how to get a flat walnut board

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by praspekt posted 03-24-2013 09:16 AM 1128 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View praspekt's profile


18 posts in 1886 days

03-24-2013 09:16 AM

i’ve got a piece of walnut, it’s 3’x6”x1” rough cut. the length of the board has a bow to it. this is probably a silly question, but how do i correct it so it lays completely flat. i’m using it to make a chess board, and i already tried to make one, thinking that i could run the 8”x16” panels through the planer to correct this and get a uniform thickness between the walnut and oak, though i’ve have a couple of times where the glue didn’t hold while in the planer and i’ve had to re-glue. anyway, what’s the best way to get a board flat??

7 replies so far

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2013 days

#1 posted 03-24-2013 09:27 AM

Run one side over a jointer to get it flat before heading over to the planer. If you do not ave a jointer, you can use a planer sled or hand planes.

View Loren's profile


10373 posts in 3642 days

#2 posted 03-24-2013 09:44 AM

Cut it in half to start. If you work it to final thickness
with hand tools, you can eliminate the snipe and get
much flatter 16” final lengths.

Next time buy more wood and/or buy it thicker.
Wood movement is a minor force of nature
and a factor you must learn to work around in
most boards over 1/4” thick.

View bannerpond1's profile


397 posts in 1892 days

#3 posted 03-25-2013 12:03 AM

I get the bows out on my jointer. You will have very little luck doing it on your planer. If the bow is pronounced, I put the middle of the board down (make the bow into a frown rather than a smile) onto the spinning blade. It won’t touch the face. Then push the board through from there with a push stick. Turn the board end for end and do the same thing with the second half of the board, also with the bow in a “frown.” Now joint the entire board at once. The amount of bow will dictate how many passes it will take.

Two suggestions: (1.) Use quarter sawn wood as much as you can. The movement will much less uneven and you won’t get the bows, twists, and cups you get with flat sawn lumber. (2.) If possible, buy your wood in at least 4/4 rough sawn. You can plane it to finished thickness after taking out the bows, twists, and cups. Then you’ll hopefully still have 3/4 boards. I use the timber on my own property, quarter sawn by a neighbor. It’s worth the waste to do it. I have all my wood cut to 5/4 in order to have enough thickness when I’m finished. A 4/4 board looks so much better than 3/4 in many projects like Shaker style.

Hopefully, my photo will attach which shows how I have my logs quarter sawn. Cut the three middle boards, number 1 cuts on the diagram. The pith will be straight down the center of the middle board if you shimmed up an end to make the pith level. You will have two half moon shapes left. Put them face to face and stand them on the saw. Cut the number 2 cuts. All you have cut now is quarter sawn. The four quarter circles can be further sawn for 1×4’s or 1×3’s, depending on the size of the log. I cut them as shown in number 3, which will give me rift sawn 3×3’s or 4×4’s for table legs. If I need something like face frames, I just resaw the timbers. I have had excellent results with minimal wood movement. I dry the stickered wood in the mechanical room of my basement, which dehumidifies the air as the wood dries. Sorry for the double photos. I am new to this site.


-- --Dale Page

View mandatory66's profile


202 posts in 2124 days

#4 posted 03-25-2013 12:22 AM

Would be easy with a hand plane. I use a #6 to plane diagonally across the the grain. When you have it flat clean it up by planing with the grain and check with a square and straight edge as you go.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2684 days

#5 posted 03-25-2013 02:21 AM

Like Loren suggested, cut it to shorter lengths then face joint it. You will waste a lot less wood this way. You can use a sled in your planer to face joint boards. There have been several threads explaining the process.

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

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2280 days

#6 posted 03-25-2013 02:58 AM

If it’s that small of a board, just put it on the bare concrete with about 50 lbs on it over night. You can use your TS if it’s flatter, but the moisture will help on the floor. Lay the bow so it bows up not down and put the weight on it and next morning it’ll be flat. If you want to keep it flat you’ll have to clamp it to a straight board and subject it to some warmer temps for a couple of days but if you work it by joining it to some structure it will stay the way you picked it up off the floor. Definitely the easiest way.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View praspekt's profile


18 posts in 1886 days

#7 posted 03-26-2013 01:28 AM

amazing!! thanks for all the advice! i really appreciate it.. first post too!!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics