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I never used a planer before so forgive my newbie question. So if I have a bunch of rough 2x4's that have inconsistent sizes and may be a bit twisted, can I use an electric/cordless planer to make them straight? Like besides being flat, to have exact width and heights? Basically have them ready for gluing them together.

Or is it impossible and really need a tool like this (which is expensive): enter image description here

?

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    It would take a combination of a planer and a table saw. Planers don't handle taper, for example. You might pose your question at woodworking.stackexchange.com instead. – isherwood Mar 29 '17 at 22:34
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    A jointer is what that tool is called. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 30 '17 at 1:07
  • @Harper that's actually a planer/jointer combo; the opening underneath the table is the planer bit. – ratchet freak Mar 30 '17 at 8:16
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In short, no. If your 2x4 is twisted or bowed, all planing it would do is cut the parts off that were not straight. You'd be left with something that would be unusable.

You don't need a fancy machine to straighten it, however. All you need is some room and some weights (i.e. bricks). Set it on a level surface with weight to hold it in place and weights to correct the curve. Eventually the board will straighten. It's time intensive, however.

  • I have to admit that I'm skeptical about getting long-term results by simply weighting and waiting, but it can't hurt to try. There's some hint that adding water might help. – Aloysius Defenestrate Mar 30 '17 at 17:43
  • @AloysiusDefenestrate If you go to any lumber yard you'll notice the pressure treated lumber is both stacked to keep boards straight, and that the boards are slightly wet. For a normal board that would promote mold/mildew. But, yes, water helps the process along – Machavity Mar 30 '17 at 18:04

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