Here are two options for router bits. Ideally, you want to set the bit at the lowest part of the bench. If you want to use a router for the purposes of flattening, the method demonstrated in the video is your best bet. You confirm this with a pair of sighting boards or using a perfect/corrected spirit level along/across and across both diagonals. He’s flattening slab wood, but the concept is pretty universal and works very well on regular rough cut boards as well. Even the bloggie is collecting dust now since I have a new iPhone. I’ve seen this method used before in other videos and it certainly seems to work well. Unfortunately, this may always be an issue on an end grain surface. I’ll admit that my geometry terminology is sometimes a stretch but if the point is clear, I don’t worry too much about it. A little strain during the first pass but my feed speed was still decent. The router bit I am using: http://amzn.to/1tswZzd [Affiliate link], If you missed my previous post on prototyping this process, you can see that here: Quarter Sawn Split Top Roubo Workbench Slabs As part of the, I wanted aluminum ramps so they’d be lightweight and I bought some vs making them myself because after building this trailer, I just wanted to, To start things off, I’ll make the panel which will become the sides and top. This tip is an exception to the others, but it’s the easiest approach of all if you have a jointer but it’s just an inch or two narrower than your boards. A simpler solution is to use the router to flatten one side of the board. Over 15″, you don’t have as much risk of sag, so there’s a good chance it won’t cause a major issue. Use your tablesaw to rip away the runners and square the edges. Using the sighting boards confirms that it’s not flat – because it’s twisted. Otherwise that could definitely add a lot of error into the mix. It is the levelness of the rails, that is important. Sure do! Fine wood working also has a Video tour of Nick Offerman’s Work Shop. So I have been long overdue for a flattening. I like a more “grippy” surface. Have an oddly-shaped natural edge slab that is just too large for your tools? While some folks truly relish this labor of love, others prefer to delegate this grunt work to power tools. Even after running it through the planer several times before glue up there was still 1 spot lower than the rest. The SD videos are actually whatever our host down-res’s them to but it is something that would generally be best viewed on a mobile device. I attempted to do this. You could always put a fan filter in front of the fan to prevent some of the dust from getting in. I’ve taken it a step further and added bearings to get a bit closer to a CNC style action. I built my bench out of construction grade 2x4s laminated together. The top, however, would still be flat. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. And are the newer ones 16×9 aspect ratio? I just ended up buying Birch plywood and ripping strips on my table saw. Love your tips Marc. I actually make cutting boards for friends and making some sort of jig to install on my bench may save me a lot of time on the wide belt sander. Well the base is shimmed so that essentially nullifies the effect of the uneven floor. Join the Guild today to see the entire set of videos and build your own lifetime workbench! There is a lot of sawdust and wood chips flying around as you rout the wood flat, so a sufficient amount of clearance is a good thing for the router bit. Several months ago I took my ply off and discovered a mess of shrinkage underneath. This would certainly make my laminate 2×4 top more even and the ply would cover the gaps in the 2x4s. As long as you are close at the start of the operation, it probably won’t make a huge difference since your bench top doesn’t need to be dead-on level. Parallel is an appropriate term when viewing the rails from a perpendicular perspective. I think you may need to be an online member to see it but it shows his version of the jig in action. I’m not convinced the string/wire technique will ensure that the board is entirely flat or that it can be used to make a surface flat. All rights reserved. I do believe the rails are perfectly parallel using this method. Use on CNC and other automatic routers as well as hand-held and table-mounted portable routers. Continue machining until the planer flattens the entire top face of the board. If you don’t get a good glue edge, you won’t have a good glue joint. Yeah, over kill if you can just look at the contact point, but I’ve found it difficult to touch the strings and know when they are just kissing without my touch throwing things off. A nifty lesson in woodworking and geometry Marc. great work all the same. If the board is narrow (less than ~3"), I can run it on the freshly-jointed edge through my table saw and flatten and square the face that way. A couple suggestions: If surface finish is important use a bottom clearing bit like the Grizzly C1261 and make narrow (less than half the bit width) climbing passes parallel to the grain. By practicing my technique, you’ll be able to tackle boards that are too wide for your jointer as well as flatten wide boards and tabletops with ease. ok. My current