Surface large slabs and panels without big machines
Synopsis: You can take all the warp and twist out of a large slab of wood with hand-held tools: winding sticks, a power planer, a belt sander, and a palm sander. Using furniture maker Rob Hare’s method, the power planer does the bulk of the stock removal and flattening, while the winding sticks help locate areas where the slab cups, bows, or twists. The sanders finish the job.
I build furniture that incorporates large slabs of wood. Early in my career, I had no access to large machines, so I developed a method for flattening large planks using winding sticks, a power planer, a marking gauge, a belt sander, and a palm sander. The process is so reliable and efficient that I continue to use it for most wide panels, even for small tabletops. While this article focuses on a thick, wide plank, a slight variation of the technique…