My 5 projects #7: A planer sled to make boards with and I broke my "workbench"

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Blog entry by derosa posted 09-05-2012 04:05 AM 3508 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: The upside to an overheated woodshop, fast drying times. Part 7 of My 5 projects series Part 8: New Project: a high chair, and one down; sort of. »

Now that my applewood is dry and ready to be milled I find that I need some way of making flat square boards out of it, not to mention the stack of cherry I’ve been slowly moving through that also needs to be jointed and planed. I need to pretty much make sure all the lumber I have is fully surfaced and jointed for 2 main reasons. First is that I have a little one on the way in 7 weeks and while I can get through sawing, hand jointing, sanding, gluing and clamping with no problems while he sleeps I can’t say the same for planing. Second is that I’ve been shopping around for a new job and if I have to move I’ll need to move my lumber as well and any weight taken off is an added benefit. Although there may be some movement I plan on restacking to reduce the chances.

So without further ado
First I sliced a rough half a sheet of 1/2” plywood down the middle giving me 2 8’ by 11.5” sheets; one of these was then ripped into a 48” and 2 24” pieces. I then took a small sheet of 5/8” ply that I get free and ripped it into 1” strips. This ply has no voids, smooth on both sides, one side looks like birch the other side gives off a really pleasant sweet smell when cut or sanded; no idea what it is.
My current bench is an old table that has had the legs nailed to it several times and has most of the nails in some stage of coming out. It is topped by a slab of slate that is about 20” wide by 4’ long and this gave me my perfectly flat surface.
So next I lay the 8’ piece of ply on the bench and start laying out the strips.

I created a band around the outside with the pattern you see in the pic on the inside. I know that a bunch of dadoed pieces crossing each other would be better but I lack the time to really do that and this still has quite a bit of stiffness.
After the first group was laid out and a sheet of ply laid on top without glue I used cauls and clamped to the bench. once dried I moved it so that there was 2’ of overhang on each side, laid out the pattern , lifted each piece to glue the bottoms and then glued the top and laid the 4’ piece on top and cauled and glued it. You can see the top sheet here.

It was during this glue up that the top of the bench separated from the aprons along one side and partially split in the process splitting my slab down one side with a jagged crack. Part of my logic here is that it would be impossible to glue up 8’ and have it straight and flat but 4’ referencing the slab would be easy, by only doing 2’ after the 4 it allowed me to keep the next section flat and in line in relation to the previous 4’. Adding the 4’ piece of plywood added extra strength to the glue up by locking the reinforcing pieces in both top and bottom. I could then do the 2 ends in reference to the middle and the whole thing would stay flat.

Now that my bench couldn’t be clamped to I relied on extra weight. Here’s one of the ends being glued up. The wood used was greatly varied but did the trick.

The end result, almost 2” thick and straight as can be; one edge wasn’t as tight as I thought it should be so a little glue and spring clamps tighted it up. I have about 15 cherry boards to get to as well as all the apple. More pics to follow as I go through the process. All it needs now is the board stop at the front so this works right.

Thanks for reading

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

3 comments so far

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3232 days

#1 posted 09-05-2012 10:48 AM

im a little confused on what the purpose of the sled is?

View derosa's profile


1572 posts in 2801 days

#2 posted 09-05-2012 12:08 PM

This sled allows a board to be fed through a planer so that it can be made flat. By using shims to keep the board from rocking or compressing under the rollers. In my case it continues to let me avoid buying a jointer. I do need one but this will allow an 11” wide board to be jointed. It isn’t meant to be fixed so the bottom will be waxed today and a lip added to one end so the board won’t be pulled off the sled.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3232 days

#3 posted 09-06-2012 12:13 AM

ok i get it now, just hadnt seen one made so stout. i just use a piece of mdf and shims

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