With apologies to hand tool users - flattening my workbench top

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Forum topic by Al Navas posted 05-20-2008 02:32 PM 1695 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Al Navas

305 posts in 3904 days

05-20-2008 02:32 PM

Some of you will remember my workbench developed a bad crown that ran along the entire length of the top. Well, now that heating season is over, I decided it was time to flatten it. You can see how I did it by visiting my blog and watching a short video I made .

To the galoots of the world: I hope no one is insulted by my hand plane technique. If you are, please accept my apologies ahead of time.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

7 replies so far

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3702 days

#1 posted 05-20-2008 06:39 PM

I don’t see anything wrong with your technique. I’m not a hardcore galoot either, but hand planes are the best tool for work like that.

Great video, thanks.

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3851 days

#2 posted 05-21-2008 01:23 AM


Thanks for the instructional video. I have sorely neglected my hand skills over the years and am now trying to correct this deficiency in my techniques. You did a nice job on the bench and I appreciate seeing your technique.

Nicely produced video too, by the way. It was concise and clarified issues that were somewhat unclear to me.

Well done.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3925 days

#3 posted 05-21-2008 01:53 AM

Al—- that was a lot of work! Very informative. Out of curiosity how many times did you stop to sharpen your blade?

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3797 days

#4 posted 05-21-2008 03:10 AM

great video, that is really nice workbench that you’ve got there to. It must have heart to cut into it, i know that I wouldn’t have wanted to, lol. thanks for the post.

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Al Navas

305 posts in 3904 days

#5 posted 05-21-2008 04:20 AM

Thank you all, for such nice comments!

marc, I appreciate the lack of loud noise when using hand planes – GREAT!

Scott, I learned from Mike Lingenfelter (in the Comments section of the post) that I really should use the #7 jointer ON the crown, and joint WITH the grain, i.e., along the length, rather than cross-grain.

Betsy, LOTS of work, for sure ;-) . I used both the #7 and the #4-1/2 as they were, and never had to sharpen them during the entire flattening. It surprised me, as I expected to have to do it often.

tennagewoodworker, Thanks! At first I debated, but what alternative do we have? We need a truly flat surface, and it was either use the hand planes, or a belt sander… And I believe the hand planes are a LOT safer, at least in my case.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3702 days

#6 posted 05-21-2008 09:16 AM


Oddly enough I was at the local woodcraft today and the Feb issue of Popular Woodworking was on the checkout counter. I had them throw it in. What is an article about? Flattening a Workbench top.

The only real difference between Chris’s technique and yours was he went across (like you did) then diagonally in both directions, then with the grain.

I have his DVD on making furniture with handplanes coming in. looked like just the ticket to help me out.

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Al Navas

305 posts in 3904 days

#7 posted 05-21-2008 01:23 PM


Thanks for the heads-up on the Popular Woodworking issue – I will have to keep it, for future reference.

If you look carefully (impossible at 7X speed…) at the segments I sped up in the video, you will notice I also went diagonally, and then with the grain ;-) . Reading about it in some of Chris’ writings sure helped me get this done.

There is no question about it – I am trying to incorporate hand tools into my daily diet more and more.

One more thing: I forgot to mention in the write up the importance of using the winding sticks: This will ensure you don’t have any twist or cupping in the top. Doing this has given me a workbench top I can use as an assembly surface.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

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