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Woodworking Bench #4: A Perfectly Flat Top

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Blog entry by DocK16 posted 1752 days ago 8638 reads 12 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Finishing andFastening the Ttop Part 4 of Woodworking Bench series Part 5: Adding End Caps »

Moving along with the woodworking bench. The previous blog showed the final glue up of the laminated top. even planing the sections before gluing didn’t lead to a perfectly flat top. So that leads to the 64 million dollar question, how do we get it flat. Since I don’t have 40 inch wide planer or sander I guess we’ll have to look at other options. One method is to cross plane it with a fore plane or jointer plane (a very long bench plane). As I don’t have a bench plane larger than a #5 bench plane, I decided this might be an opportunity for a new tool. Lie-Neilson fore plane $425. Since this iis more than I’ve spent on the whole project so far I decided to pass. I’m not that good with a hand plane anyway. So I turned to the guys a Fine Woodworking.com. The answer was to make a sled for a router with a flat bottom bit. Succesive passes over the top of the table knocks off the hight spots.. Picture below shows the jig, just to the left of the jig you can see the marks from the router passes about every inch. To the left of that is the marks are gone after light sanding with and orbital sander.
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You can see how the router slides bach and forth in the jig staying at a level setting while the entire jig moves left to right on rails clamped to the assembly table top and sides of the bench top.
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The result is a perfectly flat top side to side and front to back.
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Next week I hope to attach the top and the front and tail vises. Thanks for looking

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.



14 comments so far

View oldwoodman's profile

oldwoodman

137 posts in 2032 days


#1 posted 1752 days ago

Doc,

Great job! I have read about this procedure also, and if I ever build a woodworking bench like yours I will use the same method to flatten the top.

It looks as if you will have a great bench. Look forward to seeing the finished product.

View Max's profile

Max

55956 posts in 2908 days


#2 posted 1752 days ago

It is going to be a very nice bench and looks like it will be very hefty. Looking forward to seeing the finished project.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2456 days


#3 posted 1752 days ago

You did a nice job on flattening the top. I am sure that, at this stage, you are getting pretty excited about building the bench. It has been a lot of work but it will be well worth the effort when you are finished.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View jerryw's profile

jerryw

158 posts in 2550 days


#4 posted 1752 days ago

thats going to be a great bench. i have used a router jig like yours to level end grain cutting boards.

-- jerryw-wva.

View Thomas's profile

Thomas

11 posts in 1753 days


#5 posted 1752 days ago

Holy Smokes! Great idea!

What size is the router bit?

View stefang's profile

stefang

12953 posts in 1969 days


#6 posted 1752 days ago

Great job Doc. Pardon me for being dense, but I can’t understand how you can get a flat top when the runners for the router are laying on the unflat table. I know you got a great result (seeing is believing) but I can’t understand how. Can you please enlighten me?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2942 posts in 2629 days


#7 posted 1752 days ago

Super job, Doc. Thanks for the great pictures and your logical decision making process. These are helpful to all of us.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4791 posts in 2516 days


#8 posted 1752 days ago

Nice.
I ended up doing the same thing after lots of handplaning, and then just finished with a handplane. I clamped two taller rails on the sides of the top, leveled them, and used them for the sled’s reference. (I guess you did this too?) It worked great.

Your bench is looking great,
Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View DocK16's profile

DocK16

1139 posts in 2721 days


#9 posted 1751 days ago

Mike,
It’s hard to see in the picture but the runners are not resting on the top, its as Spalm described. There are two long runners clamped to the sides of the table which the sled rides on. The only part that touches the top is the router bit which by the way is a 1 1/2 inch flat bottom bit by Magnate. I know a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll try to get a picture illustrating this nex t time I’m in the shop. Here is a link to FWW. http://www.finewoodworking.com/Workshop/WorkshopArticle.aspx?id=3338. You may have to be a member to access this webpage. I just notice Jayman2 posted a beautiful illustration of this technique just today on LJs. Follow this link http://lumberjocks.com/projects/23386
RK

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

506 posts in 1869 days


#10 posted 1751 days ago

@stefang: It’s hard to see, but there are rails running along side the bench top.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

506 posts in 1869 days


#11 posted 1751 days ago

Doh, Dock beat me to it…

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8775 posts in 2734 days


#12 posted 1751 days ago

Thanks for sharing that. It is cool to see someone use that method.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View stefang's profile

stefang

12953 posts in 1969 days


#13 posted 1751 days ago

Thanks Doc and Jimi. I obviously didn’t read the text good enough. I guess I was “mesmerized” by the one picture.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View blackcherry's profile

blackcherry

3156 posts in 2458 days


#14 posted 1750 days ago

Now that’s going to be a very sweet top…thank I really enjoy your effort on this bench top…BC

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