Right Sizing and Shaping: Tiny Wood, Flat Stones

Flat Wood

In last issue’s Q&A section, a woodworker was looking for ways to flatten wood – including tips on using the planer he borrows occasionally. A couple of readers wrote in to share their experiences in this matter. – Editor

“When bend, warp and wind are an issue, a great method is to glue 1×1 strips of pine, etc. down the middle and near each edge of one face of the board to be planed. Then hand plane only the strips using winding sticks to ensure a ‘flat’  (and straight) face side. When thickness-planing, placing the board with the ‘stripped’ face side down will ensure a good flat second surface. Once achieved, the board can be reversed to thickness plane down the strips and the cupped or twisted face side until flat and uniform. This method requires minimal hand-planing and is very reliable, when dealing with goofy wood.” – Frank Coldicott

“I like the idea of ripping a cupped board, jointing the pieces flat, jointing the edges and gluing back together. I’ve done it successfully many times. When I saw the accompanying photo, my hair (what’s left) stood on end. I ripped a wide cupped board with the bow up only once.  Maybe I’m just unlucky, but that strategy resulted in a kickback. As the elevated center of the bow drooped part way through the cut, it contacted the back of the blade. The board, as well as my life, flashed before my eyes. It seemed to me inherently unwise to put the bow down, because it’s less stable, but that works better than bow up. The operator can maintain downward pressure next to the fence and the ripped section can fall away from the blade.” – Dale Evans

Tiny Wood

We also heard advice for the reader who questioned us about cutting small strips (1/8″ x 1/8″ and 1/8″ x 3/8″) on the table saw – advice ranging from what saw he should think about buying to some telling him just to buy small wood. (But really, where’s the fun in  that?) – Editor

“In response to the request for a table saw for small items, I have seen the Microlux saw from MicroMark. They specialize in tools and hardware for working in small stuff (model ship building, dollhouses, railroad dioramas, etc.) Anyone into that size world should check them out; they have a lot of stuff.” – Larry Giust

“You would be better off buying what you need at a hobby shop. Most carry a full selection of basswood in all shapes and sizes.” – Doug Schaeffer

“You might also mention in your Q& A section on cutting wood for 1:12 scale miniatures that there is a 3,000 member newsgroup that provides very helpful support for making miniatures. In addition, there are two national organizations. The International Guild of Miniature Artisansand The National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts.” – Karin Corbin

Flat Stones

And, in response to the discussion on flattening stones in the WebSurfer’s Review section, this reader shared his experience. – Editor

“I note that there is considerable discussion on how to get your sharpening stone surface back to even. The answer is under your feet! I have a concrete driveway, and I merely sit down on the driveway and rub the stone (worn side down) on the concrete.

After a while (an hour or more) you will find that the surface is flat. I do not know of a less expensive or quick way of doing this.” – Samuel A. Mullins

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