mickkiller

How could i flatten my table top?

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i made a table top for a coffee table im making and for some reason during the glue up, my table top decided to cup so it has high corners and a low middle. i have a deadline for this project so i just thought id find some way to ask some people who might actually be able to give me some knowledgeable advice. should i go at the top with a hand plane or should i just sand all high parts down to the best of my ability. bear in mind ripping the boards isnt really an option and i just need to do something kind of fast to flatten it out. i appreciate any advice in advance. 

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How wide is the top? If there is a saw mill or commercial wood shop nearby they usually have a planer that will accept as much as 36” width.For a small fee they may run the top through their planer for you. Otherwise, break out the fore and jack planes.

 

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7 minutes ago, 4square said:

How wide is the top? If there is a saw mill or commercial wood shop nearby they usually have a planer that will accept as much as 36” width.For a small fee they may run the top through their planer for you. Otherwise, break out the fore and jack planes.

 

I have to do it Myself, other people are not an option as it's a school thing but what exactly Is a fore and is sanding not an option? Thanks for the quick response btw

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I think you have options that depend on your tools, skills, and budget.

Flattening with hand planes and sanding

Router sled

Drum sander - If you don't have one, a local cabinet shop probably will.  Another option here is to see if there's a forum member near you that would help you with their drum sander.

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A fore plane is usually considered between a jack and a jointer plane, a no. 6 in the old Stanley system. If the cup isn’t to bad, a jack plane (no 5) will do the job, followed by sanding. Have a straight edge handy and check your work frequently. It won’t take long. Good luck. 

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I like the idea of using a plane and I'd love to do it. Would I be safer using a no.7 because of the long base? Keeping it real flat or is the no.5 like the go to. Just to be extra safe, must the blades be razor sharp or is just a decent sharp blade suitable. Just wondering if I'm going to have to seek stones for the blades. Thanks again.

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A cup means that you also have a high middle and low sides on the underside. Are you just shooting for the topside? Where are you located?

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I'm going to try and flatten both sides best I can. Dimensions are 1500mm × 580mm × 20mm. I'm Irish and I'm a student so I'm going by what my classroom has available to me. Planes are plentiful and so is Sanding equipment

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Well Ireland is a bit far for you to bring your top by my shop in Atlanta to run it through the drum sander ....... but you would be welcome to do so.

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Perfect opportunity to get your feet wet with hand planes. I'd suggest starting with a jointer plane, or a low angle Jack plane. Make sure the blade is razor sharp. Even with very little planning experience, you can do this!

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The fastest and most foolproof way to flatten the top is to kerf it on the underside.  Said kerfs would number about six or eight; in depth they would be about two thirds of the thickness of the top.  The kerfs would stop an inch or two or three from each end.  Based on the notion that you have planned ahead to secure the top to the understructure, you might have to locate the kerfs accordingly to accommodate your fasteners. 

Depending upon the size and shape of the top, tools available to you, and your skill level the actual kerfing can be done with a router, a table saw, or even a skil saw.  The idea of using multiple kerfs is to allow some of the flattening to incrementally take place over as much of the width as possible.  This helps avoid a wavy top and/or fractures of the top itself.........

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Just noticed and agree. Change it to continue to play, although I can’t enforce it but out of respect, knowing there was no harm intended. 

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36 minutes ago, Mick S said:

Good advice here, but I have to say - not too fond of your moniker. Probably just being sensitive. :P

Can't say as I blame you Mick, but what can you expect from the younger crowd.  No sensitivity.

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Here are a couple of "flattening" videos from The Wood Whisperer site.  A more dilligent search of the site might turn up others.  

If you go with hand tools you do need sharp blades and a method to re-sharpen.  

https://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/videos/milling-wide-boards/

https://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/videos/flattening-workbenches-and-wide-boards-with-a-router/

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Plenty of good advice from the folks here.  I'd add that you might want to consult with your instructor.  He/she may have a preferred way for you to address the problem, and, more importantly may be able to help you figure out why the problem occurred, so you can avoid it in the future.

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My question: are you sure the wood is in a stable condition, in term of humidity  ?

If not, you will work to make it flat, to have it cup or twist again.

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