Desk flat oak top - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 02-25-2020, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Desk flat oak top

Hi everybody,

I have almost finished my first relatively large (to me) desk build for my office. Out of milled oak from a few trees i dropped in my backyard. Its not perfect by any means,Here are some photos.

But i have some dips and valleys on the top that i just cannot correct with sander.

I want to try a hand plane.
I was wondering if the grizzly 14" smoothing plane would top these raised areas off, in order for me to sand again even.

I don't want to spend alot on the tool since i will be experimenting, but i found one online for about $40.

Will this help me or would it be a waste of money?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 22 Old 02-25-2020, 06:21 PM
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You could try a hand plane .....

The grain direction is crosswise to the length, so you'd end up planing across the width rather than down the length. Sanding does NOT produce tearout, but planing may if you aren't grain direction savy. Even through you plane in the correct direction, it may be up hill into the grain, rather than downhill with the grain, which will then tear out. Planing across the grain will help level it easier and faster, but it may take more work to remove any planing marks. Very thin shavings is the way to go.

I used a hand plane to flatten this door made of pressure treated wood:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/d...1-4-ply-55717/






There's no way to tell what will work best, you'll just have to try it.... very cautiously!

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 02-25-2020 at 06:26 PM.
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post #3 of 22 Old 02-26-2020, 09:46 AM
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You would want to use a #6 or 7 for flattening.

The way to flatten a large panel is start out going 45° across the grain in one direction, then the other, then straight across. Using a straight edge and winding sticks to check for flatness and twist. I often just use the corner of the plane sole.

Once you're satisifed, you can move to final planing/sanding.

A word of caution: I do not recommend smooth planing the top unless you've oriented all the boards grain direction the same otherwise you'll probably be dealing with tearout.

In your situation, I suggest skipping the smooth plane & going straight to sanding.

Whole 'nother topic, but Grizzly hand planes are not a recognized quality brand. If you want new, IMO WoodRiver is an excellent value, or you can try finding an older Stanley.

Robert
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post #4 of 22 Old 02-26-2020, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Sanding does NOT produce tearout, but planing may if you aren't grain direction savy. />
Your right, i wasn't grain direction savy because i believe i glued these all sorts of ways.
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post #5 of 22 Old 02-26-2020, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrRobert View Post
.
In your situation, I suggest skipping the smooth plane & going straight to sanding.
I did start the sanding process and got the whole right half pretty flat and smooth, but i have 2 boards that are popped up which i probably did whole glueing and clamping.
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post #6 of 22 Old 02-26-2020, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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I have a small cheaper block plane that i will try later tonight with small strokes.
See how that goes.
I dont want to mess it up but i want to learn how to use these tools.
Just for those 2 high sitting boards. Im not talking much you can't tell by looking but you run your hand across and feel the waves in these two boards.
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post #7 of 22 Old 02-26-2020, 03:50 PM
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A smaller plane will follow the irregularities ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill4807 View Post
I have a small cheaper block plane that i will try later tonight with small strokes.
See how that goes.
I don't want to mess it up but i want to learn how to use these tools.
Just for those 2 high sitting boards. I'm not talking much you can't tell by looking but you run your hand across and feel the waves in these two boards.

Use a removable marker and rub it on the high spots. Find the high spots using a long straight edge. A plane with a longer sole will bridge the high spots and remove them rather than following them. This is somewhat advanced for a beginner starting out, but as long as you are aware of the grain direction, you should be fine.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 22 Old 02-26-2020, 03:56 PM
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Even a cheap plane can do a decent job, IF your blade is adequately sharp!!! I cannot stress this enough. The best plane in the world is not worth much if you do not have the blade SHARP.
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post #9 of 22 Old 02-26-2020, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
]

Use a removable marker and rub it on the high spots. Find the high spots using a long straight edge. A plane with a longer sole will bridge the high spots and remove them rather than following them. This is somewhat advanced for a beginner starting out, but as long as you are aware of the grain direction, you should be fine. />
This is exactly what i did. Used a pencil drew some squiggly lines down the high spots.

