I began this project like every other- looking at wood. Though some level of intimacy with wood is inescapable, my interest in these boards is practical, not spiritual. I’m looking for material that will require the least amount of effort to use. Because my “planers” can work stock of any width, I prefer wide boards like these 17″ wide pieces of tulip poplar. I find wide stock more attractive and it saves me the trouble of a glue-up. But I also need to look out for wild grain and knots. I can’t make joints in knots with my tools. I can’t make moldings through knots. I’d sooner resize my project than have a knot where I don’t want it.
Having super dry stock isn’t always an advantage. I find greener woods nicer to work with hand tools. If I perform my joinery correctly, the green stock will move together, causing no problems. Regardless of the moisture content, I expect my stock to move after I plane it. So I try to only plane what I can assemble in one day.