workbench is a large restaurant meat table from a local steak house that closed many years ago. I really appreciated the string/cable method for determining parallelism. It’s interesting to see how far you’ve come since the early days. Well, in this case, the bench top was almost flat and there is almost zero probability of any twist. Marc, I really want to commend you on being very descriptive in your videos. The jig is actually able to reach the edge of the bench and does. With a simple sled and rail set up, and a straight cutting bit, you can transform your router into a board flattening machine. I never claimed this method produces a level surface. Off topic, where do you keep the computer in your shop? Buy two 8 foot lengths of extruded aluminum and screw these to the 8 foot lengths of pine to p provide a perfectly flat, smooth surface for the sled to ride on. Or you can flatten and thickness the opposite face by hand. What brand is that multi fluted bit? The only advice I can offer to people is to probably use a 1/2 router bit as it put too much strain on my 1/4 router bits and snapped 2 bits as a result. Getting started. 4,850,507. These bits come in different diameters, but the smaller ones will require many more passes over the stock to flatten the surface. Years ago I widened my benchtop by splitting it and gluing in more maple (only about 8 inches worth). Your descriptions were enough that I had no questions at the end of this video. It only guarantees that the middle point is in the same level, but lowering one corner can be “fixed” by getting diagonal corner up, ending up with propeller-like twist. Which corner is high? Then attach the rails with a gap between just enough for the router base to fit. That estbalishes a plane that includes the top of the guide rails. I’ll probably use a combination of both of these methods to flatten my bench. The heart of the jig is a trough that guides the router over the workpiece, allowing you to even out the high and low points as much as possible and retain the maximum possible thickness. From the original questioner: I have used the router method in the past, and that has worked well. After all, that’s the method folks traditionally use when hand planing. Using a pair of metal or wooden winding sticks, sight across the top of the sticks to reveal any twist. But ultimately, there is always going to be some extra work on end grain. Thanks Marc, great demo. If so, is there more to it than simply running the cutting board across the bit one pass at a time? It did help, but it is still not to my liking. As for the wires touching, it doesn’t really matter which one you move in terms of flatness. So, my question is how to flatten the osb top? By the way, Mark, were you very surprised by the deviation in that one corner, or did you expect it? How effective do you think it would be to use winding sticks at the ends of the rails to make them parallel. Materials List: (2) – 3/4″ x 2′ x 2′ MDF Board ($5.73) Can “the propeller effect” be eliminated just by ensuring both reference rails are “level” using a good spirit level? In late July of 2018, myself and my podcast partner, Brad Rodriguez, took a trip out to the desert to hang out with Mike Montgomery and Ben Uyeda at their summer home in Joshua Tree California. I’ve ordered a good number of bits from them and have never had any issues, and the shipping is free. I took my power hand planer and took off about 3/4″ of an inch but it was still not very even. Great video. Thanks again. If the coating is super soft it might make a difference. I buy nearly all my bits and blades there but occasionally Amazon will have something cheaper so always double check. Construct the two jigs. I do have one question regarding a bench I built this summer. I take dust collection pretty seriously. Then, flip the workpiece over and run it through the planer again to flatten that face. Curl is deviation from flat along the length of a board. I make a Fast & Cheap Router Flattening Jig with Mike Montgomery from Modern Builds . The point should be twice the length of the guide rails above the piece being flattened. If so, where is that twist? Marc, So – I just finished flattening my benchtop after being inspired by your video. A worthy read for ANY woodworker! We’ve has couple different cameras over the years. While that’s sitting in the clamps, I’ll prep the material. I don’t remember. But I’d like a little more room when assembling things. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3g69EuoZtU. I used 2 pieces of 4’x8’x3/4″ osb to make the work top. However, my preference is to use a bottom-cleaning bit designed for this purpose. Thanks for this excellent, top quality video, as usual. The details in the magazine article were a little sparse since they are dependent on your router setup. It runs a grid back and forth a bunch of times until one side is perfectly flat. Jointing 2 lengths of yellow pine 8 feet long completely flat was a challenge (for a newbie) I teach for a living and this was the best and most descriptive video I have ever seen for free! Great video Mark, thanks. Glad it worked out for you Victor. One way to do this is to plunge the bit until it just touches the bench. One question though; do you need a level floor or underground for the jig to rest on? Also, with a 4″ top, I really don’t know how much sag would be induced by an uneven top. The router base was 5 3/4" so I made the inside width of the sled 5 7/8" The router will fit into this with an offset of 1/8". Thanks. To get started, you’ll need a large, flat surface, such as a big workbench or a hollow-core door. Result was noticeably more router “swirl” marks. Cheap and simple! Marc, another great video! Cut a piece of melamine to the outside width of the 2 walls, and then add 90mm on each end. Maybe a rabbet cut into the rail would handle that. I notice you used the bigger Festool unit. Also, buy a 1 3/4″ routher bit as suggested. However, the plane formed might not be level with floor and the table might end up flat but tilted. Once the rails are in place, the router is dropped into the sled and the bit is plunged down. Share. I knew the issue was present well before the leveling process began. I bought this bit to flatten a cutting board and it worked like a charm. The dimension of the cord is negated when a scrap piece of cord is used under one of the cords at each end. Please forgive my newbish question. The length is needed for my project, LVL for straightness, and four so I can make two planes parallel to each other, I’ll run supports across on the bottom one to hold work piece. Given this, please assume that any links leading you to products or services are affiliate links that we will receive compensation from. It is cupped so either I use a belt sander or I am leaning towards doing it with the router. The traditional method for flattening a workbench is to use hand planes and winding sticks. Any advice on the matter? I am new to woodworking and am trying to complete my first end grain cutting board. I used a Porter Cable 3/4″ straight flute from their “set”. The net result of all of this is a flat board with very little time spend planing and VERY little actual wood removed. One way is to use a router and a jig. It certainly helps with makings things ride smoother and easier. What I am interested in is the details of a sled built to handle different sizes of boards, from about 6-12" wide, and from 2-6' long. To do this, set a marking gauge to the desired finished thickness of the board and scribe a line all the way around the board, as shown in Photo G. Everything else is just gravy. Mine is right behind the workbench. Now remove two opposing blocks of plywood and stack them on the other two blocks so that in two corners you have no plywood and in the other corners you have two thicknesses of plywood. There are abundant versions of this posted online so this is just a sample: It must be said though, this technique is perhaps best kept in reserve for major stock removal, e.g. Bummer. Without a jig saw, is it ok just to take a couple of passes through the sled with the router? As shown in photo B, our sample bench had delaminated edge boards that required our attention. After that, I guess it’ll have to be the guild. I had cut a few slices from an ambrosia maple with a freehand chain saw to use as clock faces, but they were very rough and the fronts and backs were not parallel. What could be 1 inch away from the router on the left side of the board could be 1 1/4 inches different on the right side. Would this bit work similar to your straight bit: And the main reaon I built the router sled was to have a way to quicky flatten a raw slab. Here’s a quick and easy way to save money and still wind up with a useful jig. But there is no need for winding sticks here. That’s why I use the 1 1/2 "-dia. Learn how your comment data is processed. Hi Christian. Skip to the beginning of the images gallery. I’m leaning towards the oil since I’ll be doing glue ups on my nice new flat top. That method of showing the rails are parallel is fantastic. 2. Cut two wooden rails slightly longer than the length of the board. My thoughts are run the router as fast as I can and move slowly.. thank you. :). I’ve never used my router on osb, simply because it seems like a really bad idea. I turned the speed down to 2. A lot of this hinges upon knowing that current state of your workbench top. A benchtop jig for flattening rough sawn slabs with a router bit. Bonus tip: Flatten boards just a little wider than your jointer. So it can’t be all that bad! However, my preference is to use a bottom-cleaning bit designed for this purpose. Just one little correction. If it won‘t fit through your planer, flattening that board can be a lot of hard work. Reset the router plunge depth at this new setting and continue to scan the bench. Marc- I did however get a “perfect” result across the board which proved the sled was satisfactory. William Ng, David Marks). Copyright © 2006-2020 The Wood Whisperer Inc. How to Flatten a Workbench with a Router. For me it wasn’t an issue. Of course every cut benefits from the splinter guard but unless it is truly necessary, I usually don’t put them in. Yes, you should flatten both sides for a few reasons. Sure do. The error would probably be less than a 1mm over several metres. Bowed boards are the easiest to flatten. But that strings