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Hi guys, new here and just posted an introduction. I am new to woodworking and have made a small sofa end table. I know its not great, i am just starting out. I shop for lumber at lowes and have a hard time finding good stock to pick from, and sometimes even when my cuts are accurate, i notice that the table top is not flush with one another. I know that the stock isnt uniform, i am just curious how i can make this more presentable and flat so that when i put things on it it doesnt look ghetto. I bought a Porter cable electric hand plane and took a pretty nasty gouge out of the wood at the end of the board on some scrap, is that the best way? or a good orbital sander and start with coarse sand paper and then finish? Any advice is appreciated. The plane is like 3 hours old so i can return it.
 

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return the electric plane.... That's used more for doors, cabinets etc where you need to shave a small portion off due to an uneven surface like a wall, floor etc fit them... You would be better off spending your money on a orbital sander and a belt sander....

I don't mean to be offensive, but your joints are pretty bad.... How did you join the pieces of wood together? I would recommend dowels or biscuits. You can get a dowel jig really inexpensive and it works great.

Here is where I would start...

Grizzly G1874 Improved Dowel Jig - Amazon.com

It centers it in the piece of wood and makes it pretty darn simple to join boards together.

Here is a video on its use.



If you can give more info on how you joined the top together we could help give you advice on how you can improve your current process.
 

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I dont take offense, i am new and know that i am not good yet. If i was good just starting out this wouldnt be any fun. I used a kreg jig and pocket hole screws. They are not all connected though, i found that if i joined all 5 together that the middle one bowed really bad.
 

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Construction lumber is not the best stock. It may start out flat but frequently warps/bows/cracks as it dries out. Highly likely that the moisture content is higher than your shop/home environment.

Ideally you would start with better stock.

I agree the electric planer will cause more issues than it can solve. Not a good tool to attempt to flatten a top. You will get all sorts of ridges and be more uneven. Hand planes would be better.

If you want a power tool option, making a sled for a router would give a better result than an electric planer.

Just be aware, if the wood has not reached moisture equilibrium, it will continue to loose moisture and potentially move/warp some more.

You could try ripping the wide boards into narrower strips. They will also likely warp and twist, but you have better chance of trying to straighten/flatten narrow strips.
 

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You might first start with creating a flat straight edge for the boards that will mate. You could use a straight section of any substrate, i.e., even ¼" plywood if the factory edge is straight. Tack nail in at least three places with a small finish nail, like 4D. Overhang one long edge to allow the substrate to ride on the fence. Make your cut to the other edge. Now you have one straight edge. You could turn the board around, remove the plywood, and straight cut the other edge.

It would help if the face that rides on the table for this procedure was flat. Do not use pocket screws, dowels or biscuits...just glue, cauls and clamps.




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Hi guys, new here and just posted an introduction. I am new to woodworking and have made a small sofa end table. I know its not great, i am just starting out. I shop for lumber at lowes and have a hard time finding good stock to pick from, and sometimes even when my cuts are accurate, i notice that the table top is not flush with one another. I know that the stock isnt uniform, i am just curious how i can make this more presentable and flat so that when i put things on it it doesnt look ghetto. I bought a Porter cable electric hand plane and took a pretty nasty gouge out of the wood at the end of the board on some scrap, is that the best way? or a good orbital sander and start with coarse sand paper and then finish? Any advice is appreciated. The plane is like 3 hours old so i can return it.
TexasAngler,
what tools and machinery do you have in your garage ?
These fellas have good advice ,
but to follow it you have to have all the gear and know how to use it .

When practising with the electric hand plane , start with the blade retracted , (front base lower that the back one ) and take gentle sweeps along the timber , lowering the blade a fraction each time until it makes contact with the timber
The game is to see if you can take the fluffiest stuff that you have ever seen coming the wood . When you can do that , lower the blade a fraction more and take off flakes . Lower it again for bigger shavings . Continue in that vein a number of sweeps each time .
When the shavings are getting to look like woodchips , wind the blade back in to shavings depth .
Get in a reasonable bit of practice , keep your weight on the front tote , try to avoid lines and ridges , use the Vee in the base plate to arris an edge , round off another edge , plane some endgrain to see why we don't do it all that often .
Have a good play , its the best way to learn
 

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a plank door build, the same as your table

Look in this thread to see what I did to make a plank door from construction 2 X 10's. The process is the same for your table top.

The edges must be straight and square to the face or you will have gaps when you try to glue them up. IF the wood is not acclimated to your shop air ...it should be by now, it will warp and cup.

You can have a "rustic" look with some minor gaps or a finished look with perfect glue joints, that's up to you. I used both a jointer plane, scrub plane (rounded blade) and a power hand plane. I have some experience with the power plane and use it to remove a majority of the wood that is raised above the surface. I checked it across the width with a good straight edge frequently.

Here's the thread: http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/door-build-2-xs-1-4-ply-55717/
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I appreciate the help guys. So no pocket holes at all on the top? Just glue? I am just starting so just have the basics miter saw circular, several speed squares and framing squares, impact driver drill but no real machines. Just trying to do the most with what I have at my disposal. I thought the Kreg jig would come in handy for this. Basically my girlfriend wanted this and found an Ana white plan that I followed. Sure looks a helluva lot better on the computer than in my garage haha
 

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The Rustic X End Table ?

With the tools you have and using timber straight from the Supplier , you have done a fine job .
It will look fine when the surface coat is on it
As you kit up with more tools , and with what you learn as you go along , your next one will be even better .

I see that you laid out the top planks with the timber rings all the same way , curving up .
On your next piece , alternate them .
We know that timber will move over time , and generally the way that it moves in relation to those rings is way from the heart of the tree.
It is better to have a table top develop an ever so slight rippling , than to roll itself up into a log .
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes the rustic X end table! Thanks manuka, i appreciate the kind words. And alternating the boards is a great idea. I am young and never had anyone teach me these things, so even the basic things i dont know. hard to learn to build via youtube, but thats why its challenging and fun. but i like to learn and i really do appreciate the feedback and help on here.
 

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So, I happened to be making some floating shelves last night and decided I would record a series of videos about my process of joining 2x4's. This may help?

 
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