What is the best tool to achieve a flat surface?

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Forum topic by becikeja posted 04-18-2011 12:44 AM 6391 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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755 posts in 2444 days

04-18-2011 12:44 AM

I need to create a perfectly flat surface. I am using a router and attempting to engrave in wood 0.05” deep. What I have noticed is that my block sanding efforts, unfortunately do not always yield a perfectly flat surface. I’m considering a sand-flee, a drum sander, or maybe a planar to get the flat surface need, or is there something else I should be using. Your advice is most appreciated.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

10 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


7601 posts in 3006 days

#1 posted 04-18-2011 12:53 AM

A planer smooths, thins, and duplicates the opposite face….it does not inherently flatten boards without the help of a planer sled, but a jointer definitely will!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View cabs4less's profile


235 posts in 2393 days

#2 posted 04-18-2011 01:32 AM

jointer and i have heard bad things bout the sand flee enough to scare me away from buying

-- As Best I Can

View a1Jim's profile


115727 posts in 3208 days

#3 posted 04-18-2011 01:35 AM

another vote for a jointer, The wider the better

-- Custom furniture

View popmandude's profile


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#4 posted 04-18-2011 02:04 AM

Photobucket #7, the one on the right

View Viktor's profile


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#5 posted 04-18-2011 02:29 AM

It will depend on the size of the surface. How big is it?

View Loren's profile


8663 posts in 3279 days

#6 posted 04-18-2011 02:44 AM

A “sanding board” is very useful, and very cheap to make, for
making wood surfaces very, very flat.

View Yupa4242's profile


116 posts in 2232 days

#7 posted 04-18-2011 05:13 AM

I cant remember which episode of the Wood Whisperer but he made a router jig for flattening out very large pieces.

-- "If the Universe is Infinite, Then all dreams are real."

View becikeja's profile


755 posts in 2444 days

#8 posted 04-22-2011 03:21 AM

I usually start with a 6 or 8 inch wide board, so a planer would work. The joiner idea is one I keep coming back to, but I just don’t understand how they work. It seems to me that running it through the joiner would take the same amount of surface off of the board for the entire length, and it still wouldn’t flat, just thinner. I am obviously missing something.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Loren's profile


8663 posts in 3279 days

#9 posted 04-22-2011 03:35 AM

Works the same as a handplane. A jointer takes off the high spots. Take them
all off and it will, in a perfect world, cut your board uniformly flat.

In our imperfect world however, operating a jointer and milling extremely
flat and straight boards requires considerable operator skill. It’s much
easier if the boards are 24” or less. Accurately flattening 8 foot boards
on a jointer requires skill and insight with the tool.

View ryno's profile


106 posts in 3295 days

#10 posted 04-22-2011 04:21 AM

Becikeja, with the jointer, the infeed side of the jointer is slightly lower than the outfeed side. When you feed the board into the blade it takes a smidge off. When you get enough of the workpiece past the blade you keep your pressure on the outfeed side of jointer just past the blades. This method is what makes a perfect flat board.

-- It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

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