Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Planing Rough Lumber

The beams have been resting for a while, and I figured it would be good to flatten out 2 sides, so they could be on the bed of whatever cutting machine I decide to use. I will then use the sawn portions facing up, and the rough planed sides will be next to each other. Since I have two 7' pieces, that's 4 sides I need to do. Furthermore, to ensure the top is at the maximum thickness, the side I have to plane is really rough(the beams aren't square). In the end, this will give me a top 20" wide by 3" thick by around 78" long. I've done two sides, and it takes about 45 minutes for each side. There's probably an easier way, but this is all I could come up with.

For photographic purpuses, I will start on a new side, and only work on the first 2'.

To plane, I set the beams on saw horses. I nailed two small nails into the horses, and clipped their heads off. These grab the work.First, I begin with my block plane and take off the extreme high spots.Then when I can, I move to my jack plane. At first I had a blade ground straight, but it became horribly chipped after a while. I took this opportunity to give the blade a large camber.More work.
And finish with a jointer plane. I know that there will be some low spots, but I can live with that, since this won't be the top.

Prior to planing, I made sure to remove all the nails, and unsurprisingly, I found cut nails, which was kinda cool.

My advice to someone making a bench, is that it's worth the extra money to get lumber in better shape, even if it's just construction lumber. Also if you don't already know it, Shannon Rogers is building a roubo bench as well(a lot nicer than mine), over at his podcast The Renaissance Woodworker and Jameel Abraham has built an excellent bench, and documented it all at his blog. (And of course I can't leave out the author a great book on workbenches, Chris Schwarz at his many blogs, Lost Art Press, and Woodworking Magazine. His blogs provide an abundance of links, and information on benches.)

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