The Little Planer That Could

Back around Christmas of last year I signed up for The Wood Whisperer Guild. My main motivator, other than give Marc a little support was to follow along with the Roubo build. I started my Roubo probably five years ago and it has been very slow going mainly because folks kept wanting stuff built. I finally said enough is enough! No more projects till my bench gets finished so I have a proper place to work on things.

I finished gluing up and roughing out the legs probably 4 years ago and they have been sitting in the corner of my shop gathering dust and developing some small checks. I’m not worried about the checks – this is a workbench after all, not some fancy pants house furniture.

The top was the part I first starting laminating all those years ago. I’d go buy some 2×10 doug fir from Home Depot and then let it sit in the shop for months to finish drying, rip it in half and then glue up a couple pieces. Today I finally glued all those pieces together and let me tell you, it was a chore!

First I wanted to run the biggest slab that was done through the planer to remove a little glue and some water marks. The roof of the shop leaked on it during a bad rain storm two years ago. This little task ended up showing what my little lunch box planer was made of. My planer is a 13″ Ridgid. This slab was 13 1/8″ wide so it was just a tad too wide to go through the planer. I set up some infeed and outfeed rollers on the jointer and ran the slab over on its edge to narrow it down just a tad.When I got it down to 12 15/16″ I set up the infeed and outfed rollers on the planer and the proceeded to this monster slab and the other smaller laminations that were destined to be glued to it through until they were all the same thickness of just a hair over 3 1/2″.

I did take light passes – no more than 1/32″, but the little Ridgid did just fine.

Once the slabs were ready I decided to get them all glued up. I ended up using every parallel clamp I own because of the slabs had a slight bow. Once it was done I flipped it up on edge so it would glue to the saw horses.

After letting it sit for about an hour I went over both faces with a putty knife to scrape off all the squeeze out. Tomorrow after church I’m going to take out of the clamps and get the lower-right corner ready for the tail vise and hopefully get the two outer pieces glued on.

The slab currently is about 3 1/2″ thick. The outer pieces I’m going to add tomorrow will be 4″ wide. You may wonder why the differing thicknesses. The goal all along was for the top to be 4″ thick. With all the planing the planks ended up thin. By adding these sides it’ll hide the piece of 1/2″ MDF I’m going to screw to the bottom of the top. It’ll make it all 4″ thick and add a fair bit of weight. I think it’ll work good.

More to come soon…

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