Trestle Table #15: Flatten Table Top

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Blog entry by HappyHowie posted 09-29-2016 03:17 AM 1154 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: Scrap Test of Mortise and Tenon Joint Part 15 of Trestle Table series Part 16: More JIGs Made for Building Trestle Table »

It has been about a week since I glued my cherry hardwood table top together. As you might remember if you have followed my blog, I also make clamping cauls that I used during the top glue up. Even though I used these cambered cauls I still had some ridges at the jointed edges. I intended to use only my #6 bench plane and my #4 smoother to flatten both sides of my table top. I began that process and quickly wished that I owned a low angle jack plane. I was tempted. What I did do was to sharpen the plane’s blade. I have a granite slab that I bought early in my woodworking experience. I use many grits of sandpaper and a Veritas Mark II Honing Guide. I have experimented with DMT Duo sharpening stone and DMT diamond Whetstones. In addition, I bought a Grizzly wet grinder and have used Tormek sharpening jigs or tools. For this task I used only my sandpaper methodology that graduated to 2,000 grit.

I have not perfected any of these methods. I know. Practice with one or all method will lead to better results. However, I have watched many videos of what others are using. I am tempted to make an investment into Rob Cosman's Sharpening Kit that is sold at Woodcraft. I have closely watched and analyzed Shapton glass stones. The flatting stone is what is most costly. I notice now that Rob Cosman uses a Trend workshop stone to flatten his Shapton’s. I have not only watched his videos, but recently I have also seen him demonstrate his sharpening technique live at my local Woodcraft’s new store opening event. This kit contains the following:

1) Trend Classic Professional 8” Double-Sided Diamond Workshop Stone (#852975),
2) a Shapton Glass Stone 16,000 Grit 5mm (#834946),
3) a Shapton Stone Holder (#839778),
3) a bottle of HoneRite Gold, 250ml (#152586), and
4) Rob’s Angle Trainer (#150879).

- See more at:

I had already taken Rob’s advice by using HoneRite on my DMT stones. His kit costs nearly $500 so that will delay my purchase. Maybe I will take more time to practice my existing methods to see if I can perfect those methods first.

While planing my table’s surfaces I had some troubles of causing some scratches. I suspect they may be coming from my plane’s base edges or somewhere on its surface instead of my blade. I have a good magnifying lens, but I didn’t use it to inspect the plane. I simply used my old, aging eyes and did not discover any problem.

What I determined what I would do was this: I would sand those scratches out by using my 21 inch Porter Cable belt sander. I know how to move it over a table’s surface so I do not “dig” the sandpaper in the surface and make tracks. I loaded a new 120 grit belt in the sander, put my respirator mask and hearing protection on and began the work. When I completed this task, I ended my work for the day by blowing out all the fine dust from my shop. My leaf blower does a good job with that.

They next day, I sharpened two card scrappers. I have had a hard time learning a method to sharpen this tool so I can get good wispy shavings. A while back I bought a Veritas variable burnishing tool and holder. Today I got good results with my card scrapper, finally.

These photograph demonstrate the results I achieved on this small cherry table top. I am pleased well enough with the results.

Next I will turn my attention to cutting my mortises and tenons for the trestle table’s leg assemblies.

As you may know by following my blog entries, I have made the plunge router jigs and have practiced the routing methods using the guide bushings. Plus I have made spacers to cut my tenons on my table saw.

The double saw blade method that I was using on my old table saw by following a method I had adopted from a Woodworker Journal article, I had to abandon. My new Saw Stop table saw will not allow a double 10 inch blade to be used with their safety brake system. I never got a reply from the email message I sent to their customer or technical support. I wasn’t surprised by that. My questions were blunt but fair and straight forward, I think. The expected answers I wanted is most likely further than their marketing guys would want to tread. So be it. I bought the saw for its safety measures, I might as well adhere to their methods although a new brake could be designed and sold, I’m sure, that could accommodate a twin blade joinery method.

