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Forum topic by skogie1 posted 05-29-2016 06:56 PM 586 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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94 posts in 785 days

05-29-2016 06:56 PM

I’m making a 4.25”x2’x7’ beech workbench top. I glued up the top in two sections so that I could run each section through my planer. Now I need to connect the two halves. HOWEVER, after planing down the two halves, the inside edges that will be glued together are no longer square to the tops. They are very, very close, but not close enough to be glued together without throwing the top out of flat (or without leaving too big a gap at the glue edge). So I need to square it up. The pieces are too big for my jointer. My jointer bed is a little less than 4’ long and the fence is about 4” high or so. My table saw is a contractor saw, not a cabinet saw. What do you think my best option is for squaring this up? Build extensions for my jointer bed and fence and use the jointer? Build an extension fence for my table saw? I have a Festool TS 75 too and I’m trying to figure out a way to use that perhaps. If I use the table saw then I’ll have to do two cuts, flipping the piece end-to-end, because the blade won’t be high enough to do the cut in one pass. I would have the same problem with the Festool track saw. Holding the work up flat against the jointer fence will be difficult even with extensions in place because each half of the bench top weights 120 pounds. What do you think would be the best way to do this???

Also, I am leaning very strongly toward doing a split top at this point as then this isn’t quite as big a deal. However, I would still need to cut the halves down a little to create the gap for a split.

All advice and opinions are appreciated! Thanks in advance.

13 replies so far

View Loren's profile


8164 posts in 3069 days

#1 posted 05-29-2016 07:27 PM

An irritating situation.

The edges can be squared with a router. It’s not
an operation that’s fun to do on boards this thick.

View skogie1's profile


94 posts in 785 days

#2 posted 05-29-2016 07:32 PM

Yes Loren, I forgot to add that I was considering a router as well. And yes, completely irritating!

View Loren's profile


8164 posts in 3069 days

#3 posted 05-29-2016 07:36 PM

With thinner boards you can put them like a inch apart
and clamp them down. Clamp a straight edge to the
top of the first board and route that.

Then to mate the edge, put a spacer on the edge
of the router base and use the same setup to
cut the other edge, coming back the other way.

The annoying thing here is the depth will require
multiple passes, cause bit chatter and so forth. You’ll
have to grin and bear it.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

483 posts in 1102 days

#4 posted 05-29-2016 07:59 PM

I had the same issue where the bench top pieces became to big to take to my tools so I had to bring the tools to the work.

Since you have a Festool track saw I would use that over a router as neither is going to be able to do it in one pass. I used a circular saw with guide on the ends of mine (much shorter I know) but what I did was use a knife line to carry a line to the two faces than used that knife edge to line up the saw guide. It was’t perfect but it was pretty close than I took a hand plane to finish it off.

If it’s very close you might want to just take a hand plane to it.

I didn’t worry to much about having a flat top until the very last step where I flattened it with a router sled. I did use a hand plane to flatten the underside where the legs attached and to get them in plane with winding sticks but the top I left to the very end. Turned out I only had to remove about 1/16” at the most so it was overall pretty flat to start with. Mine is also a split top which I do like. If you go that route I would suggest just make your top a little wider unless you already made the legs. A ~26” top isn’t going to preform any differently than a 24” top will although you will still want the front and back face of the top square and the pieces facing each other squarish so a planning stop board in the center fits well. Mine is just over 25” which just happened to be what I ended up with after milling the top boards.

View skogie1's profile


94 posts in 785 days

#5 posted 05-29-2016 08:14 PM

Hand plane gives me an idea, Richard. I could purchase a jointer fence for my jointer plane and then even though the wood is wider than my plane, I can plane down very carefully to where the plane is flush to the face and then finish it off free hand which should get me close enough to glue up.

View Loren's profile


8164 posts in 3069 days

#6 posted 05-29-2016 09:37 PM

This may help:

You can clamp a piece of wood to the side of the plane
for a right-angle fence.

