leveling a table top - jointer plane??

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Forum topic by BillTX posted 04-16-2015 08:38 PM 1180 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1371 days

04-16-2015 08:38 PM

Hey Guys,

New to the forum here…I am building a table top for a side table and am wondering how to smooth it. I bought cedar with one rough edge(which will be the bottom) and I want to glue the boards together. Once thats done is where I need some advice. Should I use a hand jointer to make the top even to where it seems like one seamless board? or an electric planer? and for the rough side too…a hand jointer? Im trying to do this on a budget and dont have money to spend on a large jointer or electrical planer like i used in school.


4 replies so far

View bandit571's profile


21970 posts in 2917 days

#1 posted 04-16-2015 09:30 PM

Nothing wrong with a plane

A #5 on up will do. Start with across the grain, then at a diagonal, then with the grain,

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2196 days

#2 posted 04-17-2015 12:54 AM

You can certainly hand plane them, but you are going to want to pay attention to the grain direction when you glue them together. Otherwise if you have a board with grain going one way and the next board with grain going the other, you’re going to have a difficult time starting out to plane that.

Also it would really help if you had someone that could help you learn how to use a plane or sharpen one properly. Another option is to buy an already restored, sharpened and tuned up plane ready to go. Some people on LJ sell vintage planes like that for a good price.

View Mykos's profile


103 posts in 2029 days

#3 posted 04-17-2015 02:49 AM

I don’t know where you are located and what kind of cedar you have. Cedar is not a forgiving wood to hand plane. It’s very soft and splits easily so going cross grain or any rising grain will blow out and tear out very readily.

If the grain on the board is well behaved and you plane it in the correct direction then it will plane beautifully. If there are any knots or areas where the grain undulates, you’ll be in for a rough go unless your planing and sharpening skills are top notch.

I’m not trying to discourage you, and it certainly can be done with hand planes. I’m just trying to let you know what to expect since your questions lead me to believe that you’re new to this.

My observations on the nature of cedar are mostly based on my experience with Western Red Cedar (I use almost daily for all sorts of projects), Alaskan yellow cedar, Port Orford cedar and redwood (one board). Maybe eastern varieties are friendlier ?

View BillTX's profile


2 posts in 1371 days

#4 posted 04-17-2015 07:26 PM

thanks guys! Yes the Cedar I have is just some nice looking pieces I got from Home Depot. Not sure exactly which kind it is. I can already tell that these pieces are not forgiving :/ Since one side is smooth already I may just try to use a sander once glued together just being mindful of dips.

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