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How to sand a panel flat

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Forum topic by Travis posted 01-25-2019 06:28 PM 962 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Travis

244 posts in 153 days


01-25-2019 06:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: flattening question sanding

Hi all,

This is probably only a difficult question (for me) because of my rudimentary equipment. Lacking a jointer, planer, belt sander, or even hand planes, flattening is a challenge.

I recently glued up some 6/4 walnut planks for a side table top. It is a hexagon shape, roughly 2’ x 2’. Naturally, the resulting panel is not flat. The ridges in between planks (glue line) are minimal, I’m not worried about those. It is not visibly warped, but it wobbles if I set it down on a flat surface. Given its size, and my rudimentary tools, what are some options for trying to flatten this thing?

I’ve read some suggestions to adhere a sheet of sandpaper to a flat surface and rub the project piece over that, but it seemed most people only recommended that for smaller pieces. I’m not sure that would work for a panel this size. I could lay out multiple strips of sandpaper…. Any experiences?

I should add that I do have a ROS and obviously can hand sand.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.


31 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

5742 posts in 2107 days


#1 posted 01-25-2019 06:36 PM

It sounds like to me the lowest price of entry in to equipment that would make this reasonably easy vs. using only a ROS or sanding the whole thing by hand would be a belt sander. You can usually get an ok one used for <$100 and a decent new one for <$200. If you anticipate doing any more work that will require flattening panels it could be very worth while.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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Travis

244 posts in 153 days


#2 posted 01-25-2019 07:31 PM

I’m sure a belt sander would be faster. I’m hoping to not add equipment for this particular project so I would prefer to be able to do it with things I have on hand. But that might not be possible.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16124 posts in 3004 days


#3 posted 01-25-2019 07:47 PM

A 2’ straight edge, a ROS, and patience can get you there.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

9487 posts in 1525 days


#4 posted 01-25-2019 08:08 PM

Yeah, you can do it with just a ROS and hand sanding. But, I’m glad I ain’t doing it! ;-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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Travis

244 posts in 153 days


#5 posted 01-25-2019 08:17 PM

Haha, so I gather it won’t be quick, I can handle that. Fortunately it’s not a full size top.

I assume I should start with the flattest side down, get the bumpier top pretty flat and then flip over. Flatten with a rougher grit (like 80), then move on to higher grits once the main flattening is accomplished?

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Steve's profile

Steve

1270 posts in 969 days


#6 posted 01-25-2019 09:04 PM

when you lay it flat, how much does it sit up on the opposite side?

View JayT's profile (online now)

JayT

6204 posts in 2597 days


#7 posted 01-25-2019 09:09 PM

How about finding a cabinet shop or someone else in your area with a wide belt sander and have them flatten it for you? Whatever you would have to pay would probably be less than the amount of time and sandpaper you’d go through.

-- https://www.jtplaneworks.com - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

6067 posts in 1099 days


#8 posted 01-25-2019 09:26 PM

most shops in my area are $1.00 per minite well worth it to me :<))))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1908 posts in 990 days


#9 posted 01-25-2019 09:27 PM



How about finding a cabinet shop or someone else in your area with a wide belt sander and have them flatten it for you? Whatever you would have to pay would probably be less than the amount of time and sandpaper you d go through.

- JayT


+1 That’s a 10min job at a hardwood dealer or cabinet shop.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5275 posts in 2695 days


#10 posted 01-25-2019 10:24 PM

May be time to build one the those Do hickey thingamabob router sleds. Get in flat and then finish sand

Lot of videos on YouTube on building a router sled.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Travis's profile

Travis

244 posts in 153 days


#11 posted 01-26-2019 03:22 AM

Hmm, I do have a router, I have never seen the flattening jig. Might be time indeed. My hardwood dealer charges a $90 minumum for machine use if I recall correctly. I’ll do that for a full table top I want pristine, but not this little side table. I don’t know about local cabinet makers, I could check.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View exslidder's profile

exslidder

31 posts in 453 days


#12 posted 01-26-2019 03:40 AM

Here is a picture of my flattening jig that i use to flatten slabs for the coffee tables that i make. Its really easy to build and works great. i watched several youtube videos and tried to pic the best features of all. i have a one inch bit that i use for flattening and can do a 4 ’ slab one side in about 20 min more or less depending on how warped.

-- No dust on the floor....No money in the bank

View Travis's profile

Travis

244 posts in 153 days


#13 posted 01-26-2019 03:44 AM

Mmm, definitely should look into one of those!

Here is a pic of my top lying flat so you can see the amt of gap on the ends that need to be flattened.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Logboy's profile

Logboy

75 posts in 3616 days


#14 posted 01-26-2019 04:10 AM

A Timesaver will get you closer, but not perfect. Much like a planer, a widebelt sander is only designed for surfacing, not flattening. To truly get it flat will require a CNC router or router sled. If that thing is twisted, it will still be twisted after the Timesaver, it will just be smooth and twisted. My timesaver will only take out warping if its even from side to side and not twisted. If its twisted it goes on the CNC router. FYI, youre going to be there all day trying to sand off an 1/8” of wood with a hand sander. Can you cut it apart and fix it?

View Mainboom's profile

Mainboom

90 posts in 144 days


#15 posted 01-26-2019 04:17 AM

id use the router and make the jig but you will have to buy the right bit. And I cant think of which one it is off the top of my head. OR you can go to a big box lumber store and buy a hand plane and plane it down flat. you should be able to buy a number 7 im just thinking ones I have recently seen at my lumber store. anyhow you can plane it down a lot faster then you would ever be able to sand it. plus if you set the plane right you will have minimal sanding in the end. and you will save money because you are gonna spend 50 bucks on sand paper and like 15 on a cheap jack plane. plus you get a new tool out of it. then u can buy some card scrapers and scrap it after you plane it and sand even less but buy a burnisher and stone see look at me help you spent money… honeslty you can get away with a cheap plane without having to sharpen it for what you have to do. just don’t buy a block plane get a jackplane or a scrub plane. I did a 14inch by 10ft counter top with a number 7 just for fun. but I had already jointed and run it through a plane. so I only had to plane about 3 inches of the 14

Edit…I just remembered the wood whisperer has a great video on.using the router.its in the video where he is building his roubo bench so check his website out. It explains it perfectly

-- CRANE OPERATORS START EARLY because iron workers need their heros ready when they wake up

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