View onoitsmatt's profile


215 posts in 598 days

#7 posted 05-29-2016 10:22 PM

Are any of the faces square? If not, have you tried flipping the pieces around? You have several options to find a good fit. You have 4 total faces to choose from and each can be turned upside down as well as rotate 180 degrees (left side becomes right side). Your grain may run in opposite directions from one half to the other, but you may find it easier than squaring a long face like that.

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

View JBrow's profile


748 posts in 342 days

#8 posted 05-29-2016 11:03 PM


If onoitsmatt’s suggestion does not give you a good glue seam, I would give serious consideration to the extension bed and fence at the jointer idea. The obvious problem is ensuring the extension bed on the outfeed end is dead flush with the outfeed table of the jointer. I have used a roller stand to give added support to long boards on the out-feed end and achieved straight square edges. If the jointer has holes pre-drilled from the factory in the fence, adding a flat auxiliary fence would be easy enough. However, I would not want to drill holes in my jointer fence if none exist from the factory.

Alternatively, taking a set backward could allow you to use the planer to square your edges for glue-up. This assumes your planer can handle 6” tall stock. If a bandsaw is unavailable, I would try to use the table saw to cut each of the two glue-up panels in half along their length, flipping the panels end for end to complete the cut. The track saw could also be used. The important thing is to end with four panels for eventual glue-up that are as close to the same width as possible. The four panels are fastened together face to face with the jointed edges down. This leaves the freshly cut edges up. The bottom edges should be as flush as possible so that the 4 panels temporarily laminated together do not rock on the planer bed. The sawn edges can then be run through the thickness planer until smooth and flush. If the edges riding on the planer bed are not flush, these edges can be similarly flushed up at the planer as the last step before glue-up. The challenge is securing the faces together temporarily. My first thought is plenty of double sided carpet tape. Screws through the face would be better so long as they are far enough away from the planer knives. Of course the screws would deface the finished top. I am not sure, but perhaps a sled to hold the four panels in position might also be an option.

My second though is to use the track saw or table saw to create a straight edge on the surface that will be up on the finished top. This cut would be as deep as possible. On the opposite face, a series of shallow cuts that just meet the upper surface cuts would be relief cuts. With the upper edge of the two panels straight and material that could prevent the two halves from coming together cut away, the two halves could be glued together. If it matters, the gap on the bottom face of the top from the relief cuts could be filled in with an inlay strip glued in a dado routed through the relief cuts.

View rhett's profile


734 posts in 3089 days

#9 posted 05-29-2016 11:16 PM

Looks like a perfect spot for a tool tray…..

Or you can cut a straight line with your track saws max depth, about 1/2 a blades width, then clean up the bottom 2” with your jointer plane.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View chrisstef's profile


15472 posts in 2428 days

#10 posted 05-29-2016 11:53 PM

I had the same issue when working with 5”x5” timbers for my bench. I farmed it out to the lumber shop i buy from. A 20” oliver jointer made short work of squaring up the glue faces. I threw in the towel after trying to wrestle those timbers on my 6” jointer. Best $35 ive spent.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View skogie1's profile


94 posts in 785 days

#11 posted 05-30-2016 01:58 AM

Thanks everyone. Such an awesome site. I think I’ll start small and work my way up. I have a jointer plane and fence so I’ll start with that. If I don’t like the result I think I’ll run the track saw down it, flip it, and use a router to finish it. Thanks again all!

View widdle's profile


2054 posts in 2420 days

#12 posted 05-30-2016 04:00 AM

I would stay away from power tools at this point if it’s that close ..A little hand plane work and keep test fitting seems a lot safer ..You can always remove an extra hair of material in the middle of the joining faces to help with exposed top…Another thought would be to add one more stick in the center that matches the two sides….Lastly..If you can glue up the two halves and not have to re flatten i would be surprised …

View pintodeluxe's profile


4825 posts in 2235 days

#13 posted 05-30-2016 04:10 AM

If you don’t have a jointer, take it to a cabinet shop and have them square the edges. No big deal, would take them 10 minutes. Contribute a few bucks to their coffee and doughnut fund, and everyone’s happy.

I hire out jobs that exceed the capacity of my tools, and have been very happy with the results.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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