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leveling a table top

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  • leveling a table top

    i built a table a few months ago and tried to level the table top with no luck. maybe level is not the right word. the technique i used was taking my belt sander and going at the work at opposing angles, and then running a strait edge over the top looking for light, marking the high spots and going at it with the belt sander again.

    this did not work for me. not sure why

    any help greatly appreciated as i am going to be building a butcher block in the next 2 weeks or so and want to get this one right


  • #2
    What I do for panels that I glue up is to glue up sections samll enough that my planer can plane. In my case 13". That way I can concern myself with fewer glue joints. When I camp them, I make sure that the boards are as flush as I can get. I usually use use a orbital sander with 80 grit to flush the panels afterwords. I have some Bessey Kbody clamps and they definatly make life easer when gluing. Try and make sure that you keep the joints as flush as possible when clamping. It will save you a lot of time later on sanding.


    • #3
      I use hand tools too flaten out the tops of anything over 13". Under 13" I use my TP.

      For hand tools, look at getting a #80 cabinet scraper and #5 plane. These are great tools to have around, and do make flatening out large panels easier. Both of these tools can be had for about the same price as a good ROS, so they are not too pricey.
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      • #4
        I take mine to my Hardwood Lumber Company owner/buddy who has a 36" wide planer...that gets 'em flat, then we run it through the sander...all for $20.
        Kelly C. Hanna<br /><a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\">Hanna Woodworks</a>


        • #5
          I'm just way too cheap to do that Kelly! [img]tongue.gif[/img]
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          • #6
            I would go with Keystone's suggestion on teh scraper and planes. They will require manual labor, but the finish will be nearly smooth with little or no finish sanding required. Also, was the wood planed before you made the top? I'm wondering why you had high and low spots?


            • #7
              With extreme care on the planing and glue up, so the sanding can be limited, I have gotten wide panels flat, as the others describe. But if I have to do a lot of sanding, I lose it, as you described. I don't even let myself use a belt sander - too aggressive - but have lost the smoothness/level of the wide panels with 80 grit on a Random Orbital Sander.

              So finally last week I bought the Performax 16-32 wide drum sander (chosen over the Delta). And over the weekend got a great smooth/level tabletop without the hassle and frustration. Makes KellyC's $20 seem cheap, but I have a day job so can't make friends at the lumberyard for every project.

              My wife (also a woodworker) has found the Performax great for smaller pieces as well, so I expect it will get a lot of use.