I like to use a router sled because it will take out any warp, then I run it thru the planer. if you go to a commercial lumberyard and sort thru the pile... you never know what you'll find and I have to admit - I LOVE DOING THAT! I bought some 8/4 flamed maple at $3 bd/ft... because it was in the reg maple pile. I got 8/4 x 14" x 11' mahog for $3/bd ft too. that said, I probably spend 1-2hrs to mill down a single blank and you really have to ask yourself - what is my time worth per hour? Pretty sure I lose money milling - even with the great deals I find... but I enjoy myself... and I think the blank I get is better. After all I get to pick thru as much lumber as I have energy to pick thru (damn 8/4 11' sticks are heavy), find the best grain/weight. Now that I think about it.. factor in my chiropractic bill and $100 is a bargain!