1st steps (planning)

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Blog entry by td19 posted 07-02-2010 05:42 PM 701 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello everyone out there.

I am very new to woodworking and have found lumberjocks to be extremely helpful so far. I recently decided that I wanted a new table for my apartment. I went around the corner of my place in Brooklyn to a really cool shop where they make tables, cabinets, dressers etc. I left a little down after they asked me for $1200 for a very small table.

I then decided to try to make the table myself! Last weekend while on a trip in Vermont I was able to find a very nice, large piece of Maple (Over 6 feet by about 3 feet) (I have been trying to upload a picture for everyone see but I’m having trouble).

The problem now is that my grand idea requires actual work and I’m lost before I even start! I have had varying advice from friends on how to start working on the wood, but I was hoping that the helpful community on Lumberjocks could help me out and give me any advice/suggestions as I make my way through this project. Below are some of the issues I’m thinking about and trying to choose a plan of action on. THANKS!!!!

1. Should I use a hand planer or belt sander to work down the surface? The guy I bought the wood from had beautiful finished tables and told me that what I should do is work the table down with a belt sander using 3 different grades of sand paper. After that he said I should take an orbital sander and finish it off. I saw a project that he was working on and this was what he was doing. A friend of mine thought this sounded like a bad idea. He was worried that the belt sander could quickly chew through the table and make a severe divot. He suggested that I use a hand planer that he has to take down the surface.

2. The surface has a few imperfections. On one end the wood has a small split in it, and at another spot there is a small circle divot (kind of chewed through). I am trying to figure out how to fill these. What do I use?

4 comments so far

View woody57's profile


647 posts in 2849 days

#1 posted 07-02-2010 06:12 PM

I like the sander idea. That’s what I’m used to. What tools do you have available to you?

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View Raftermonkey's profile


560 posts in 2334 days

#2 posted 07-02-2010 06:28 PM

Yea man, sand the crap out of it, but keep it moving and don’t stay in one place too long. While using the orbital be careful not to sand using the edge of the sander, keep it flat on the sanding surface. (I learned this the hard way and still catch myself doing it from time to time). If you don’t have a sander then yea man, plane the crap out of it. haha. Not sure on the hole filling. I have heard of people on here using sawdust and epoxy but I think that was for small fills. Bondo maybe?, haha j/k. I’m sure someone will be along shortly to fully answer all your questions better than I can. Good luck, and post some pics when you can.

-- -Zeke- "I hate to rush off, but I gotta go see a man about a log"

View DanCo's profile


66 posts in 2320 days

#3 posted 07-02-2010 07:27 PM

Use keys for the crack and use crushed stone (like turquoise or red corral) for the hole. Make it like you wanted them to be here. I’ve seen other projects on here that do that. And I agree with the sanding.

-- Daniel

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

16807 posts in 2527 days

#4 posted 07-02-2010 08:16 PM

It sounds like you have one big piece of wood. All of it may not be used for the top, so plan your work to get all the pieces you need from that 6’ piece. Make a material list with finished sizes of all the parts. You may be able to cut around and eliminate the cracks when you get the boards down to near the finshed size. Smaller pieces are easier to work on with a plane or belt sander. You will need a straight surface and edges to work from. That is where you need to start your planing. From a flat surface and a straight edge, you can saw the parts to width on a table saw. Get your depth dimension from a second cut and then cut them to length.

I don’t know what tools you have to use, but I use a jointer to get a flat surface and then put that surface against the fence and cut a square and straight edge. Then I go to the table saw to cut to dimension. On a wide board that won’t fit on a jointer, I would use a hand plane and good stright edge to work the surface flat. Then belt sand, then orbital sand.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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