OldTools Archive

Recent Bios FAQ

273588 Darrell <larchmont479@g...> 2021‑05‑04 Re: flattening a large slab
Andrew asks about flattening and thinning down a big slab of beech...

On Mon, 3 May 2021 at 22:41, Andrew Heybey  wrote:

> 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 dimension.
Well, I have a fairly recent project (Pandemic Project #2) that used a big
slab of figured cherry.  My stock was 48" X 18" and I had to plane half an
inch off it.  I learned long ago that one face of a piece of wood can behave
very different from the other.  When I worked on that cherry, I ran a jack
plane over one face to see how it worked.  It got reasonably smooth and
flat easily.  The second face did not work easily at all.  Tearout,
and just all-round nasty.  So, that meant the Good face was the first one.
I proceeded to flatten that good face and get it reasonably smooth.

Thicknessing, well, for my purposes I just needed it to sit level on the
frame of the table. I used a scrub plane to hog off most of the stock
and then a jack plane to bring it down to the line.  Ah yes, the line.
I used a Stanley #78 rebate & fillister plane to cut a rebate with the
fence registering on the Face side.  That means I simply plane the
off side down to the bottom of that rebate.  Easy to see, that's for sure.
I only scrubbed for 30 minutes or so at a time, otherwise I would have
ended up a broken man, trying to accomplish the entire work at once.

I put some pictures up on Galootopedia.  Here's one where you can see
the rebate and the scrub plane.

I don't know how well dried your stock is...  my cherry sat in the wood
rack for well over a decade.  Despite being 18 inches wide it seems
pretty stable so far.

Best of luck!
Oakville ON
Wood Hoarder, Blade Sharpener, and Occasional Tool User

Recent Bios FAQ