: I am making a bench top 21" deep by 48" wide from 5" wide x 2" thick
: African Mahogany. I'm using biscuits and clamps to align edges of the
: boards, but there is still a very slight uneveness at some places in
: the glued together boards - about 1/32" or so. I don't own a planer
: (although I've considered getting a 13" Dewalt), but would that be the
: recommended way to even out the surface? should I use a hand planer or
: a hand held power planer( (I have a small one of these.) Or would just
: sanding be the best route? I'd rather not mess up the wood - it's
: fairly expensive. I appreciate any insights or advice you can give to
: this relative novice.
There's a variety of things you could do to make the top flat and/or smooth.
1) Use a sharp hand plane, one with a long sole. A handheld
power planer is not going to be able
to give you much of a flat reference surface. This will take a while,
requires some practice, and so on.
2) Take it to a local cabinet shop or hardwood dealer with a large belt sander.
They'll charge you, but they'll be able to sand it evenly (these are stationary
tools, often with a 36" wide belt) in a few minutes, and then you can
finish sand at home.
3) Buy a planer, and feed the top through in two <12" wide pieces. You'll
probably need to joint the edge after this is done, and then glue the two
4) If you own a router, you can carefully attach a temporary fence
to either side of the top. Make very sure the tops of each fence are parallel.
Attach the router to a flat base wide enough to straddle the width of the
top (you'll likely want to reinforce it to eliminate sag). Put a flat-bottom
bit in the router, and run it over every inch of the top, removing
as little wood as necessary. Key here is parallel and straight fences, and a
flat, non-flexing router base.
-- Andy Barss