is in really bad shape. Use a scrub plane or a jack plane with a cambered iron (8 degree camber/arc). This plane is going to be doing rough work, so don’t worry about tuning it extensively.

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

If you have an extreme arc in the board, plane down the length of the board, removing the high center:

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

Before planning across the grain, bevel the edge that is farthest away from you, to prevent major tear out:

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

Then plane across the grain, from one end to the other.

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

Adjust your plane so that your shavings are as big as possible, while still being able to move the plane.

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

You can also take some diagonal passes both ways, to aid with flattening:

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

Tilt your jack plane on its edge and drag it along the board to get a rough idea of your progress toward flatness:

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

Square Board,Dimenion Board,Rough Lumber,Rough Cut,Flatten Board,Jointer Plane,Fore Plane,Smoothing Plane,Mortise,Tenon,Mortice,Mortising,Mortise And Tenon Joint,Mortice And Tenon Joint,Morice And Tenon Joinery,Mortise And Tenon Joinery,Morticing,Mortice Chisel,Morticing Chisel,Morising Chisel,Mortise And Tenon,Mortice And Tenon,Mortise &Amp; Tenon,Mortice &Amp; Tenon,Mortise And Tennon,How To Make Morise And Tenon,How To Make Mortice And Tenon,Chop Mortise,How To Chop A Mortise,Woodworking,Traditional Woodworking,Woodandshop,Hand Tools,Roy Underhill,Lie-Nielsen,Vertitas Tools,Christopher Schwarz,Chris Schwarz,Scwartz,Shwartz,Hand Planes,Hand Saws,Woodworker,Traditional Woodworker,Chisels,Woodwright'S Shop,Woodwright'S School,Bill Anderson,Mary May,Wood Turning,Wood Carving,Stanley,Millers Falls,How To Square Flatten And Dimension Rough Boards With Hand Tools

 This board dimensioning blog post continues on the next page….