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Woodworking Bench #4: A Perfectly Flat Top

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Blog entry by DocK16 posted 11-12-2009 06:12 AM 9045 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 2088 days


#1 posted 11-12-2009 06:21 AM

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

55973 posts in 2963 days


#2 posted 11-12-2009 06:21 AM

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 2512 days


#3 posted 11-12-2009 12:51 PM

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 2606 days


#4 posted 11-12-2009 03:16 PM

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 1808 days


#5 posted 11-12-2009 05:31 PM

Holy Smokes! Great idea!

What size is the router bit?

View stefang's profile

stefang

13299 posts in 2024 days


#6 posted 11-12-2009 09:56 PM

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 2684 days


#7 posted 11-12-2009 10:58 PM

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

4845 posts in 2572 days


#8 posted 11-13-2009 01:30 AM

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

1140 posts in 2777 days


#9 posted 11-13-2009 04:55 AM

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

507 posts in 1925 days


#10 posted 11-13-2009 05:00 AM

@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

507 posts in 1925 days


#11 posted 11-13-2009 05:01 AM

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

8791 posts in 2789 days


#12 posted 11-13-2009 05:05 AM

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

13299 posts in 2024 days


#13 posted 11-13-2009 11:54 AM

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

3174 posts in 2513 days


#14 posted 11-14-2009 03:34 AM

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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