Best way to go about flattening/smoothing a maple bench top?

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Forum topic by fas0latid0 posted 03-22-2012 01:34 AM 1485 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 3290 days

03-22-2012 01:34 AM

I have a workbench in the works, I need to finish the leg supports and flatten one side of a maple bowling alley lane which I received for free. What is the best way to go about planing it? I have a Lee Valley LA jack with a 50 degree iron which I plan to use on it, I’m just wondering whats the best method to getting a nice even surface.

4 replies so far

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 3661 days

#1 posted 03-22-2012 02:04 AM

I have done this and I believe you can search on youtube for video. I go across grain evenly down the entire legnth, then at a 45 degree from one of the top corner, then 45 degrees from opposite top right corner, then finally with the grain. then measure with a straight edge and repeat if needed.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17242 posts in 3633 days

#2 posted 03-22-2012 02:58 AM

^What Sam said will work great. Check for flat often!

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

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 3399 days

#3 posted 03-22-2012 09:14 AM

I would add that you want to do this with simply a sharp blade in your longest plane. And Once you get it flat, leave it. Even if there is a bit of tear out here or there…If you start going after those spots with a smoothing plane or card scraper, you’ve just ruined your flatness.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View thebenchdogs's profile


9 posts in 3281 days

#4 posted 03-22-2012 02:03 PM

I made a new bench last year, and to flatten the bench, I did as other members stated, by using my #8 joiner plane, and going across the grain at an angle. You want to continue to check for flatness, and make certain you have a good straightedge. It took me some time to get the entire top flat, but you want your bench top to be flat as possible. I probably need to flatten some high spots that developed since last year, but that is the method I use. Make sure your plane blades are razor sharp. Good luck.

-- Scott

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