-- --- Happy Howie

3 comments so far

View HappyHowie's profile


473 posts in 2552 days

#1 posted 09-30-2016 04:33 PM

This morning I did revisit my #6 Wood River bench plane. I inspected it under my magnifying glass. I did notice some nicks or dents in the front and side edges of my plane. I took my mill file and worked those nicks out. I also inspected my blake and chip breaker under magnification. I noticed that the front tips were slightly out of line; their edges were out of line very slightly. I adjusted it.

Now I am ready to test m plane with a piece of hardwood scrap.

I am now thinking I need a plane till to mount on my tool wall. I need a better way to storage and take care of these planes so I do not dent or nick their edges.

-- --- Happy Howie

View bobasaurus's profile


3618 posts in 3791 days

#2 posted 09-30-2016 10:24 PM

I also sharpen with Rob’s method. The price of that kit is ridiculous. I bought my shapton pro stones from chef knives to go:

You only really need a coarse-ish diamond plate (I use the Trend, but it rusts easy even with honerite so I would prefer DMT or Atoma), and the 15k shapton stone. More stones are only useful if you want to lap large areas, but the ruler trick makes this unnecessary. Use the diamond plate to flatten the stone. When sharpening, use the diamond stone to do the initial (“secondary”) bevel until you feel the burr, then switch to the 15k and raise the angle to get the final (“tertiary”) bevel, then a few strokes on the back to remove any remaining burr (possibly using the ruler trick).

I keep them down on the bench with a rubber anti-slip mat, and I freehand the bevels (which is pretty easy after a bit of practice).

Looks like your current method is working well, though. I love the WR No. 6.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View HappyHowie's profile


473 posts in 2552 days

#3 posted 10-01-2016 04:33 PM

Bob, I appreciate your comment and suggestions very much. I will try adopting your adaptation of Cosman’s method. I need something to work better…

I will look into a coarse DMT stone for flattening the Shapton’s. I already own a bottle of HoneRite. I need a small spray bottle to empty the can into. I noticed that William Ng uses a 1,000 grit whetstone to initialize most of his sharpening needs. I will buy a 1,000 Shapton glass stone along with a 16,000 stone. I will see how that goes. If I think an in between grit is needed, maybe I will add an 8,000 stone. Thanks, Bob. You made great suggestions to help me.

My Wood River #6 is my goto plane.

Yesterday, while inspecting and tuning up my bench planes I discovered that my #4 tote was cracked. I wrote to Woodcraft support asking if they had a template that I could use in order to make a new handle. Their reply was: no. Kyle who answered me also did not know if the Lee Valley template would be universal so it may not fit my Wood River plane. That was disappointing news. I would assume it would be close but the angle and depth of the counterbore may be different for the long bolt holding the long part of the handle to the plane’s base. I will call my local Woodcraft to see if I could purchase an already made tote for this #4 that I enjoy. This been a wake up call to me. Veritas and Lie-Nielsen planes have suddenly looked like a better value from here on out.

Recently, I have been thinking about buying a Veritas or Lie-Nielsen low-angle jack plane with one or two additional beveled blades so I can have a high angled plane in my shop. I have read that if woodworkers want to follow tradition then Lie-Nielsen planes fulfill that vein. Innovation tips to Veritas. They are probably both world-class plane manufacturers with great customer and technical support.

With a highly figured walnut table top last year, I had a very difficult time planing its top. I was getting a lot of tearout. At a recent local Woodcraft store opening event Rob Cosman was here. I asked him about my issue. His answer always seems to be to sharpen the blade to a higher grit. If I recall he was suggesting a 16,000 Shapton glass stone. Gee… It would seem that a higher angled blade maybe another good alternative, but I did not think to ask him about that. A good bevel up jack plane may be a great alternative for me since I do not desire to own a huge display of bench planes…

I visited your home page where I learned you are an engineer with NOAA. That must be interesting and enjoyable work for you. I R One too, EE; or was. I have enjoyed watching William Ng’s woodworking tips. He gives his mathematical and engineering slat in his videos. I enjoy that approach and can relate to it as well as his dry sense of humor.

Thank you very much for your comments… Best wishes. Always, Happy Howie.

-- --- Happy Howie

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