Squaring lumber

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Forum topic by RickM posted 02-15-2008 05:41 AM 3716 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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27 posts in 4282 days

02-15-2008 05:41 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I know this is an old topic but forgive me as it is still new to me. I have been wood working for a few years but money consraints have limited the accessability (and spelling know how) to good wood. I have always used dimensional lumber but all that is starting to change and now I own a planer. Granted the planer is a cheap 12” Delta but I love having a planer even a cheap one. Here is my difficulty – I own a 4” Shopsmith jointer so it can onlt edge and do not have any good hand planes except one 6” block plane nor have I ever learned to use, set, or sharpen. How do I square a board or take a twist out of one. I was trying to remove a twist in a 1X12 piece of pine that the right back corner was lifted about an 1/8”. I ran it through the planer and took thin bites and ended up with a cleaner, thinner board with about a 1/8” lift in the back right corner. Any help would be greatly appreciated you guys here are a fountain of knowledge for us guys/gals that are self taught.



-- RickM

7 replies so far

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4385 days

#1 posted 02-15-2008 05:48 AM

Build a sled to run through the planer. Put the twisted board on the sled and shim the spots where the board lifts off the sled. That way the planer’s feed rollers can’t push the board flat as it goes through. Once the top side is flat you can flip it over and send it through the planer without the sled.

-- -- --

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4499 days

#2 posted 02-15-2008 05:53 AM

If your board is not too long, say under 4 ft, you can use a planer sled.
It’s basically a flat board with a lip sticking up on the leading end. This will keep the planer
from feeding your board and leaving the sled behind.

Place your board to be planer on the sled and then slide a small wedge(s) under the board to stabilize it.
Then run it through the planer. That should get you one flat side. Flip it over and plane it as you normally would.

If you are worried about your wedges falling out you can temporarly hot glue them.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4333 days

#3 posted 02-15-2008 01:25 PM

Ditto to the above posts but I use a slightly different method. I use an mdf sled and put small screws (just make sure they don’t go through the sled) into the sled to level the board and keep it from rocking. I put 1/2” cleats at the front and back of the board to hold it on the sled and take small 1/64” passes until this side is flat. Then, as Gary and Peter said, flip it over and finish planing the back side of the board.

To be honest I prefer using my 6” jointer to flatten my rough stock but I am limited to boards that are less than 6”.

Hope this helps.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View TampaTom's profile


74 posts in 4264 days

#4 posted 02-15-2008 04:48 PM

One day, I had the same kind of problem – wide boards that had to be face planed before thickness planing. After just about loading the boards back in the van and taking them to a cabinet shop, I decided to give it a whirl with an old hand plane I had scored off eBay. Surprisingly, the job went very smoothly and the board was absolutely true.

Some outstanding hand planes can be picked up on eBay for a song, and the beauty is that you are not limited to a particular width (of course, you do have to run the board through a thickness planer to get it to the right thickness… so 12 inches might be your max for a suitcase-style model).

I posted instructions on how to face plane over at my blog – you can see the instructions at

And, yes I can face plane a decent sized maple or oak board in about 5 minutes a side… real easy stuff to do and master.

Hope this helps…

-- Tom's Workbench -

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

470 posts in 4479 days

#5 posted 02-19-2008 03:41 PM

Here is an article that uses handplanes:

Regards from Perth


-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at

View TampaTom's profile


74 posts in 4264 days

#6 posted 02-19-2008 05:01 PM

This morning, I finished the tutorial on how to edge plane with hand planes. You can see both face and edge planing techniques on my blog.

-- Tom's Workbench -

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4473 days

#7 posted 02-19-2008 05:08 PM

Hand planes work well. Make sure they are sharp.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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