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flattening a table top

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  • flattening a table top

    I had some old 2X8's that were in pretty good shape, came from the base of an old waterbed. I glued them together (ripped and jointed of course) and use this as a set up work bench in the basement/outside set up on a set of saw horses. The problem is, i glued them up before I knew Santa was bringing me that thickness planer. I hate to have to rip and re glue. I am currently looking for a jointer plane on ebay/garage sales/swap meets/etc. A nice 20-22" plane that you can use to go against the grain. The largest hand plane I have is a #5 jack plane. Don't think this would be as effective? I have tried to use a belt sander in the past going against the grain at 45 degree angles and i did more harm than good. I would like a flat surface to work.

    I do have a hand held power planer, is there a technique to use this as a jointer plane against the grain to get the job done, or am I stuck either ripping it down to 6" strips, jointer, planer and a reglue, or waiting until i get my hands on the jointer plane?

    In all honesty the jointer plane sounds like more fun. would love to practice the "old fashioned way" on this but spring is here and summer is to follow. I am running out of time, especially with my upcoming surgery. So projects are being prioritized.

    So i guess i am asking use her as is until i get that jointer plane or can the makita power plane set shallow get the job done? I have slipped with that darn thing before and just splintered it when it ended up across the grain! Need some help here

  • #2
    Ed, in my opinion, you should either rip the top down to planer widths or wait for the hand plane you need. Power planers and hand held belt sanders are too short for a job like this. If you need a real flat surface right now you can tack a piece of MDF to the top to use until you find the plane you want.
    info for all: --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."


    • #3
      Ed, that #7 is not the tool you need to get the boards flat. If you have lots of material to remove you need a scrub plane which is around 10" long. You can make due with the jack (#5) plane by opening the mouth as wide as it will go (set the frog all the way back) and if you have a spare blade put a radius on the edge (around 3" radius). You will also need a set of winding sticks if there is a twist to the top. Winding sticks are just home made lumber any 3/4 material will do that is dead straight and square and stain one a darker colour or make one out of a darker wood. You lay them across each end of the table and site down the table to look for twist then you will know where to remove wood to make the table flat. You can also use a straight edge to site across the table to look for high spots that need to be removed. Then work the jack at 45* angles down the length of the table and back at the opposite 45* angle until your sticks and straight edge show that you are flat. Now the #7 comes in handy to make your final smoothing passes with the grain to get the surface really flat but if you are close to flat with the jack any fine mouth plane will due the job even the jack if you retune it with a flat blade only slightly rounded at the edges and set the mouth narrow to prevent tearout.
      All that and only one side is flat!
      Now you need to scribe out the thickness that you want the table to be. In this case you want it as thick as possible so find the thinest section and this will be your scribe setting. Mark a line all the way around the edge of the table at the set depth and use those marks as a guide for how much material to remove from where and run the jack at 45* angles up and down the length as above when flattening side one