This weekend I only had a few hours I could spend in the shop. My next task was to work on the top and get it flat. I had a few areas that were misaligned slightly during the glue up, so I spent a few minutes working on those areas, to bring everything to the same level.
Next I wanted to see if there was any wind in the top. To check this I used some winding sticks. The winding sticks I have are for much smaller scale projects, so I had to come up with something else. I had seen Christopher Schwarz use some aluminum brackets on one of his DVDs. I pick up a couple straight pieces at Lowe’s and gave it a try. They worked pretty well. I put some blue painters tape one of them, to have some contrast. Here are a couple of pictures where I’m trying to show the wind in the top.
This first picture is looking over the front winding stick to see the back winding stick.
This next picture is moving my line of sight lower until the back winding stick starts to get blocked by the front one.
You can see there is a slight wind in the top. The left rear side is a little higher than the right side. I will take this into account when I’m flattening the top. I did this procedure a couple of times at different points on the top. In my case it was pretty flat, except for the far end of the bench. I’m not sure I can explain in words how to deal with wind. Both Rob Cosman and Christopher Schwarz show strategies for dealing with wind in their DVDs. I’ll see if I can find out which DVDs this was on and post that later.
I then drew pencil lines all over the top to give me a reference as I was flattening. I made a few passes with my #7 at a diagonal across the top. You can see where the high and low spots are, from where the pencil lines have been removed.
It took quite a few passes to get top close to flat. You will see paraffin wax next to my plane. Paraffin is your friend when you have this much planing to do. It really does help.
After I got it to where I thought I was getting close to flat, I wanted to see if I still had wind or had induced more wind into the stop. I got the winding sticks out and checked it again.
I was pretty close, the left side needed just a little more work.
The initial flattening made quite a pile of shavings ☺. I was sweating pretty good by the time I was done.
Planing across the grain leaves a pretty rough surface, so when I was happy with the flatness, I was ready to plane with the grain. Before starting I gave the plane iron a fresh sharpening. I then drew pencil lines on the top again.
You can’t see the lines very well, but they are there. I then planed with the grain and overlapped my passes. It top 4 or 5 passes to clean everything up.
Here is an example of a full-width full-length shaving I was getting on the last couple of passes.
It was pretty cool to see those shavings come out of the plane! I still had some minor tearout after I was done. I don’t have a Smoothing plane yet, so I just hit it with some 220 sandpaper. Overall it came out really nice.
I then moved the bench back into place. I’m working in a garage, so my floor is sloped. I had to find a way to shim the bench and still keep it stable. I choose to use large cedar shakes as my shims.
There is about a ¾” difference over the length of the bench.
Once I got the bench level with the shims. I marked them and pulled them out one leg at a time. I applied a small amount of glue on the shims to try to keep them in place. Not so much glue that I can’t knock them off if I ever need to.
I only have a few things left to do, before it’s finished. Next I think I will add a full-width planing stop on the left end of the bench. I need to attach the twin-screw face vise. I should have my large wooden screws this next week. Then the finial task is to apply a finish. Next weekend will be another short weekend in the shop so I will probably work on the planing stop.