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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

First time here...

I'm a beginner who's just starting woodworking. I'm making a small shelf unit that required me to glue up 4 panels form smaller stock. 2 are 17" x 15", and the other 2 are 17" x 12". I squared all the cherry stock & did the glue ups last week. I'd say 2 of them are not bad at all, and 2 are definitely off a bit.

My question is this: what's the best way to smooth these out & get them perfectly flat? I have access to a 20" planer that i could feed them all through. Is that a good idea? If i don't do that then I think i'll be doing it with a belt sander.

All advice is appreciated...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. How difficult is that to do with a bench plane (for a complete novice like me)?
 

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I've done a dry fit that I thought looked good, clamped using cauls and felt good about it. Came back 30 min later and the boards had moved a bit. Maybe clamped a side too tight, not sure. It happens.

Rather than spend the time trying to correct it, I just ripped the glue joints out, squared up the edges again, and re did it. Sure I lost a bit of wood but it was quick and painless.
 

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Thanks. How difficult is that to do with a bench plane (for a complete novice like me)?
Not easy. If not familiar with hand planes you may get the edge straight, but not 90 deg to the face.

You are likely to get a better result on the table saw, as Noek stated in his reply.

you have access to a jointer, you can try this tool.
 

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If i don't do that then I think i'll be doing it with a belt sander.
We have an introduction section where you can say a few words about yourself. If you fill out your profile in your "User Control Panel", you can list any hobbies, experience or other facts. You can also list your general geographical location which would be a help in answering some questions.

Using a belt sander can ruin what you have in a hurry. If you run it through a planer, you might have to shim the low side.









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The planer will work. Whatever your thickness, set the planer for about 1/8" more to start. Take small passes from both sides until you get smooth surfaces.

When you clamp boards into a panel, the pressure causes the boards to slide up or down or sideways. To prevent this you need to tighten the clamps together, in small increments. It is important to have the clamps exactly perpendicular to the glue joints. If they aren't, the angular force will cause the boards to shift sideways. Up and down shift can be from uneven pressure of the clamp jaws, edges not being exactly at 90 degrees, or bows in the boards.

I have used a pair of sticks, one on top and one underneath and clamped across the panel while I clamp the panel. These sticks will help hold the boards in a flat plane. If one is high, I drive a shim between it and the stick to get it in line. This is done with only slight pressure on the clamps, then tightened more after the boards are in line. You have to work fast because the glue tacks and sticks very quickly so you only have a few minutes to shift any out of line boards before applying full pressure.
 

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Hi everyone,

First time here...

I'm a beginner who's just starting woodworking. I'm making a small shelf unit that required me to glue up 4 panels form smaller stock. 2 are 17" x 15", and the other 2 are 17" x 12". I squared all the cherry stock & did the glue ups last week. I'd say 2 of them are not bad at all, and 2 are definitely off a bit.

My question is this: what's the best way to smooth these out & get them perfectly flat? I have access to a 20" planer that i could feed them all through. Is that a good idea? If i don't do that then I think i'll be doing it with a belt sander.

All advice is appreciated...


How you level the joint depends on how far off it is. If its less than 3/32 the belt sander will work fine. Any more than that then you can plane it down, but you might plane all the shelves to the same thickness to keep them looking right. You can rip the joint on the saw and do it over, but that might not be necessary. But if your parts are wider than the finished size and you have the time the you might want to do it that way. You kind of develop a knack for clamping level glue joints the more you do it. A little practice might serve you well
 

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A planer may or may not work. Often with small panels you end up getting sniping running them through a planer. If you had access to a planer it might have been better if you made the glue-up's in longer lengths until they were surfaced. At present I normally flatten panels with a stroke sander. Before I had one I sanded them with a belt sander, sanding them cross grain first and then with the grain.
 

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Hi everyone,

First time here...

I'm a beginner who's just starting woodworking. I'm making a small shelf unit that required me to glue up 4 panels form smaller stock. 2 are 17" x 15", and the other 2 are 17" x 12". I squared all the cherry stock & did the glue ups last week. I'd say 2 of them are not bad at all, and 2 are definitely off a bit.

My question is this: what's the best way to smooth these out & get them perfectly flat? I have access to a 20" planer that i could feed them all through. Is that a good idea? If i don't do that then I think i'll be doing it with a belt sander.



I'd invest in a dowl jig for future panel glue ups. Fairly inexpensive and will limit this problem in the future. Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the advice everyone. In the end a bit of work with a 1/4 sheet palm grip sander did the trick quite nicely (quite a bit of work).
 
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