It actually worked out better than I thought it would. Even being such a small base, its about 7 inches long.
I did get some tearout because even when the grain was going one way there would be a spot where a knot was and the grain started to swirl, that really was tough to work around all of those.
It definitly.looks rough right now, but you don't feel the waves with your hand anymore.
Now to sand tomorrow, and see how clean i can get it. Im sure it wont be as smooth as i had it yesterday.
Thanks
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post #10 of 22 Old 02-26-2020, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmwood_1 View Post
Even a cheap plane can do a decent job, IF your blade is adequately sharp!!! I cannot stress this enough. The best plane in the world is not worth much if you do not have the blade SHARP.
When i first started with it it was tough going, but as soon as i got a couple of passes under its belt it seemed to become smoother. I don't know why. Im sure i can try to flatten the bottom or sharpen the blade more, but i don't have those kind of stones.
Plus the plane is brand new, i bought it about 2 weeks ago, tried it and said no way, let it sit until today then got up the courage to try it again, because the waves on the top of the desk were really bugging me.

In my mind the top was either going to get smooth or i was going to wreck the top.
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post #11 of 22 Old 02-27-2020, 12:43 PM
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Bill, I suggest you look at Paul Sellers Videos on sharpening a plane. A cabinet scraper plane can deal with the wild grain. Doing a desk top that size may require a re sharpen of your plane iron several times and is well worth doing for a pristine shaving. Set your plane very shallow and listen as you plane... you will hear the plane as it shaves down the high spots. Set your frog for a narrow opening when taking whisper shavings. Use the rag in a can (Paul Sellers) or wax on the sole of the plane to lessen friction as necessary. Almost all difficulties with a hand plane are because of improper sharpening... keep that in mind always!
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post #12 of 22 Old 03-02-2020, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill4807 View Post
I did start the sanding process and got the whole right half pretty flat and smooth, but i have 2 boards that are popped up which i probably did whole glueing and clamping.


My guess is the two boards popped up because of the way you attached the top to the base, you did not allow for wood expansion or contraction. Other boards may pop, or split if you don’t do something different to attach the top to the base than pocket hole screws. Running boards crosswise to a table rather than lengthwise means there will be even more wood movement that you need to allow for.
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post #13 of 22 Old 03-02-2020, 12:35 PM
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Looks great. A little character often adds a lot to Oak. It also says it's home made. So if you don't have a 40" wide table belt sander you get a little dip or rise from time to time.

How long did you air dry the oak for? Did you move it inside weeks before you machined it?

Looks great. A nice table that will last a life time.

Mark Jones
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post #14 of 22 Old 03-02-2020, 06:55 PM
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Two uneven boards ...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill4807 View Post
I did start the sanding process and got the whole right half pretty flat and smooth, but i have 2 boards that are popped up which i probably did while glueing and clamping.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Q View Post
My guess is the two boards popped up because of the way you attached the top to the base, you did not allow for wood expansion or contraction. Other boards may pop, or split if you don’t do something different to attach the top to the base than pocket hole screws. Running boards crosswise to a table rather than lengthwise means there will be even more wood movement that you need to allow for.

Running the boards across the length rather than down the length is a reasonable alternative, especially when all you have are shorter boards. They will move along the length, rather than across the width which is more typical of table construction. All that need be done is to allow for the movement in length by using "Z" clips or slots at the ends and NOT to glue or screw each one except the center one to the aprons. This may create some issues when moving the table around since the top will not be fastened normally, but it will be fine if moved carefully.



