First time doing joinery - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-24-2018, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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First time doing joinery

So I tried my hand at making a butcher block table top. I used mahogany for my first project because the wood was free. I learned a lot from doing this project such as, planing, squaring up rough lumber, and glue ups. I think it came out pretty good for a first time job and learning from you tube. I have pictures of my table top. Only problem I really had was my short pieces left gaps but my longer pieces joined very well. Any advice would be helpful I am very new at woodworking but am really enjoying it.
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-24-2018, 07:30 PM
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Matt, It looks like it turned out pretty good! did you hand plane or machine plane? As far as the gaps, are the only at the ends of the shorter pieces, and how big of a gap? I see three ways of fixing the gaps. #1; is if the gap is small (say less than 1/16") you can mix glue with sanding dust of a matching color creating a paste, then force it into the gap with a puddy knife...or even your finger. Let it harden and sand even. #2; is to use a sharp marking knife to define the edges of an individual board end, then using a sharp chisel, pare the wood at a very low angle tword the end to a depth of about 1/8". Then glue in a replacement sliver/wedge, let dry, and sand or plane even. #3 Apply glue into the gap and drive a very slim wedge straight down into the gap, let dry, then sand even. No one will notice (unless you tell them), and you will have learned education is worth something!
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-24-2018, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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I used a machine planer before I joined the 2 pieces together. Planer is only 12.5 wide, this piece altogether is 18Ē. I did use a hand planer after joining together because of a slight high spot. Talk about a learning curve. Found out only need to take the blade out like a 1/8 or 1/16 out or you start to dig into the wood, but after using it a little bit I started figuring it out. I have a greater appreciation for the hand planner now. I think I am going to use your idea of mixing glue with sone dust to fill in the gaps. Meant to be a coffee nook table. The picture is where it will go. Thanks again man for the advice exactly why I joined here for some expert advice.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-24-2018, 09:26 PM
where's my table saw?
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I'm late to this party but,.....

As you found out, a powered hand plane is tricky to use and should not be used to finish a surface ... in my opinion. It's just not very precise or controllable. Your machine plane or thickness planer will make all your boards the same thickness. This is key to making a smooth and level surface. The trick is gluing them together ... smooth and level so no extreme sanding or hand planing is required.

When gluing up several boards at a time, it's more difficult to get them all level across, so some guys glue only 2 at a time, a more manageable operation. Then the 2 pairs are glued together after that, still not easy to get them all level. Winding sticks can be used to sight across to determine if there is a twist. Clamps on the intersecting edges will assure they are level across, just don't glue your clamps to the boards! Cauls can be used to assure the boards are level across. Cauls are either straight boards or boards that have a curve milled into them to apply pressure from the center out, they are used convex side down.

Trying to fix a mis-matched set of boards afterwards involves some sighting, hand planing and sanding to get it all smooth and level across OR just run it through a wide belt sander in a cabinet shop who will charge you 15 minutes of shop time.

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 #5 of 5 Old 01-25-2018, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I didnít use a powered hand planner. I bought a kobalt bench plane. First time using one of them and it was a slight learning curve because my instructor is guys on YouTube lol, but I started getting comfortable with it once I found out I was trying to take to much off. Also I looked up cauls and that is definitely something I will add to my collection of tools. It also looks like I can just make them myself which is even better. If I had used them I may not have had the uneven boards. Again to the both of you. I really appreciate the help and advice.
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