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Can I NOT joint and plane a table top?

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Forum topic by bbasiaga posted 05-07-2015 09:11 PM 1187 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bbasiaga

754 posts in 1455 days


05-07-2015 09:11 PM

I’m working on a coffee table. The top will be 48”x18” or so. I have some nice wide boards that I’d like to use, but my 6” planer means I will have to rip them and rejoin them (extra work, loss of material, interrupted grain pattern). And because of the design of my 6” jointer I can’t do the trick where you remove the guard and use the plywood sled trick.

I’m wondering, has anyone ever planed the pieces to uniform thickness without face jointing, then used the hold downs to pull the table top flat?

Just thinking…looking for options.

Thanks,

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.


15 replies so far

View 489tad's profile

489tad

3098 posts in 2472 days


#1 posted 05-07-2015 09:15 PM

This is where the winding sticks come in. I’ll let the hand tool guys finish this up for you.
I found out that my jointer is unable to to the wide board trick when I built a coffee table. Good luck.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

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Richard H

489 posts in 1141 days


#2 posted 05-07-2015 09:45 PM

My 2 cents,

If there is a little twist you can probably get away with this and pull it out when you screw it to the base but if there is a lot it won’t work and you will pull the legs out of square ending up with a tipsy table and weirdly shaped top.

You don’t need a perfectly flat surface either however. You want the point where the top intersects the leg structure to be flat and in plane but the rest of the bottom of the table and the entire top is only for show. If you are going to put a edge profile on the table you will want to be pretty close to parallel or the profile will look weird and you don’t want waves in the table top you will see from a angle but the human eye is pretty easily fooled. Basically make the bottom as flat as possible where they contact the leg assembly and make the top and edges look good to the eye but that’s about as flat as they really need to be.

Power tools wise look up planner sleds with shims or other means of stabilizing unflattened stock on this site for some ideas of using your planner to flatten a face of a wide board. Hand tools wise your going to want to do at least a bit of flattening although as I said you don’t have to obsess over it. If the leg assembly sits flat with good registration on the top while upside down on your bench you probably will be fine once everything is screwed down.

Good luck

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2190 posts in 941 days


#3 posted 05-08-2015 12:47 AM

I wouldn’t rely on mechanical fasteners to pull a warped top into planar alignment.

I disagree with the previous poster on necessity of flatness.
IMO you need every board as flat as you can get them or you’ll end up with a mess trying to make a top this wide.

Ripping down your stock to fit your jointer is not so bad. You won’t have that much grain disruption to be so noticeable, would you? I mean, you’re going to have diffs in grain even if you use wide boards, right?

One thing I’ve often thought about , but never done, is to do the glue up, then rip into strips, joint, plane, and reglue. You waste less wood this way and have alittle better continuity, no?

As mentioned,

1. Hand plane one face flat then plane.

2. Use the planer sled method.

3. Find someone with a wider jointer!

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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bandit571

14538 posts in 2143 days


#4 posted 05-08-2015 01:04 AM

This top was 16” wide ( three boards) and just over 3’ long.

And with bread board ends just over 38” long. When it was being glued up, I used cauls on the ends to keep things close to flat. Once out of the clamps, a jack plane to flatten both faces. Wasn’t trying for perfectly flat, though. But I think I got fairly close. Used a 5-1/2, and a #6 plane to flatten the surface, by going at a diagonal to the grain. Cleaned up with a #3 smoother.

Biggest thing is to get the edges straight. You can clamp all them together, and plane them all at once.

I think I might have a blog about a “Pile Of Pine Boards.” around somewhere.

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

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JackStraw

1 post in 857 days


#5 posted 05-08-2015 03:56 PM

The wood whisperer did a video on using a router with a DIY sled to perfectly flatten a bench top. It seems like that would work perfectly in your situation. It just takes a lot of time, and the bit was kind of spendy if you got the one he used.

http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/videos/flattening-workbenches-and-wide-boards-with-a-router/?mode=posts&atid=2594&att=category&menu=library

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bandit571

14538 posts in 2143 days


#6 posted 05-08-2015 04:22 PM

Sigh….

By the time one gets the router thingy set up, used, and then sanded smooth…..I am just about done with this 3/4×16” x 36” pine top. All I needed to do was smooth plane a couple spots. Not quite as noisey as a router screaming away, but….a Stanley No. 5-1/2 Jack plane seems to work just fine.

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

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

754 posts in 1455 days


#7 posted 05-08-2015 05:56 PM

Thanks Guys. I have no hand planes, so I think I might try the planer sled idea. I watched a few youtube videos and found some simple ones that seem to work pretty well. Next time I get a few days off in a row from work I’ll give it a go.

-Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4853 posts in 2273 days


#8 posted 05-08-2015 07:14 PM

I would just joint boards within the limitation of your machine, then glue up pairs of boards. You could make a 12” wide plank, then plane that smooth. Then glue the 12” plank to a 6” board to complete the panel. That way you will have less sanding to do, and only one glueline to clean up.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View SirIrb's profile

SirIrb

1239 posts in 691 days


#9 posted 05-08-2015 07:30 PM

this is the place where you google cabinet shops in your area. ask if they have a wide belt sander. about 43” is the size I am used to working with. start off with some 60 grit and work up. I would think that $40 would do the trick. and it would take 5 minutes to get it nice and right out of the sander.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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DrDirt

4167 posts in 3202 days


#10 posted 05-08-2015 09:40 PM

2 choices….

Do it by hand

Find someone with bigger equipment. e.g. a sled into a 20 inch planer, or a wide belt sander taking light passes

I wouldn’t rip it unless it was really out of flat.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2150 days


#11 posted 05-09-2015 12:05 AM

You don’t need to build a fancy planer sled. A flat piece of ply with some wedges hot glued or brad nailed and you are in business.

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

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

754 posts in 1455 days


#12 posted 05-09-2015 12:12 AM



You don t need to build a fancy planer sled. A flat piece of ply with some wedges hot glued or brad nailed and you are in business.

- gfadvm

That is what I was going to try. One of the videos I saw dud just that. If it goes well, it my even influence my choice on a bigger jointer.

Probably do the wider boards that way, then glue them up. my planer is only 13”

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2150 days


#13 posted 05-09-2015 12:32 AM

Brian, Be sure to attach a thin cleat on your “sled” so the workpiece will not be pushed backwards on the sled.

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

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bbasiaga

754 posts in 1455 days


#14 posted 05-09-2015 12:39 AM

I will do that, but i have a question. The rollers in the planer would be trying to push the board forward, but leave the sled behind. The knies would try and push the board back out towrds the infeed side. so which end do I put the cleat on? The leading edge or the triling edge? Youtube has examples of both.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2150 days


#15 posted 05-09-2015 01:13 AM

Brian, I have cleats on both ends. Just make sure they are thinner than your thinnest workpiece. I tack my cleats and the wedges in place with my 18 gauge pneumatic brad nailer (quicker and more secure than hot glue).

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

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