Nice to hear that all is well now tha the planing is done and sanding is next.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #15 of 22 Old 03-02-2020, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmercer_48083 View Post
Bill, I suggest you look at Paul Sellers Videos on sharpening a plane. A cabinet scraper plane can deal with the wild grain. Doing a desk top that size may require a re sharpen of your plane iron several times and is well worth doing for a pristine shaving. Set your plane very shallow and listen as you plane... you will hear the plane as it shaves down the high spots. Set your frog for a narrow opening when taking whisper shavings. Use the rag in a can (Paul Sellers) or wax on the sole of the plane to lessen friction as necessary. Almost all difficulties with a hand plane are because of improper sharpening... keep that in mind always!
I will check that out! Thanks.
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post #16 of 22 Old 03-02-2020, 09:45 PM
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How deep are we talking about that you cant get out with sanding? sometimes, especially if using a orbital sander you end up making depressions to get others out and on and on.

I would avoid going to the plane just yet. the project looks near completion and if you're not 100% confident in finishing it with a plane then your gunna kick yourself for chunking out pieces and having more work to finish it.

Heres what I would do:

1.zig zag pencil marks all over for high/low spot reference
2.take a really flat board material, like a 4" x 48" strip of Melanie or mdf, a 2x4 or other kinda natural board wont be flat enough, and double side tape some coarse sand paper to the entire underside.
3.kinda how concrete workers screen the concrete, you work the sandpaper board back and forth. the flat strip of melamine will reveal the low spots and take down the high spots.

its worked for me in the past in a similar situation. Just make sure that 4" strip doesn't flex and don't press down, let it slide over and it should get it flat.
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post #17 of 22 Old 03-02-2020, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Jones Ozark View Post
Looks great. A little character often adds a lot to Oak. It also says it's home made. So if you don't have a 40" wide table belt sander you get a little dip or rise from time to time.

How long did you air dry the oak for? Did you move it inside weeks before you machined it?

Looks great. A nice table that will last a life time.

Mark Jones

Thanks mark.

After i cut the trees they sat in log form for a year outside. I had them milled and then they sat about 5-6 more months in a barn. Now they are in my garage and have been there about 4 months.
After i planed them a little i let them sit a few days then flattened, then let them sit again, then finished them.
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post #18 of 22 Old 03-02-2020, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Terry Q View Post

My guess is the two boards popped up because of the way you attached the top to the base, you did not allow for wood expansion or contraction. Other boards may pop, or split if you don’t do something different to attach the top to the base than pocket hole screws. Running boards crosswise to a table rather than lengthwise means there will be even more wood movement that you need to allow for.
I am not sure.
I know those two were like that after i glued them together. They did seem to get worse (i think) as they sat.
I seen a similiar kitchen table that was larger but had the same build and boards running crosswise.
I have not experimented with other attachment techniques other than pocket holes and glue for now.
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post #19 of 22 Old 03-02-2020, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill4807 View Post
I did start the sanding process and got the whole right half pretty flat and smooth, but i have 2 boards that are popped up which i probably did while glueing and clamping.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Q View Post
My guess is the two boards popped up because of the way you attached the top to the base, you did not allow for wood expansion or contraction. Other boards may pop, or split if you don’t do something different to attach the top to the base than pocket hole screws. Running boards crosswise to a table rather than lengthwise means there will be even more wood movement that you need to allow for.

Running the boards across the length rather than down the length is a reasonable alternative, especially when all you have are shorter boards. They will move along the length, rather than across the width which is more typical of table construction. All that need be done is to allow for the movement in length by using "Z" clips or slots at the ends and NOT to glue or screw each one except the center one to the aprons. This may create some issues when moving the table around since the top will not be fastened normally, but it will be fine if moved carefully.



Nice to hear that all is well now tha the planing is done and sanding is next. <img src="http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/images/smilies/vs_cool.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Vs Cool" class="inlineimg" />
I looked up the Z-clips.
Is this a typical way to attach tabletops?
The part of the clip that is inside the slot, should this press down to force the apron against the top? Or should it be a loose fit to only avoid the top to be lifted off?
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post #20 of 22 Old 03-03-2020, 01:32 AM
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I am not sure, But I see people's reviews pretty well. Just try it. Good luck
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