Why Didn't I think Of This, Before

Little by little, I've been hand planing the walnut slabs. It's been reall y tough going. The rough chain-sawed faces are really out of level/flatnes s, with many gouges, some areas 1/2", or more, difference. Switching sides or approach, for the cuts, because of grain direction, making many shallow cuts, etc. is making for lots of work and my arms working overtime. I've probably spent 15 hours hand planing these slabs and I may be only half don e. At least I was smart enough to move from the hot sun, behind the shop, into the shade of an oak tree.
My initial idea was to make this table as much by hand, as possible, but my energy level and stamina have really been taxed, especially in this heat, so....
I have an idea: Why not make a sled and use the router to do the initial s moothening and leveling of the rough faces. In theory, this should go much faster, than hand planing, at least to get the faces into their most flat surface. A one track sled, spanning the whole slab, and just spin the sled and rout a path, until the whole face is "planed" to the same level.
Do you think this is a better, reasonable approach? Comments, advice, reco mmendations, etc. will be appreciated. I've never made a sled/jig or have used a jig for this sort of planing/leveling. I have a variety of straigh t bits, 1/4" to 1".
Another project: Mom gave me her walnut bedroom set, she received as a wed ding gift (1947) from her mother. I've been doing a few minor repairs and will refinish it. It will be given to my nephew's daughter, age 5, who is p resently sleeping in a bunk bed. I need to finish it by August, when they' ll be visiting from out-of-state. I'm anxious to work on this project. I enjoy working on old pieces, as this, especially ones with a family connect ion.
Sonny
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*snip*

*snip*

You may want to bandsaw off pieces to get things closer to flat before starting. The closer to flat you can get before you start with the router, the faster and easier the router portion will be.
Puckdropper
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On Friday, May 23, 2014 9:27:27 AM UTC-5, Puckdropper wrote:

I must have described my situation incorrectly, Puck. At this point, there's no way I could bandsaw these 5" thick, 40" wide slabs. https://www.flickr.com/photos/43836144@N04/13922312659/
BTW, I noticed your redwood trestle table leg units, which design I considered for my table. Don't recall if I had commented, but that work was great.
Sonny
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<snip for brevity>

Saw a woodworking magazine a few months ago that took exactly that approach.
...
Well, it was more than a few months ago - it's Fine Woodworking Dec 2011 - "Shopmade router jig levels big slabs quickly"
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On Friday, May 23, 2014 9:55:07 AM UTC-5, Baxter wrote:

approach.
Well, it was more than a few months ago - it's Fine Woodworking Dec 2011 -

Great lead - http://www.finewoodworking.com/how-to/article/level-big-slabs-in-no-time-flat.aspx
Thanks Sonny
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On Friday, May 23, 2014 10:04:03 AM UTC-5, Sonny wrote:

Here's a good step-by-step video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtkBZHLJyD0

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Also saw this done on YouTube. Don't have the URL, sorry.
I am working a large oak slab now, but I took the easy way out and took it to the lumber yard and has them run it through the wide belt sander. Minutes instead of hours.
Larru
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On Friday, May 23, 2014 10:08:09 AM UTC-5, Gramps' shop wrote:

t to the lumber yard and has them run it through the wide belt sander. Minu tes instead of hours.
Yep. Most of the finish sanding will be done by the local commercial shop. They will do some planing of the table top boards, for me, also. Right now, I need to get the slabs "cleaned up", more flat/level, from the chain saw roughness, before any sanding phase. These slabs must weigh at least 1 50 lbs, each.
Sonny
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Also: http://tinyurl.com/pjjzocd
Pdf: http://tinyurl.com/ogacg8c
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wrote:

That is the only way I'd even DREAM of attacking that job without a big-assed thicknes planer with a backboard and adjustable "bridges". And even if I had the big iron, I think the router would be my first choice. Second choice without the heavy iron would be to attack it bit at a time with a good power plane, but since I've developped a sensitivity to Walnut dust I'll gladly leave the work to you.
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On Friday, May 23, 2014 11:29:51 AM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

