Hand Tools Archive

Response To:
Plane recommendation?? ()

Wiley Horne
Hi Tom,

You might consider the following for your dining room table:

1. Replace the twisted board with a straight one planed to the same thickness.

2. Glue up first, rather than working the boards individually first—this will save thickness in the final product. Maintain alignment in the glue-up by using splines or biscuits. Shoot for zero variation across the seams.

3. If you can, get the grain all in the same direction prior to glue-up.

4. To flatten, use a long plane, like a No. 7. As others have said, sharp is the ballgame, rather than having a new super-duper plane. Use the double-iron technique suggested by David, if you want to pick up a new skill in this project. Suggest work at an angle across the boards, then work at an angle from the other side, so as not to plane a tilt into the table top. Use two milled edge levels, 4-ft or 6 foot to keep track of flatness and wind.

5. If any whole ‘peppercorns’ of curl are torn out, fill the holes using a Behlen master burn-in kit, or equal. A good alternative, less expensive, is to make up a slurry with liquid hide glue and project dust/shavings to fill large curl tear-out (if any).

6. Sand in boiled linseed oil: progress through 100, 220, 320. At each stage, flood with oil and sand it in using as much paper is required until no more oil will absorb. Then go to the next finer grit. This process will yield a wonderful surface to the touch, and a filled surface. I believe minor remaining tear-out will not be seen.

7. Finish with blonde dewaxed shellac; numerous thin coats. At say, 1/2 lb cut.

8. Rub out with OOO (or so) steel wool dipped in wax.

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