flattening a table top

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Review by Andy Block posted 05-06-2015 05:57 AM 7106 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
flattening a table top flattening a table top flattening a table top Click the pictures to enlarge them

A young friend of mine works in lumber sales and had been setting aside some nicely figured maple for me. When he delivered it I asked him what he and his new wife would like made for them. After consulting with a higher authority he said a coffee table, which was perfect as that was about as far as the wood would go.

After doing the glue up I was having a tough time getting the table top flat as each board seemed to have developed a mind of it’s own. I went to visit a local tool dealer that handles Lie-Nielsen and he recommended the #62. The trick he said is to use a blade with serrated edge and plane across the grain. It took a whole day of planing to get it flat, and the plane’s performance was excellent.

My young friend and his lovely wife really like this unique one of a kind table.

-- [email protected]

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Andy Block

12 posts in 2773 days

9 comments so far

View bobasaurus's profile


3747 posts in 4636 days

#1 posted 05-06-2015 04:39 PM

That is a nice table, and the plane looks really nice. I have the LV version, and I find myself using it more and more. Did you start with a toothed blade then finish with a fine blade? What bevel angles did you use?

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 3322 days

#2 posted 05-06-2015 05:48 PM

This is a fantastic plane. It was my first big woodworking purchase, and remains my biggest investment. I’m a hand-tool only guy working from the kitchen table in an apartment, and I use it for smoothing, milling, end grain, shooting boards etc. The A2 blade is superb, it’s just a bit tough for hand tool sharpening, and the lack of a lateral adjustment (limited tapping) makes it very important to sharpen square to the sides (as I recently learned). But overall it’s the foundation of my woodworking.

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View iminmyshop's profile


409 posts in 3445 days

#3 posted 05-07-2015 03:13 AM

The Lie-Nielsen #62 is a terrific plane. With a few extra blades it can take the place of several planes. Get several blades and sharpen them at different angles:
25 degree blade – regular wood
33 degree works great on face grain
43 degree blade is amazing on highly figured wood.
And you have already discovered how well the serrated blade can quickly remove large amounts of wood when needed.

The Lie-Nielsen #62 outfitted as above and a small Lie-Nielsen bevel up block plane are the planes I use about 95% of the time.

More detailed information can be found in Fine Woodworking Magazine Jan/Feb 2011


View soob's profile


271 posts in 2660 days

#4 posted 05-07-2015 04:07 AM

I dunno, if it took a whole day to plane a coffee table maybe you ought to try a more aggressive cut.

It came out great, though. Just beautiful.

View Andy Block's profile

Andy Block

12 posts in 2773 days

#5 posted 05-07-2015 05:15 AM

Thanks for your compliments and feedback on the coffee table. Much appreciated. There were a few questions/ comments.

One was – planning all day – perhaps I could have used a more aggressive cut, which is probably true. I was concerned that I might rip up the wood. It has been my experience that being too aggressive with a plane or power tools can create other problems, which can be pretty ugly at times. A traditional woodworker teacher of mine who is a Krenov-trained protégé once said to me, ‘you are a weekend woodworker doing it for enjoyment, so what’s the rush. Don’t force it, take your time, it’s far more enjoyable and the results are usually better.’ I still want to thank for the suggestion and next time I will give the wheel another turn and see how the cut sounds and feels.

After I flattened it with the #62 serrated blade I went right to a sander. Again which is not something I would usually do. While I was purchasing the 62 I got to talking about sanders with the sales person. I was very frustrated with the recent Dewalt and Mikita palm sanders that I had been using for several years as they performed poorly and did not stand-up well. In fairness to Mikita my old palm sander was stellar. The sales person demonstrated a Mirka sanding system which includes a vacuum attachment and the abrasive is a mesh. There is no dust and it is quiet enough that you don’t need ear protection. It works marvelously and finished the job nicely..

Thanks for the comments on the blades. I do have a number hanging behind my plane rack and will consider increasing the number of angles. Great suggestion.

-- [email protected]

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4640 days

#6 posted 05-07-2015 11:06 PM

I think its great and I would ignore that comment about taking all day. Your spot on with not rushing, destroying or having to fix a major tear-out on this speical wood. Great tool and Thx for sharing.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View soob's profile


271 posts in 2660 days

#7 posted 05-09-2015 04:38 PM

I wasn’t trying to be demeaning, and I don’t have a problem with taking your time. It’s just that that’s a versatile plane, and it sounds like the OP could benefit from studying up on the different ways it can be used.

View Andy Block's profile

Andy Block

12 posts in 2773 days

#8 posted 05-13-2015 05:59 AM

I didn’t take your comment as demeaning. In fact , I have applied your suggestion already and am turning the wheel a little more to take some coarser shavings on some projects and it is working well. So once again, thank you for the suggestion.

-- [email protected]

View bonobo's profile


341 posts in 3508 days

#9 posted 05-17-2015 01:23 PM

I have the LV version of this plane and tried a toothed blade when I needed to flatten some wide walnut boards for a large cabinet I was building. It worked well but it was an awful lot of work pushing such a wide, flat blade.

I eventually put a tighter radiused camber on my Stanley #5 and it worked perfectly. A very narrow, dished blade is much easier to push through squirrelly hard wood, especially if you take a light cut. Then, when the general flattening is finished, you can finesse the results using the serrated blade on the low angle jack. For finishing, you can get nice results if you put a steeper secondary bevel on your regular blade. But again, it’s harder to push a wide steep blade but at least hardest work will have

-- “Don't yet rejoice in his defeat, you men! Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.” —Bertolt Brecht

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