After building the workbench I ended up with a 3/16” dip on one of the long sides. Being a designer in the auto manufacturing world, I thought I need something that I could us my router to hover over the surface and take off that amount. That would make it flat. But what kind of a machine would I have to build?
I thought about barn door hangers and its tracks. But that I didn’t feel comfortable. I even thought about using ¼” wall 3” square tubing. But that would be more money that I wanted to spend, and what would I do with it after I was done with it. Besides, my wife might not like that idea.
Well, while I was at the store, Lowes or was it Home Depot, I was walking by the tools. I look down and saw a #3 Stanley Bench Plane. So I bought it. Great, so I thought.
I come from a family that had the first black smith shop in our small town. We even had some old antique tools. One was an 18” bench plane. But that got lost in the move out here. Every time I used a plane I would end up with a dip. Nothing was ever flat. Oh yes, and if I didn’t plane with the grain, chip outs.
With all that in mind, I raised the blade just ever so slightly above the sole. Shavings were very thin. Just the setting I thought I wanted. Perfect. But with grain going both directions, planning with the grain wasn’t the answer. So across the grain I went. Talk about chip out, it looked like milled or rough cut.
Now another thing happened to me. I went to adjust the blade on the plane, the adjustment yoke broke. Pot metal you see. Hop on the computer and check out Stanley.com and believe it or not they had a replacement. When I received it, it wasn’t pot metal, it was stamped steel riveted together and a new roll pin.
What had I done? Besides, this planning thing is too slow.
Enter eBay.com and look for a power planner. Right? Well I thought I would find one of those like I saw at the store. I saw one for $9.50. I put in a bid of $9.95 and won. Great, right?
Wrong. First the tool didn’t have a UL listing. And the brand name, ‘America’s Favorite Power Tool’. Not what I expected. That wasn’t all either. When I sighted down the sole plate, the blade was twisted by what I found out to be 0.035”. Out here, finding shim stock isn’t easy, after visiting seven places, I got some. Now that worked but the blade hung below the sole plate by 0.010” or less. Now it is working.
Well after checking with my four foot level and finding the high spots and knot them down one way or another I got it to less than 1/64” anywhere. Now was the time to bring out the sanders. One for each hand, right?
This bench isn’t a work of art, nor is it something that won’t things dropped on it. Heck, a pencil leaves a small groove. I still have to deal with the ends that got chopped up by my planner. The in and out feed tables not on the same level, causing chopping about 8” from the end.
I wander what else I can break?
-- W. Kirk Crawford - Tularosa, New Mexico