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Forum topic by hackford posted 07-21-2010 06:02 AM 1030 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2830 days

07-21-2010 06:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: furniture making joining first time project planing question

i have several 4’ logs from a sycamore tree that i want to turn into a desk i have cut a few planks about 2’’ think that i plan on sanding/routeing/planing to a final thickness of about 1’’ thick for the table top not sure if i need to plane first or join them together then plane. i don’t own a hand planer and cant afford a “big planer” and don’t think a sander is the right tool for the job once that is figured out i plan on joining the pieces together with a simple joint not sure of the term but the wood “should” come together like a ’’L” and a “7” with a few bow-tie looking inlay pieces stained much darker. any tools or heads-up on expected problems for a novice is greatly appreciated no matter how small the detail is or how big the concept is

5 replies so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3004 days

#1 posted 07-21-2010 10:40 AM

You have to square your lumber first. Look here

No idea what the L7 is but you can edge glue them together. has some great videos for beginners.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3022 days

#2 posted 07-21-2010 11:02 AM

It sounds like you don’t have the correct tools for the basic stock prep, although there definitely is more thatn one way to do it. If I were you, I think I would contact a local saw mill and see if you could get them to help you to dimension your wood for you. One other very important thing to consider is drying your wood. If those logs have not been drying for at least a year (probably longer would be best) then they probably are not yet ready to use for building furniture.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View BertFlores58's profile


1694 posts in 2885 days

#3 posted 07-21-2010 11:41 AM

Based on what you have now… router, planer (portable electric I assume) then you could do it without any problem. If you could join edges by routing a Tounge and Groove… this is a better way than L of z joints.

GLUE the flanks first before final planing. The key for planning to make it flat is setting your plane to cut about a 0.5 mm cut or nearly zero cut to level but you need to have a reference point of a planed area and start moving outside from it. This will help you… When sanding, wrap a sandpaper to a wooden stock, long enough to cover the length and start sanding from rough to smooth.

-- Bert

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2886 days

#4 posted 07-21-2010 01:42 PM

I think Doc has it right. Spend a few bucks and have it planned and also have them check the moisture. It would be a lot better than finding out the hard way after you have gone to a lot of work. BTW I wish I could get my hands on the sycamore(g)

-- Life is good.

View swirt's profile


2640 posts in 2935 days

#5 posted 07-21-2010 04:43 PM

The L + 7 joint you mention is called ship-lap. It is meant for paneling or siding where the panels are not glued together. It allows them to expand and contract without letting the wind blow through them.
shiplap siding

If the boards are not warped, you might be able to joint the edge and you should be fine with just gluing the edges together. Another option would be tongue and groove which could be done with match planes, router bits, or even just a table saw. It doesn’t do much to add strength to the joint, but it does give you an aid in aligning the finished faces.

A few dowels placed with a doweling jig or buscuits could help with the alignment instead.

If the boards are developing a bit of twist or cupping, it is easier to flatten them first then join them.

For the butterfly (bow-tie) keys, are a nice touch and can do a lot to strengthen the joint. Adds a nice visual too. You can cut them by hand or by power with a router. They sell butterfly inlay pattern cutting bits and templates for routers that make it easier and more uniform.

-- Galootish log blog,

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