Smoothing out an angled half lap

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Forum topic by bludhemn posted 12-30-2013 05:47 PM 970 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1870 days

12-30-2013 05:47 PM


I’m trying to build a console table with X-legs (cross legs). I decided to use a half lap joint for the legs, but came across some difficulty while doing this. The legs are angled at around 28 degree, and I am making the cut with a tenon saw on pine wood. I made a few parallel cuts in the lap and cleared it off with a paring chisel. But the end result was a completely uneven surface, and the more I tried to use the chisel to smooth it out, the worse it got. Here is a pic of what I have now:

The width of that lap is about 80mm, and I dont have a plane that will go in. What can I do to make sure that the next half lap is even?

Please bear with my lack of understanding, as I am a total novice.

Thank you.

5 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2278 days

#1 posted 12-30-2013 05:57 PM

You’re using that modern lumber they call pine but is actually a member of the sponge family. It will be stringy in spots, hard in some, soft in others. Very hard to get a smooth surface even with razor sharp tools. You could try using your sharpest saw and chisel to cut it out just-a-hair-not-deep-enough and then take a block of wood the same width as the opening with some sandpaper glued to it and just sand it down to the depth you want.
Or you can just do all the cuts on the tablesaw or radial arm saw with a dado blade and be done with it. Just angle the miter gauge or if you’re using a crosscut sled (better) put a wedge behind it to get the angle you need.
Or the tablesaw or RAS with a regular blade and make about 16 bajillion passes until you’re done.

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View GrandpaLen's profile


1651 posts in 2512 days

#2 posted 12-30-2013 06:15 PM

Saw cuts at the edge of your 1/2 lap and clean out inbetween with a ruoter.

...just a thought.

Best Regards. – Grandpa Len

Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View TaybulSawz's profile


159 posts in 1922 days

#3 posted 12-30-2013 07:05 PM

I’d recommend making multiple saw kerfs. You’ll have less likelihood of chipping and gouging with pine.

-- Still got all my Fingers!!!

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15822 posts in 2858 days

#4 posted 12-30-2013 09:29 PM

First off, the overall recessed surface doesn’t need to be pretty. Cut the second half lap and trim to fit is a decent approach. In the meantime, G-Len’s advise is sound (as is joe and taybul of course) re: the router. This is a small router, the #271, where you’d likely need the #71.

A router plane has a iron extended below the sole of the plane to make recessed surfaces consistent, just as you desire.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Don W's profile

Don W

19050 posts in 2807 days

#5 posted 12-30-2013 09:36 PM

I’d be tempted to use the router plane also, but my second choice (maybe you don’t have a router plane) would be a rasp.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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