It's the hand planing that has been the WORK I'm now wanting to avoid.
Speaking of walnut sensitivity.... When chainsawing the slabs, I wore flip -flops. The green sawdust lodged between the shoes and the tops of my feet , which became sore, fast. I thought the sawdust rubbed my feet raw, but a pparently it was the resin that not only stained my feet, but produced some sort of sensibility reaction. My feet are just now healing.
While hand planing, the green shavings have rubbed the base of my left thum b, where I hold the knob, resulting in a similar skin reaction. I don't t hink this is a rubbing raw (friction) condition. It's an actual skin-to-re sin (chemical) reaction. And each incident has been painful, almost burnin g sensation, on the affected areas.
I've never had this sort of issues with dried walnut.
I'll certainly be cautious about breathing in any dust.
Sonny
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What you propose works well to get the surface level. It won't be real smooth since the router bit is spinning cross grain rather than with it but it will be smooth enough so that sanding will finish the job. For sanding, I use an 8" softpad (think surfboard sanding) on a 1/2" orbital sander/drill. The softpads usually attach with a 5/8" x 13 stud so I use a bushing to 1/2 x20 which will screw directly onto my sander. Use a spray adhesive to attach paper to pad.
For the router bit, use something with the widest bottom possible; something like hinge mortising bits are better (IMO) than straight bits.
For the sled, use something like 2x4s the length of the slab and slightly higher than the highest point on the slab; fasten them together at the ends and/or the bottom; wedge the slab between them. Attach a temporary base plate to the router...ply is fine, needs to span the slab, should be at least 2x the slab width, the other dimension is unimportant.
Now you have the slab in a fixed position and a level surface (the 2x4s) on which you can slide the router with its temporary base plate, to and fro, back & forth.
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Even better, make the sled slide on rails, or boards mounted to the sides of the slabs, so the sled will slide back and forth. I am not sure if we are talking the same thing with the sled, though. I will describe my idea.
Mount a straight 2 by or piece of angle iron on opposite sides of the slab, and parallel to the desired finished surface, but on a stack of 1 by blocks or some other way, so the height of the rails can be lowered by increments. Use plywood long enough to sit on each rail, and cut a slot for the router bit to fit through, say 1 1/2 inch wide, (for a 3/4th inch bit) the whole width of the slab. Put side rails on the plywood for the router base to run against, but make the width 5/8" wider than the router base when using the 3/4" bit. This way you can run a 1 3/8" wide strip on each advance of the guide. Make a story pole and mark out advancement marks on each rail for 1 3/8 advancements per each clamping.
What you just made is a poor man's milling machine. It works. I have straightened badly twisted boards like this before I had a jointer. You can also make something much the same way to use a handheld power planer
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I missed the sense of size. You'll either need a bigger bandsaw or a different solution. ;-)
I might consider a portable planer, but it'd be tough to beat a sled for a router, especially if you've already got the tools.

I'm afraid that wasn't me.

Puckdropper
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I've come to realize how narrow minded I've been, for a long time.
Occasionaly, I've read, here, about some of you planing with a router. I h ad brushed off those threads, since I had no reason for considering or usin g the method. My mindset was limited to routers being used for contouring boards' edges, only, so I dismissed, hence ignored, the concept of planing.
After seeing several videos, I realize how (somewhat) simple planing with a router can be. And I realize how out-of-touch I've been with my limited m indset.
I wonder what other alternate woodworking techniques I'm ignorant of. Long ago, I recall asking about biscuit jointers. After getting info and advic e, I bought one and realized how much easier using them are, compared to (s truggling with, at times) using dowels.... A similar wake-up call, I suppo se, as this router planing realization.
Sonny
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If you're impressed with the use of dowel over the use over biscuits, then you need to investigate the Domino. :)
The Domino puts both those methods to shame.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYW_9MgSp6Q

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