A great part of our time spent in the shop is for breaking down lumber into final (or near final) sizes. For the woodworker trying to make some production time ( as opposed to the occasional weekend project), time is money, and also frustration (sometimes) and even danger. So why not pay someone to take that on?
Let me get a little more specific. Let’s say you’re going to do a craft or trade show – you need to get quite a bit of product ready, in other words. Or maybe your’re making several of the same pieces for Christmas presents. Either way, you’ve got a lot of breaking down of lumber to do. Depending on your lumber supplier, you’re either going to get rough sawn wood, with no side planed, or wood fully dimensioned – like you would see at Home Depot or Lowes. With the latter, all you have to do is cut it to a final dimension, and you’re ready to go. With the former, you have to surface plane a wide flat side, then joint the two edges, finishing it to final thickness at a planer. That’s a lot of sawdust, and also more opportunities to get injured, nick a blade, or generally add wear and tear to your equipment. Not only that, but also the fairly large amount of time that takes.
More and more, I’m having my lumber guy finally dimension my stock. Obviously, I can’t have him cut final size lengths and widths (usually), but I can have him plane and joint all four sides; he’s got the larger jointer and planer to handle up to 8″ wide lumber, and I don’t. His thickness planer has a three-sided spherical head, which means I sand a LOT less. When I get back to the shop, I just have to rip and cut, and I’m ready. I can concentrate more on the quality of fitting the pieces together, and the finish, rather than breaking down lumber.
And if you think it’s expensive, it’s really not – check with your lumber supplier; it’s usually so much per foot, but I find it well worth the price.
Now I understand that some guys like to do all the dimensioning and breaking down themselves, because the need certain parts of the board, have an odd size, or whatever. But generally speaking, out sourcing this part of the process is well worth the money.