Reference Piece

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Forum topic by hiswillus posted 07-11-2013 03:12 PM 889 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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70 posts in 1917 days

07-11-2013 03:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Really getting tired of continually finding that the tool or measuring device isn’t quite flat because the reference surface I used to flatten it wasn’t flat. What can you use that is actually flat to the degree that hand tool woodworkers are looking for. I always say it needs to be to the .00* of an inch. I stopped by the tile and marble place today and they said they couldn’t guarantee that kind of accuracy. I’d also like to find something twice the size of my wooden jointer plain so that I can bring that into a really nice flat. I also plan on building my own wooden planes, so I really need to get to the bottom of this.

As always any help is greatly appreciated,


7 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2007 days

#1 posted 07-11-2013 03:19 PM

You can buy a granite reference plate. They’re usually sold to machinists, not woodworkers, and one that is twice as long as a wooden jointer will cost you about three arms and a leg.

A partial slab of granite countertop will get you good enough for a lot less.

I just use my tablesaw top. It’s a decent cabinet saw, so it’s big and flat. Of course if you’re using a little portable saw whose main selling point was the colorful plastic body then your top may be just slightly smoother than congealed mashed potatoes and lumpy gravy, so obviously that wouldn’t work.

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View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4187 days

#2 posted 07-11-2013 03:31 PM

I agree with Joe. A piece of granite or a cast-iron saw top is plenty close enough, IMO. Working with metal is one thing, but wood moves.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View hiswillus's profile


70 posts in 1917 days

#3 posted 07-11-2013 03:34 PM

So do you think if I bought this at the tile marble shop it wold qualify? Even though they say there is no guarantee to dead flat, or should I invest in the “Granite Surface Plate”?

View Hammerthumb's profile


2836 posts in 1944 days

#4 posted 07-11-2013 03:39 PM

Make sure it is granite and not marble. Green color granites have a tendency to warp so stay away from them.
I use Absolute Black granite. Should be able to find 3/4” material for less than $10 per foot. Find a fabrication shop and see what they have for cut offs. Might get it for free. If you were here in Las Vegas, I would give you one.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4907 posts in 3929 days

#5 posted 07-11-2013 04:19 PM

I use a sink cut out from a local granite fabricator. Heavy, flat, and free. What more could ya want?
It’s 19” X 13 1/2” X 3 cm (1 3/16”) with water jet cut edges so it doesn’t have any really rough edges.
If ya need a longer piece, ask if they might have a chunk from a broken backsplash.


View JoeinGa's profile


7735 posts in 1975 days

#6 posted 07-11-2013 10:17 PM

And take a good steel straight edge with you to check it…

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View waho6o9's profile


8168 posts in 2545 days

#7 posted 07-11-2013 10:33 PM

Since you’re planning on making your own planes anyway, please stop
by and join the fun.

All are welcomed to the 2013 Hand Plane Swap.

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