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Forum topic by WoodNuts posted 06-21-2011 07:39 AM 990 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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74 posts in 1985 days

06-21-2011 07:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question table top panel glue up

How do you work your panels/table tops flat after glueup when they are wider than your planer?

If you use hand planes, which do you find work best?

What other methods are used?


-- ...there's a fix fer dat...

14 replies so far

View lew's profile (online now)


10619 posts in 2792 days

#1 posted 06-21-2011 03:54 PM

belt sander and hand scrapers

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Loren's profile


7967 posts in 2685 days

#2 posted 06-21-2011 05:32 PM

A handheld power planer works. You can dub off the corners of
the blades and make a scalloped cut, then switch to hand planes.

There are a lot of articles in the old Fine Woodworking magazines
about flattening big surfaces.


View WayneC's profile


12635 posts in 3134 days

#3 posted 06-21-2011 05:52 PM

For handplanes, jack or scrub plane (Stanley size 5 or 40) for rough work, Jointer (stanley size 7 or 8) to flatten the boards, and a smoothing plane (Stanley size 4 or 4 1/2) for putting final surface…

There are a number of videos out on how to do this. Hollar if you want a recommendation or two.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2111 days

#4 posted 06-21-2011 08:51 PM

If I need a large surface to be flattened, I go to a local cabinet shop where they will run my material through their 48 inch belt sander. They charge $90/hour, with a 15 minute minimum, and it is well worth it. Usually, they make 2 passes on each side with an 80 grit and one pass on each side with a 120 grit. That is almost always enough to get them flat. I usually do a final sanding with a ROS.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 1691 days

#5 posted 06-21-2011 11:14 PM

I’ve had many people approach me to flatten their wide glueups. I’ve got a 22-44 Performax belt sander and take the passes that Rich indicates.

Before I had the wide belt sander it was a belt sander, hand plane, hand scraper and then start the finishing sanding. I’ve got a large Bosch belt sander that has a frame that enables the sander to only take off high spots on the board. It works really nicely. I use it to this day if I have a really large, heavy glueup that is to unwieldy to get through the wide belt sander.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View SASmith               's profile


1788 posts in 2024 days

#6 posted 06-22-2011 12:12 AM

I flattened a workbench top with a router:

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View WoodNuts's profile


74 posts in 1985 days

#7 posted 06-22-2011 12:26 PM

Rich and Don,
So, it sounds good for that type of door/book case side/etc…
The money put into hand planes might be better spent toward something like this.

On the other hand, though not likely to make too many table tops, wouldnt’ a guy have to use hand planes to flatten/smooth/finish?

-- ...there's a fix fer dat...

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 2781 days

#8 posted 06-22-2011 01:29 PM

The key is to get your lumber jointed square and your glue up flat to start with. If you’re not using good bar clamps, then you need to use cauls to keep the top flat when you glue it up. If you start with a fairly flat top, then it won’t take much to finish the job.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

6901 posts in 2465 days

#9 posted 06-22-2011 02:06 PM

Tim nailed it!

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2111 days

#10 posted 06-22-2011 02:14 PM

On the pew end panel project I just completed, we took all 72 panels to a cabinet shop where we ran them through their belt sander 3 times on each side. It took 2 hours and cost $162, but it saved us an enormous amount of time and gave us a great flat, even finish on all panels.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View WoodNuts's profile


74 posts in 1985 days

#11 posted 06-22-2011 06:35 PM

Hey Rich, it makes sense to me.

-- ...there's a fix fer dat...

View Mike Harrison's profile

Mike Harrison

4 posts in 3138 days

#12 posted 06-23-2011 12:41 AM

Like Rich, I go to a local cabinet shop. I’ve gone to them a half dozen times over the last year. They don’t even charge me, but I make sure I leave the Boss enough for a round of refreshments.

-- Just my 2 cents worth

View stevenmadden's profile


174 posts in 2126 days

#13 posted 06-23-2011 01:19 AM

WoodNuts: To answer your original question, the #8 bench plane would do the best job of flattening a table top. Of course, there are many other methods, this is just my preferred method. Good luck.


View gfadvm's profile


13752 posts in 1727 days

#14 posted 06-23-2011 04:27 AM

I borrowed an antique Skil power plane from my associate today to flatten a 30” x 8’ bench top. This thing was all metal,made in the 50s or 60s with what looked like the original blades in it. There was a set of new blades in the rusted tool box it came in that were still covered with petrified wax! I was very skeptical but I thought whats to lose. I set the depth of cut for 1/32”, fired it up, and attacked the bench top. This thing is amazing! Even with the old,dull,filthy blades it flattened this top in minutes. Ive got to find one of these relics to buy. Anyone else have any experience with these?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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