Flattening a Slab - Router Forums
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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 07-24-2015, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Default Flattening a Slab

A friend is having some trees cut down, including a red oak that's about 20" diameter. He's thinking about asking the crew to cut a 4' length at the bottom of the tree and then cut a longitudinal slab out of the center - slab would then be about 20" wide and 48" long. Discounting the problems in drying it so that it doesn't crack (another subject), we were discussing a method of flattening the faces so he could make the slab into a table top. So, mounting it to a sheet, shimming from the bottom and then using a router in a sled is one option. Has anyone thought about fixturing an electric hand planer into a sled and using that to flatten the part? Assuming that the planer could be fixture, this would give a 3-1/4" wide pass down the slab each time, and greatly reduce the time needed. The bar size isn't limited by the holes in the router base so could be made of 1/2" or 3/4" iron pipe to give minimal deflection.

What do you think?

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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 07-24-2015, 10:56 PM
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Tom, while the hand planer might be able to do the job, I don't think it will give you the results you're looking for. You will have nothing to reference the planer against to ensure that you get a flat surface.

IMHO, the router ski jig would be the way to go on this. If you make the jig with it's own bars, and mount the router to a plate, like the one that Mike and I made here: Plywood Ski Jig you will not get any deflection.

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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 07-24-2015, 11:08 PM
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If you can figure out a way to attach skis to a portable planer please post it. I have one and they just don't lend themselves to that idea.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 07-24-2015, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Tom, while the hand planer might be able to do the job, I don't think it will give you the results you're looking for. You will have nothing to reference the planer against to ensure that you get a flat surface.

IMHO, the router ski jig would be the way to go on this. If you make the jig with it's own bars, and mount the router to a plate, like the one that Mike and I made here: Plywood Ski Jig you will not get any deflection.
Sorry, making a sled for my planer to make thin strips and got that on my mind - I meant a ski. Thinking pipe cross bars and a sliding fixture that clamped (lightly) on the sides of the planer above the sole plate and then some kind of shaped block that fits inside the handle to carry the weight and hold the planer in position. The planer obviously doesn't have the depth adjustment that a router would so I would have to make a series of holes in the runners and move the pipe down closer to the base of the skis.

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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 07-24-2015, 11:55 PM
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Tom, the planer requires a reasonably flat surface to begin with; nice idea but I can't see it working. A ski jig does not depend on the surface for making the cut so it is the easy choice.

Infinity just sent out a sales flyer featuring the Mega dado and planer bit. This is a 2" diameter bit with both up cut and down cut carbide tips. I think this would be the perfect bit for this job. You can view it here: 1/2" Shank Mega Dado & Planer Bit 2" C.D. 1" C.H.-Carbide Router Bits | Router Bit Sets | Shaper Cutters | Saw Blades | Planer Knives | Jointer Knives | Infinity Cutting Tools
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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 07-24-2015, 11:58 PM
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Here is another jig idea.
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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 07-25-2015, 12:05 AM
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This is my method. For the size you have in mind, ski rods less than 1/2" will cause sag. With a router ski jig, the assembly is operated by the end cheeks NOT the router handles which would cause variations in the depth of cut.
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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 07-25-2015, 01:06 AM
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This is one advantage of the plywood ski jig, it won't sag. For shorter spans the steel rods are easier for making adjustments.
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post #9 of 49 (permalink) Old 07-25-2015, 07:18 AM Thread Starter
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Tom, the planer requires a reasonably flat surface to begin with; nice idea but I can't see it working. A ski jig does not depend on the surface for making the cut so it is the easy choice.

Infinity just sent out a sales flyer featuring the Mega dado and planer bit. This is a 2" diameter bit with both up cut and down cut carbide tips. I think this would be the perfect bit for this job. You can view it here: 1/2" Shank Mega Dado & Planer Bit 2" C.D. 1" C.H.-Carbide Router Bits | Router Bit Sets | Shaper Cutters | Saw Blades | Planer Knives | Jointer Knives | Infinity Cutting Tools
Mike,

I had it in my head that setting the planer to the maximum depth of cut and adjusting the height of the carriage so that the cutter would just kiss the high spots on the slab on the first pass - this will be a "chain saw" finish with no guarantee of the initial flatness. As the planer hits the high spots, the rear shoe will touch the areas that were just planed but the front shoe may not necessarily be touching the surface, at least initially.

However, I didn't realize that larger diameter bits were available - thanks for the link to Infinity, I have it bookmarked for future reference - and that certainly makes material removal closer to that of the planer. Nice work on those skis, the wooden construction is something to keep in mind, but I have a Makita 3612 and will have to check whether I can get the larger diameter rods recommended by Harry to work in it.

Thanks for the photos of your skis, all something to keep in mind if we go forward with this project. It's all going to depend on whether the tree crew is going to be able to slice a slab like we looking at out of the tree - will find out on Monday as that's when they're scheduled to show up and start working. Still a long term project as I guess it will take the slab a while to dry out enough to be workable - that will give us enough time to build a ski.

Tom
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post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 07-25-2015, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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This is my method. For the size you have in mind, ski rods less than 1/2" will cause sag. With a router ski jig, the assembly is operated by the end cheeks NOT the router handles which would cause variations in the depth of cut.
Harry,

Thanks for the quick reply. I have skimmed your articles on skis in the past and have been very impressed both with the workmanship and the very detailed explanation that you gave on their construction and use. I'll have to go back and look at the articles a little closer. I have a Makita 3612 - bought years ago for working on solid surface countertops and not used for much else - I believe that this is the router you recommend so I'm halfway there.

Thanks,

Tom
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