Maybe he has a magic touch, maybe he got lucky, maybe your standards of success are lower (I dont mean that as a derogatory remark).
I would expect a hand power planer to take out small bumps in the surface but leave larger more gradual hills and valleys. I would also expect to have faint lines between the passes. If we are talking about achieving a "perfect" finish, I think it would fall short.
In truth, for a table top, a 13" lunch box planer isnt going to get you all the way home, nor will a jointer. you can plane the individual planks, and you will joint them for the mating surfaces. but after that, nothing short of a huge industrial machine will have the capacity you need, and that is ultimately the solution, glue up your panel and haul it to a mill for them to plane and sand perfectly flat. probably cost 50 bucks or something.
Last edited by bauerbach; 04-17-2015 at 02:29 PM.