Question about squaring/ truing wood

Hello all:

As I keep learning I have found that I want to build some projects that require much more square and true wood than you can get from a 2x4. It looks like at a minimum I should be considering a table saw BUT I am curious. Would it make more sense to just buy “fancier” dimensional lumber from my local lumber store? It seems like for cost of any decent table saw I could pre-milled wood that might work for my projects?

What do you guys think? Table saws are pretty expensive and I might still need a planer…

Thanks for your advice! Steve.

shop around but yes

I have a table saw and I do that still. I mean to make really square and clean wood you need to have a planner and jointer.

Now I have taken and trued 2x4’s and 2x6’s on my table saw. yes cutting all 4 sides. around 1/8th off the sides - squares up the sides and a scalping cut off the top and bottom.

Yes you really end up throwing away some wood - shims they can be.

But for most of what I build right now - I buy some version of planned wood. 1x4 spruce, or 4/4 oak and Alder. it’s planned and trued when I buy it but I shopped around for a store that has decent prices.

OK Had. costs have spiraled.

I have been in the same boat. For projects where it really matters, I buy better lumber, only using studs and other construction boards where a little slop is okay or easily bent into place.

Having proper tools can make it a lot easier to work with wood you cannot easily source in the dimensions or straightness you require.

You can always buy the necessary tools down the road.

You can do a lot with a table saw. But then you might want a band saw for resawing. You might need a planer for thickness adjustments. A board might warp or not be as straight as you expected, and you might then need a jointer.

For small projects, it won’t cost that much more for you to go with lumber already surfaced on all sides, compared to the hassle it saves. For larger projects, or years of small projects, there will be cost-savings but also flexibility in getting the equipment you need to surface lumber as needed.

Surfaced pine boards are fairly easily available. Beyond that, I also buy small amounts of poplar, oak, and maple locally, and maple and other boards from other suppliers. Some lumber yards and other suppliers can plane wood at request for a small fee, and even if boards aren’t surfaced on all 4 sides, they might be parallel and with a straight edge that can be used along a table saw fence.

In other words, you can look at better lumber for small projects and then still consider the equipment for the next larger project. If you’re on the fence, there’s no need to rush purchasing decisions.