Flattening a worktop

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Ttrees

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@Jacob
On the winding stick comment...
maybe you are not making fun of my comment, and are agreeing
with my point about making sure something else could be at fault.
I guess you would likely agree in real life, and I'm just making things sound complicated.

About how flat ones bench is though, I have yet to see an easier faster more accurate method to plane timber by hand than the method I choose.
And by that, I mean that 1/32" wouldn't cut it.
I've got a 64" dip on mine at this point, aswell as on the ends possibly more so,
which isn't so much as big of a deal as on somewhere in the middle.
This is just about tolerable for me to use this method.

Depending on how much planing (by hand) one plans to do,
as every hand planer wants gap free results regardless...
I can't see how it makes any sense to not have something which you can trust,
i.e using it as something more than just a solid elevation to hold the work,
and yet to see anything near comparable as quick.


SAM_5314.JPG

Tom
 

Jacob

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@Jacob
On the winding stick comment...
maybe you are not making fun of my comment, and are agreeing
......
Just a bit mystified!
How do you cope with a typical twisty bent sawn timber which isn't flat or straight on any of its four sides?
I've successfully hand planed 14ft newel posts without any reference surfaces or straight edges. The secret is to start by planing one dead straight arris, as judged by eye.
Most of what I plane is shorter and cut to length first before planing, as per cutting list / design drawing,
 
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Ttrees

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I don't have any 14 foot stock about.
All of my stock I just plop it on the bench and that tells me where I need plane,
About as easy as you can make it, doesn't matter the shape.

If I needed make stuff like plenty of long skirting (noticeable material deflection issues, then I'd clear the other bench off and use that too.
That's more like carpentry stuff that I don't really do, though I have some skirting to make soon, those are thankfully short bits.
 

RobinBHM

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Turn the bench on its side and put a fan heater on it for a few hours - unless the timber is stupidly thick, that’ll flatten it.

of course it could go back again after depending on humidity and temp of where it lives
 

Jacob

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I don't have any 14 foot stock about.
All of my stock I just plop it on the bench and that tells me where I need plane,
About as easy as you can make it, doesn't matter the shape.

If I needed make stuff like plenty of long skirting (noticeable material deflection issues, then I'd clear the other bench off and use that too.
That's more like carpentry stuff that I don't really do, though I have some skirting to make soon, those are thankfully short bits.
I don't plane "stock". 14ft was finished size from 4.5m or longer stock.
I only plane finished sized pieces, unless very short then I'd plane them as one easily handleable piece and cut to length afterwards
 

Eric R

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Just a bit mystified!
How do you cope with a typical twisty bent sawn timber which isn't flat or straight on any of its four sides?
I've successfully hand planed 14ft newel posts without any reference surfaces or straight edges. The secret is to start by planing one dead straight arris, as judged by eye.
Most of what I plane is shorter and cut to length first before planing, as per cutting list / design drawing,
How would you know if you had planed them flat/straight without referencing something known to be flat/straight within certain tolerances? A newel post doesn't require joinery that would expose any issues. I think one planes as flat/straight as needed for the work at hand, and a newel post only needs to look straight.
 

Ttrees

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@Jacob I'm not arguing that planing purely by eye isn't a good thing.
My point is one would get the hang of the use of the hand plane a lot quicker and more successfully starting with stock/component sized timber which is of lesser length than the bench, and not start off bad habits.

For finer work, I don't see why one would do all that faffing about not using the bench, and yet to see anyone but Charlesworth, Cosman and very very few others suggest to use the bench as such, since it makes things so basic, trustworthy, accurate, and in most cases of components or bench sized stuff, nothing much longer than I've shown, a heck of a lot easier looking compared to anything
I've seen on the subject.
But as you guessed, always open to suggestions.


Tom
 

Jacob

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How would you know if you had planed them flat/straight without referencing something known to be flat/straight within certain tolerances? A newel post doesn't require joinery that would expose any issues. I think one planes as flat/straight as needed for the work at hand, and a newel post only needs to look straight.
You know it's straight by looking at it - in this case the arris. You know it's flat if the winding sticks say so.
Where would you get a 14' straight edge and how would you know it was straight other than by looking at it?
 
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Ttrees

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I can make the argument that you cannot really see what the timber is truly like,
until the face or edge you're working on isn't visible. :)
 

Ttrees

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Turn the bench on its side and put a fan heater on it for a few hours - unless the timber is stupidly thick, that’ll flatten it.

of course it could go back again after depending on humidity and temp of where it lives
Something like this I forgot to mention, :dunno: (no facepalm emoji) @angie
The environment itself! .. should it be a newly acquired bench this is likely the easiest and best solution, should this be the case.
Seeing as I don't have much experience with what I suppose you could call moving timber, and never read on the subject.
I can only guess that you'd want more heat on the convex top surface?

Should it be swollen from something, nearly seems a sheet of plastic to protect the top have caused this kinda thing, or even just a heavy coat of oil on the top and none on the underside?

I am curious to know why you wouldn't flip the top completely and stick a heater underneath?
Perhaps just for a safer not too immediate result which wouldn't crack the timber?

In the depths of winter, I've had checking on face grain happen bringing in nearly warm enough timbers inside, and not drenched the timber beforehand and during glue ups, that's going from say about 5 or 6c in the shed
SAM_3873.JPG
upto 24c IIRC in the house with heavier blankets than below, using 2000w oil rad.
Way too quick, and pointless since you're not wanting to re-introduce moisture with a rag.
Don't think I could reach as close to those figures in the shed, but would be weary nonetheless, and seeing as its spring likely doesn't need as much juice.
a heavier blanket needed.JPG



Be interesting to know more about the bench.
Should it be a case of the thing be movable rather than needing any work.
Have heard of subtle suggestions to coat both sides when oiling before,
just like veneer and hide glue, so would be eager to see if it could be moved back, should this scenario or others be the case.

All the best
Tom
 
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Terrytpot

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Last time I flattened my bench I dug out my largest (32mm) diameter router bit and did the whole router sled trick on it as if it was a large slab to be flattened. Had to do it twice 🤔 as first time around I didn’t notice my travelling sled wasn’t “stout” enough and actually flexed a bit under the weight of my router 🧐
 

RobinBHM

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I am curious to know why you wouldn't flip the top completely and stick a heater underneath

yes that’s far better and what I do, I just wasn’t sure if your bench was super heavy.

Ive got a 12mm bow out of an oak breakfast bar this way before
 

okeydokey

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Hi Phil P
A photo or two would be helpful please .......................
A hand plane will give control an electric planer for this task could easily take too much off each corner and you end up with a bench with a dip in the middle and each corner or perhaps a side with a gradual curve downwards away from the top - imagine a cushion shape.
As others have said depending on the grain you could easily get a tear out and ruin the whole thing - or just leave it along and see if it causes issues in day to day DIY activities
 

Stevekane

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Im probably the least experienced person on here but I would defiantly say do not use the electric planer, as carefull as I am I cannot avoid leaving lines with mine no matter how fine I set it to cut,,The Router Sled idea is a good one, I made a simple one that worked just great and if your fairly new to woodworking and routers its a good learning experiance too. A large cheap chinese flattening bit from ebay worked just great squareing up some seasoned oak.
Steve
 

spanner48

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Find a 'Mens' Shed' or 'Makerspace' near you.
Sign up.
Borrow a Nº 7 or Nº 8 plane.
Use it. That's what they're for.
 

Jacob

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just deleted - repeating myself here! i.e. you check if things are straight by looking at them.
 
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