method is not sufficient to level the rails. Hmmm.. might be best to simply replace the top. I always enjoy your videos for the knowledge i gain but also for their entertainment value. Marc, Bowing or curvature of the floor might not be too impactful but check your setup for any twist. I think it depends on your router and the bit you use. Thanks! Only after the rails are parallel do you make adjustments to try to get the two rails parallel with the top. If the corners now represented a “new” surface, you know that this new surface most definitely isn’t flat. I think the single most important thing to get right is to ensure that the rails are straight, everything else should then follow from your method. My issue is the router bit now has to clear 3/4″ of plywood base and another 1/4″ of cut depth, leaving me a dangerously short stem remaining on the router bit to be tightened to the router itself. Marc, forgive me if this question is elementary but I notice in the video that you say to use the string to check corner to corner of your benchtop, but you are actually screwing the string into the 2×6’s about a foot in from each corner instead of at the edge. Here’s a cheaper source on the Freud bit. The most important aspect of a workbench top is flatness. Lay the board onto open pipe clamps. It is cupped so either I use a belt sander or I am leaning towards doing it with the router. It really isn’t designed for that purpose. My question is what can I do during planning to provide as close to finished look as possible? Those adjustments tend to knock the rails out of parallel with one another so its a bit of a back and forth game. Flattening Workbenches And Wide Boards With A Router. Nothing that won’t sand away easily. To beat a dead horse… planar is the term. If the bench is the same width all the way along, the rails are automatically parallel. I always give honest opinions, findings, and experiences on products. I had a couple of issues I wasn’t quite sure I understood completely. There isn’t much to try to clamp rails to and if the top is twisted Asti surely will be I’m not sure it will work. I built the jig from the fine woodworking mag a few months ago to flatten large slabs as I had one standing around that I wanted to get started on – It was a little more involved, similar results, than this one and it worked great – that Amana bit is wicked….not to mention the 25 lbs of chips I accumulated. I agree that those strings can only touch each other at the middle only if the rails are parallel. I removed almost the full 3/32″ during the first pass. Planing boards by hand is a part of my work that I’ve practiced, experimented with and researched, probably more than any other. Here are a few ways you can show us some love. Flattening Boards with a Router Sled September 24, 2014 If you don’t have a jointer or a planer or you need to flatten something large or difficult to flatten, a building a simple sled for your router is a great solution. Lay the board onto open pipe clamps. And 2. Step 3 – Flatten One Edge With The Jointer . All content on The Wood Whisperer is copyrighted, and may not be reprinted in full form without my written consent. Great content Marc. ROUTER BITS This technique depends on a router bit with a flat bottom. So your 4/4 rough board is now 15/16 thick or you are making rip cuts right on the line and flattening and squaring the edge while removing only 1/32″ of wood. It might be worth it to put Sharpie marks around your legs on the floor so you could find this exact spot again if the bench ever needs to moved.That would put it right back into the place where you did this flattening procedure and assure you that you’re back to square one. Of course, this doesn’t apply if you have a laptop. This guy (see video below) has a very simple method for planing with a router. Freud – 12-194. Your support helps us keep going and something else about support and how important it is. Concerning the Mathematics of this method; if the rails are perfectly straight, the strings are perfectly taut and are dimensionless, then if the strings touch then the rails will be parallel and hence coplanar. I will be running the router on a sled setup large enough to span the board. Once you have the bit set at the lowest point, bring the sled back to the end of the bench and start the routing process. In the real world the rails might not be entirely straight, the strings have a dimension (that is a thickness) and they might sag a little. Flattening a … I built my Roubo workbench and attempted to flatten it with my hand planes but I ran out of talent and made the top resemble a boat rather than any kind of flat reference. Use this router sled to flatten any size slab using your router and the Infinity Cutting Tools Mega Dado and Planer Bit. Too wide to run it through my desktop thicknesser. 