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Recent Bios FAQ

273571 Andrew Heybey <ath@h...> 2021‑05‑04 flattening a large slab
We recently redid our kitchen.  There is a small island in the kitchen, the top
of which is about 3’ x 3’.  A friend gave us a large slab of beech to use as the
top of the island.  The slab is is about 36” by 45” by 3-3.5” (it tapers from
one end to the other).  It is also bowed by about 1/2” across the narrow

My first shameful thought was to rip it into 3 12” strips and run it through a
tailed apprentice to flatten it then glue it back together.  But the thought
passed and I decided do it the Galoot way both for the experience and for the
satisfaction of the top still being a single piece.

The challenges are several (at least for me):

- I have never done any stock prep by hand (I have mostly stuck to joinery and
finish work with hand tools).  I know how to do it in theory, but have zero
- I have to both flatten the faces and make them (more-or-less) parallel.  All
the “flatten your bench top” videos I watched don’t have to deal with this.
- I need to remove a lot of wood.  The bow is about 1/2” so to flatten it I have
to remove a total of 1” (1/2 from the top face and 1/2 from the bottom).  In
addition, it tapers by 1/2" from end to end, so that’s another big chunk I have
to remove from the whole width.

I have turned my crappy Stanley “Handyman” #4 into a scrub plane by grinding the
iron in an arc, https://groups.io/g/oldtools/photo/263744/3219531, and started
in (obviously just barely):


Ignore the unspeakable object in the background (it doesn’t belong to me,

My current plan is to:
a) more-or-less flatten the convex face with the scrub plane
b) flip it over and do the same to the concace face.
c) mark the desired thickness and plane it to thickness.

Any words of advice?  The thought occurs to me that even doing it by hand
perhaps I should rip it into 2-3 strips so that I can alternate the grain when I
glue it back together.  On the other hand, it is kind-of quarter sawn because
the slab went through the middle of the tree.

Finally, the front knob is missing from my #4 (it currently borrowing one from
my “good” #4).  Anyone have a knob they would like to sell?


Recent Bios FAQ