Laminated workbench top flattening

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  • This topic has 3 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 3 years ago by Jon.
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    I made a 78 x 16 inch (1.98 x 0.4 meters) laminated workbench top following Paul’s 2nd workbench video series. The bench is now assembled. Is there a systematic way to flatten the top with a #4 plane? I also have winding sticks and a 72 inch straight edge.

    I can prepare shorter and less wide stock without issue but the size of this top is challenging. I take out the twist but inadvertently introduce areas that are not flat across the width of the top. I’m off by about 1/8 of an inch (3.2 mm) in various areas.

    How to Make a Workbench Episode 8, at 26:00 minutes, makes it look simple.

    Thanks for any ideas

    • This topic was modified 3 years ago by Jon. Reason: Typos
    Benoît Van Noten

    I used the wind sticks at each end and in the middle of my 1.5 m workbench and the edge of the plane to obtain three straight and parallel references. Then used a straight edge to determine high spots: the straight edge would rock and “helicopter” on high spots. Planing the high spots until the straight edge would drag consistently in any direction (lengthwise, across and in diagonal) and everywhere. It is an iterative process (eliminating a high spot will reveal another one somewhere else). Don’t plane too much at a time (don’t make a hollow where there was a bump).
    To plane a high spot, start to plane ahead of the bump and lift the heel of the plane just after passing it.
    It is a bit like scraping metal to obtain a flat surface.
    I never tried to obtain full length continuous shavings.
    I think my workbench is flat enough; I didn’t use any kind of feeling gauges.

    Benoît Van Noten

    Using the “search” icon with the key word “flattening”, there are two video from Paul about “preparing stock for a table”.

    The flattening start on the episode 1 at around 51’30”.
    He is flattening a long and wide board.


    Thanks for the tips and the video Benoît. Just when I think I’ve seen all relevant videos another surfaces! I will give it another go.


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