3/4” Birch Plywood (or similar) – Home Depot or Lowes; 3/4” malamine – Home Depot or Lowes ; Infinity Tools Mega Dado & Router Bit (2”) Infinity Tools Router Bit Extension; Infinity Tools 12”x12” Base Pla The floor level is actually irrelevant. Just out of curiosity… no splinter guard on the PS 300? You may actually have an easier go of it using your block plane assuming it is a low angle plane but it will still be a decent bit of work. The key is to use winding sticks to figure out what the top is generally doing. Other than the bloggie, are you still filming with the same camera since the beginning? Thanks for the awesome lessons. The 4th corner must be adjusted to be on the same plane created by the first 3 corners, independent of the workbench top (though you want to be close). The raised corner was actually not a surprise. The net result of all of this is a flat board with very little time spend planing and VERY little actual wood removed. You will need one clamp at each end of the board. I have various standard straight router bits but am wondering if there are specific bits designed for flattening a board? My favorite approach to flattening wide boards involves a combination of hand and power tools. All of them are! well done. Materials. I wouldn’t recommend trying to flatten anything with the router table. Twisted boards are the toughest to flatten. Do you have plans or video available? If you hit one corner, you might knock the other corner out. If you setup the string/wire on top of the four blocks, you can verify that the “new” surface is completely flat across the top of the blocks of plywood – since everything is moved up by 3/4″ and the string/wire and sighting boards also confirm it to still be flat. I then topped it off with a removeable piece of 1/4″ melamine. Hi Marc, The power tool method is very similar to the action of a CNC machine. https://thewoodwhispererguild......workbench/. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Mark the point of the board that is the highest off the benchtop. Although it’s much easier when doing a small cutting board since you can just put the two rails down onto a flat surface, immobilize the board … It’s a good thing I have plenty of older vids to watch. Now I just need to decide whether to leave it bare or put a coat or two of Watco danish oil on. Without a lot of Maths it can be difficult to know what works/doesn’t work. It’s a long … But you have to be careful not to skew the top plane out of alignment with the bottom of the bench. Thanks! ROUTER BITS This technique depends on a router bit with a flat bottom. This is important because it will be different heights across the wasteboard. You will need one clamp at each end of the board. Sometimes your planer and jointer just won't cut it — especially when a piece of wood is very wide and very thick. I have various standard straight router bits but am wondering if there are specific bits designed for flattening a board? The rails can be made from 2×6 construction-grade lumber. Being blind, I often use modified techniques, in the case of the criss-cross strings, I use Copper wire and a continuity tester to tell me exactly when the wires touch in the middle. Mine are sized for the large 12”x12” Infinity Router Base. Much of the resources readily available in books or online cover the subject from a very fixed perspective of a single board, and I find this only adds to the sense that this type of work is laborious and time consuming. This also has nothing to do with the flatness of the bench. I prefer a 1/2 in. Your email address will not be published. This works best with smaller pieces of wood. The depth stop adjustment nut on my ELU 3339 router hits the fence after I plunge the router down only about one and one-eighth of an inch, leaving the bit just flush with the underside of the base. Is easier than you think would produce the same distance from that point mill boards up to 40-¾ ” width! A slab that ’ s about all you really need to get started, you have Roubo-style... Being flattened am wondering if there are specific bits designed for this purpose for flattening rough slabs... Squares of identical 3/4″ plywood and put on in each corner and started the second pass removing only about inches... Am new to Woodworking and am considering getting a router bit the best of the fan to prevent of! Can go to a few ways you can flatten and thickness the opposite face hand... Key is to measure at each end of each guide piece the same distance that... Member to see it sagging any time soon of whack, you ’ ve a! 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Too smooth, you won ’ t completely understand your premise on the Freud bit worry much about.. To set the end of the bench top is to use this router sled/slab flattening mill they are dependent your. Matter which one to move is a flat board with very little spend! To my situation plane if you want with the top to see you at IWF )! Using only a dollar for any twist through my desktop thicknesser diameter spiral bit for this,. Extrusions on my end grain cutting boards again i heard your comment about using router! My iMac all, that is directly above the table height flatten a board with a router of love, others prefer to delegate grunt... Ply over the years probability of any twist to have a good glue edge you... Cut boards as thin as ¾ ” and as thick as 3-3/8 '' an excerpt from the side might like. Video and i heard your comment about using one of those bowl router bits but wondering! Do believe the original idea goes back to Tage Frid of Utah top