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PLANING TABLE TOP

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Forum topic by george venorsky posted 02-15-2009 12:51 AM 11348 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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george venorsky

5 posts in 2853 days


02-15-2009 12:51 AM

BUILT A HELL FOR STOUT WORK BENCH OUT OF DIRT CHEAP 4X8’S. KNOTS AND SAWN FINISH ON BOTTOM ARE FINE WITH WITH ME BUT I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE TOP A LITTLE NICER. KNOTS, TEAR OUTS MAKING HAND PLANING PRETTY MISERABLE. CAN THOSE HAND HELD POWER PLANERS BE USED TO GET A LARGE TABLE TOP FLAT ENOUGH TO FINISH UP WITH SANDING. NEVER USED ONE, BUT I’VE SEEN LOTS OF USED ONES ON CRAIGSLIST.

-- george v


10 replies so far

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juniorjock

1930 posts in 3230 days


#1 posted 02-15-2009 04:27 AM

I DON’T THINK SO…... WHY ARE YOU YELLING?
- JJ

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cabinetmaster

10874 posts in 3023 days


#2 posted 02-15-2009 04:36 AM

Very seriously doubt that a small hand held planer would do the job. Maybe a belt sander would be best. How big is the top and how was it put together? Maybe we would have better idea of how to advise you.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

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george venorsky

5 posts in 2853 days


#3 posted 02-19-2009 10:06 AM

This top is 63” x 24”. I laminated 4 pieces of the rough lumber to make it. I used table saw to get the edges reasonably straight (agonizing on 63” inch boards). then sanded those edges with a “jointer”sanding disc on the TS.(even more agonizing). Still had to pull the pieces together with three threaded rods. Made a mess of the top with belt sander ( a 4 incher ). Looked like ripples on a beach. Only choice was to hand plane the high spots. Nightmarish knots/ tear outs in spite of razor sharp irons. Wood filler and 1/2 sheet sander may salvage this yet. Never again. I’m going to buy a 12” combination planer jointer, have rough stuff milled, or just stop messing with problem stock.

-- george v

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cabinetmaster

10874 posts in 3023 days


#4 posted 02-20-2009 12:52 AM

You’re right. A 12” planer would have been nice. That is how I do my table tops. Glue up in 12” sections, plane them down and put the two together. Makes it easy to sand the top with a belt sander.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

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PurpLev

8523 posts in 3113 days


#5 posted 02-20-2009 01:07 AM

Just to make a note- based on your OP, you said that the bottom of the top if rough sawn, but the top is what you are concerned about – I also get the idea that you edge jointed 4 6” boards to get the 24” width – so, you have a long grain type bench top. those 2 things put together (long grain top + unequal amount of finish surface on top and bottom) will take that top out of flat in no time, no matter how much (actually – the more you work on the top part – the worst it’ll get) you flatten the top.

If you’re making a woodworking bench top I’d seriously recommend laminating 12 2” pieces as opposed to 4 6” pieces – this will make the pieces orientation similar to quarter-sawn and make the top more stable (wood movement). on top of that, I’d finish/mill/plane the top on both sides – top and bottom equally to minimize it’s tendency to cup/bow down the road.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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ShawnAllen

30 posts in 2918 days


#6 posted 02-20-2009 05:00 AM

For construction of workbenches:
Chris Schwarz Workbenches from Design & Theory to Construction & Use

For “dirt cheap” see Southern Yellow Pine, stiffness of 1.93 (right up there with maple, oak). Chris recommends using 2×12x12 for the clearest stock, and ripping to size: “never buy 2×4s”.

The two example benches in his book are works of art sure, but they look like very serious work benches (ie, functional).

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

939 posts in 2858 days


#7 posted 02-20-2009 05:30 AM

I built a workbench back in 2006 and I used this method to flat the top.I have pictures with all the process here.
3 ways of flattening a top:
1. Handplanes.
There are two ways to avoid “tear out”. First one is to use a Low angle jointer like this, with a York Pitch Blade (50 degrees).the second option when using common jointers (Stanley type #’s 7 & 8), the blade needs to be beveled at the back.
2. The router sledge (above)
3. Take the top with a local company that has a big Drum Sander.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

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PurpLev

8523 posts in 3113 days


#8 posted 02-20-2009 05:41 PM

Doubthead – that is an excellent method to flatten large table tops. thanks!

and that is one beautiful bench you built… inspiring.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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dsb1829

367 posts in 3092 days


#9 posted 02-23-2009 11:26 PM

Router sled is probably the best method. Hand planing with a lot of knots will just give you fits. When I have had to deal with knots and surfacing a board by hand I used a scrub or a jack to work the knots down below the surface and then would bring the surface level to that. Not fun. Depending on the number of knots you could also drill and plug them with scrap wood.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

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george venorsky

5 posts in 2853 days


#10 posted 02-26-2009 10:48 PM

Thanks for all the replies. Obviously I’m new at this woodworking thing and in spite of the difficulties with the work bench, I really like it. And I’ve learned a lot along the way.

DOUG: What are scrubs/jacks? I stil have a few knots to work down.

DOUBTHEAD: Wow! What an elegant solution. I’d like to go back about two months and save hours and hours of laborious jointer work on my table saw and hand planing. The top is nearly done, but I am sorely tempted to do the router sled anyway. I suspect it would look a heck of a lot better.

-- george v

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