Even if you begin with the best lumber in an ideal color, you may not end up with a quality wood product. A beautiful piece of Mahogany may end up looking terrible if you’re not careful about the moulding and planing process. You have to take your feed rate, board support, and blades into consideration on each and every cut.
When it comes to lumber that undergoes millwork, you’re dealing with pieces that may end up being placed in prominent locations. For these highly visible boards, even small tool marks can give the wood a lined or rippled appearance. These ripples and lines draw attention to themselves and away from the grain of the wood. If you want to be satisfied with the results of your millwork project, make sure that your machines are well-tuned and that those running the machines have the necessary knowledge and skill to get the job done right.
One way to help ensure a high standard of quality control on your millwork is to only work with someone who is certified by the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI). They require a level of expertise that should get you impressive results. For example, their standards include 21-22 knife marks allowed per inch. You can see parallel lines on applications such as casements and crown moulding. Those are the knife marks. This relatively high number of knife marks per inch will end up being less noticeable than the typical 13 to 15 knife marks per inch left by a thickness planer that hasn’t undergone any fine-tuning.
Rather than simply going with the mediocre number of knife marks the planer by default would produce, experienced mill workers will test and tune their machines to produce a more precise product. Looking and feeling smooth isn’t enough. You want to have pieces that won’t draw any unnecessary attention to the knife marks.
The millworker will need to reset the machines to the standards set forth by the manufacturer. They should then test the machine to see how many cuts per inch the planer will yield. Then it will need to be adjusted and readjusted until the knife marks aren’t even noticeable and the wood is silky smooth. These adjustments can include changing the tracer height or adjusting the angle of the bevel on the knife. This is the type of product that will set exceptional millworkers apart from the rest. The goal is not merely to meet but to actually exceed AWI standards.
Making sure your millwork is of the highest quality is extremely important when it comes to the overall results of your project. This isn’t an area you ever want to skimp on. If it’s overlooked, it can greatly diminish the overall appearance of your woodwork.
Customers seek out mills that put forth the necessary time and effort to make sure they’re putting out aesthetically pleasing and durable products. It starts with using quality lumber, then making sure your machines are properly tuned by experienced mill workers. Applying these tried-and-true methods for achieving excellent results will help mills gain the loyal customers they seek.