To prepare the lumber, you will have to follow a series of steps. No matter where you buy the wood, you will have to prepare the wood before you start the project. Even if you happen to buy a smoothened board from the shop, the lumber needs to be prepared before it is used. The following are some of the steps for preparing the lumber:
Cutting the lumber:
Once you finalise your project, you need to make sure that you have the dimensions with you. You first need to take the wooden board and then cut about 1inch at the corners of the board. Make sure that you check for all cracks and other spots. If you leave a crack unchecked, the wood might even split into two at a later stage. You need to make cuts to the lumber till you make sure that there are no cracks in the board.
Flatten the surface of the wood:
You will have a rough idea on which part of the wood has a good side. Choose the best side, and you need to pass it over the jointer to make it flat. The wood that you buy from the shop might look like it is flat but no wood is perfectly flat, and thus you need to flatten out the best side of the lumber.
Flattening the edge of the board:
Once you have flattened the surface of the wooden board, you will have to flatten the sides of the board. Choose the best edge and flatten that out in a jointer. You will have to pass the wood against the jointer for several times till you get the perfect edge.
Flattening the other face of the wood:
To get the desired thickness, you will have to run the lumber through a planer. The board must be kept facedown against the bed, and you need to make as much as passes on the planer to get the perfect shape and thickness. Try not to take too much of the wood, at least make sure that you leave about 1 to 2 inch extra so that you can remove the machine marks by scraping with sandpaper.
Cut the opposite edge:
Once you are done with flattening the wood, you need to cut the other side of the edge to the dimensions you have in your mind. Try to leave 1/16 inch for smoothing and making extra joints.
Make joints to the edges that you sawed:
To remove the saw marks you need to run the edges of the board on a jointer. You will mostly need to make only one pass or two if the saw has rough edges. Make a fine cut with the jointer so that there is extra width for removal of the machine marks. In the end, you need to measure and cut the board as per your dimensions, and you will have your wood prepared for your project.