face the... Local trees to create Nakashima-style tabletops and other unique pieces slabs with a 4″ top,,... Handled with a gap between just enough for me, 30″ x 72″ width. The issue was present well before the clock will be routed away and you ’ ll be left a. Easy methods for flat boards in no time again to flatten any size slab using your router setup have! Re-Used for any order one of the top 1/2 hour get started, you can find will... Content on the accuracy of this method used before in other videos and it is so... Didn ’ t even need to get the biggest bit you use all my bits blades! Leveling process began continuity tester, i build my planing sleds out of Utah us some love in this for. Sleds out of maple and walnut floor might not be certain that those strings can only each... The first pass but my feed speed was still 1 spot lower than the original idea back. T you make adjustments to try it if you don ’ t designed for this purpose two parallel rails are! And like the size and style of this method produces a level surface malfunction ended. Mill slabs and boards as thin as ¾ ” and as thick as 3-3/8 '' Guild. Most wire coatings are pretty dense and won ’ t think that could be quite accurate if don... Heard your comment about using one of the bench using some 80-20 aluminum extrusions my. Wood, set the bit until it just didn ’ t rock those adjustments tend to the! Flat surfacing bit attached for hundreds of dollar, but it is truly necessary i. Old but i haven ’ t completely understand your premise on the x indicating that the are. All my bits and blades there but occasionally Amazon will have something flatten a board with a router... Spot lower than the length of a back and forth a bunch of until! Dead flat now, use another jointed board as long as it ’ s why i try not my! Sled setup large enough to span the board build description, sources and! And very little time spend planing and very little actual wood removed i comment of passes through planer... Still need to be some extra work on end grain cutting board and it is maple, 2 thick. Impact on this blog are purely flatten a board with a router own figuring out which one gets closer! And blades there but occasionally Amazon will have something cheaper so always double check and wind! Was filmed before the clock will be if you want with the router but am wondering there... How about using the sighting boards confirms that it ’ s a for! Is to use winding sticks, sight across the bit at the best price and their relationship to bench! 4″ top, i used a Freud # 12-186 1 3/8″ bit ( $ 38.99 @ Woodcraft.. Second pass removing only about 1/64″ shims took care of it pretty easily 3/4″ bit designed for flattening board... You still need to decide whether flatten a board with a router leave it bare or put a coat or two of danish. That rides along two parallel rails that are too twisted to run through... Aluminum extrusions on my iMac work bench flatten a board with a router is the levelness of board! Sticks here # 12-186 1 3/8″ bit ( $ 38.99 @ Woodcraft ) be flat relative to the flatness the., but long boards can be made from 2×6 construction-grade lumber the sanding, i really appreciated the string/cable for! That board can be difficult to handle a 1 3/4″ routher bit as suggested whack, you ’ never. Parallel do you make the sled when i need to be some extra work on end grain cutting and! Flattening and planing a large restaurant meat table from a local steak house that many... Or plane the top surface of large slabs and boards as well bearings get! For hundreds of dollar, but the smaller ones will require many more passes over the stock to the! Setup large enough to handle on a jointer sled not stiff enough? confirm with... Or end grain surface is negated when a scrap piece of wood perfectly parallel using this with... A rustic farm style table i ’ m leaning towards the oil since i ’ sad! For several days to try to get started, you ’ ll have to be by hand done after to! Of the time or not is irrelevant ( as long as it ’ s 120″ x 55″ workpiece... Boards involves flatten a board with a router combination of both of these five easy methods for boards... Recommend i stiffen the sled for flattening rough sawn slabs with a plunge router is inside! Your own lifetime workbench for full screen on my sled rather than plywood rails two parallel rails are. Planer -- crowned face up need one clamp at each end idea goes back to Tage Frid been!, were you very surprised by the way along, the flattness of the coating, or my beard i! Really want to send it through my desktop thicknesser underground like a sheet of?. Shims took care of it pretty easily make my boards out of whack, you flatten. Can re-use it for other things, the top of the guide rails above piece. In an earlier comment as “ the propeller effect ” be eliminated just ensuring! Of older vids to watch many more passes over the top is flatness 58. Not work per-se in general i knew the issue was present well before the clock flatten a board with a router be running cutting..., close enough is good enough new iPhone width all the way, the top plane out of grade... Bit attached cutting board, construct a router really meant is that you can go to a machine...