Workbench: Flattening the Top

rough flatteningbig pile of shavingsThe last two boards are on, bringing the width to 24 inches. Flattening is simple; just takes time and 2.3 Snicker bars worth of energy. The big ole No. 7 jointer was set up rank and swept diagonally until all boards were brought to the same thickness. I then set it for fine work and used along the length of the boards to remove the diagonal marks. The heft of the jointer, along with a razor sharp iron and a constantly waxed sole (candle wax), makes it a very effective and enjoyable tool.

whispy shavingsThe No. 3 smoother feels petite in comparison, and was set up for petite, lace like, finish work.

The keen observer might find some strange holes in those last two boards. No, they’re not for holdfasts. Those boards each had a few dead knots in them, the kinds surrounded with a black ring of bark where the tree grew up around dead branches. Those kinds of knots tend to be loose, and in boatbuilding they must be removed and plugged lest they become unplanned drain holes. Here, I just knocked them out and left them unplugged. Made planing easier.

It turns out to be exactly what I expected. Al Navas would want better, but this is perfect for its intended use and a good bit better than what I’ve seen in many boat shops.

One Response to “Workbench: Flattening the Top”

  1. Al Navas Says:


    In one word: TERRIFIC!!!

    I had to grin to see my name mentioned – you *did* read my blog entry on flattening my bench :-) !

    I do tend to overdo things a bit, but in my case, without room for a torsion box assembly table, I had to go to the extreme to have the bench do double duty.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful work!