Flattening Huge Live-Edge Slab.

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Forum topic by GeordieY posted 11-21-2015 04:07 AM 1435 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View GeordieY's profile


7 posts in 948 days

11-21-2015 04:07 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jig slab question maple router rustic

First off, I’m brand spankin’ new to the site, and fairly new to woodworking. Hello, kind folks. Please be gentle, and thank you in advance for any words of wisdom you might offer.

The Wood: The wood (got a hell of a deal) is a 10’ maple (hard or soft uknown) slab, 10/4 thick, that was cut with a bandsaw, has been kiln dried and sealed on both ends (little to no cracks, voids, or knots), and has been stored in near-identical humidty to its final destination. It appears to have little to no cupping or twist. It is going to be a table top as per my wife’s request for our first Christmas as a married couple.

Relevant Tools That I Own (the problem starts to become clear):
Dewalt 2 1/4 HP plunge/fixed base (combo kit) variable speed router w/ 1/2” and 1/4” collets
Makita 7 1/4” circular saw

Make a router jig/sled to flatten (plane) one side, flip the slab, and “plane” the other side to desired thickness with the same jig/sled. There are numerous videos and write-ups on these jigs and their use, and I really would like to tackle this myself at home in order to gain some experience (obviously I’d want to start with test pieces to make sure my process is fine tuned before going to the final piece).

My workbench is 4’ x 8’ and consists of 2×4’s, 2×6’s, and a MDF top. It is, therefore, likely not truly flat (I’m not picking the slab off of it to verify w/ winding sticks, so let’s just assume it’s not flat). I need a flat surface to reference off of for my jig to truly flatten the slab. I personally don’t think I am equipped enough tool-wise to make a flat work bench, but a torsion box is what I have my eye on since I don’t have a jointer or planer.

1: Can/should I rig up a flat surface with things like angle iron, plywood/mdf, and saw horses?
2: Can I realistically build a flat torsion box with a circular saw and a straight edge + clamps, and should I?
3: Should I break down and finally buy that $600 Delta contractor’s saw at Lowe’s that I’ve had my eye on for months while scouring Craigslist in hopes of a good deal on a good saw so that I can build a square, flat workbench finally?
4: Does this surface, whatever it ends up being, need to be as long as the slab?

Flatness is the problem at hand here, so once that’s solved we can get into the rest of the issues of building a table like this such as wood movement, support, and finish options.

Thank you for your time,


4 replies so far

View HerbC's profile


1764 posts in 2887 days

#1 posted 11-21-2015 07:41 AM

Find a local cabinet shop with a wide bed sander. Pay them to flatten/surface the slab for you.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View OSU55's profile


1702 posts in 2017 days

#2 posted 11-21-2015 01:24 PM

What Herb said, or a planer wide enough. For the DIY router method, put the slab on your shop floor, level it and the runners for the x-slide. I’ve never done a piece near this large, but I’ve seen some pics and write ups where others have. Your bench will also work. The runners/cross slide and the slab just need to be level with one another, achieved by shimming. Hot glue/guns are great for holding things in position. I recommend a smoother hand plane to then remove the tool marks left by the router vs sanding. Depending on the surfaces, a hand plane could help knock off the high spots and actually make things go faster. Sounds like a nice find and great project!

View mahdee's profile


3890 posts in 1795 days

#3 posted 11-21-2015 03:09 PM

I would cut it a little over size to the length you need and use a hand plane to smooth the surface. Good exercise and experience. Start with planing against the grain at a 45 degree angle until all the saw lines are almost gone and then go with the grain at about 20 degree until smooth.
Here is a good video


View GeordieY's profile


7 posts in 948 days

#4 posted 11-21-2015 06:22 PM

Since my first post took a few days to be approved, I wasn’t able to update it. I called around to a few local lumber yards and managed to track down a custom cabinet shop with a 36” Shopfox drum sander. I just got back from drum sanding for 2 hours. I’m beat, and sick of lifting these slabs (there are two)!

Glad to see I was offered similar advice here. Thanks, fellas.

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