Fair Woodworking

August 7, 2016

How I flatten a board. THE MOVIE.

Filed under: Skill development,Video — fairwoodworking @ 6:37 pm

So yesterday, as I came to the end of my day, I finished with resawing some boards that will ultimately become the raised panels for a frame and panel back I’m doing. I find resawing to be very stressful to the wood itself, and it takes a day for it to come to grips with its own new existence.

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With nothing left to do but one final sweep up, I often will sit back on my shop stool and enjoy one last of my favorite songs, or two.

Today, with the boards nicely bent out of shape, they have come to grips with their new thinness, and are ready for flattening once again.

As I was working I started thinking about one of my most read posts. It’s an overly wordy, post with a million and one pictures on flattening a board that I still think does not fully capture my process, and when I say my, it is my own way of flattening, that I developed, on my own through trial and error.

I don’t know if anyone has ever been able to decode that post, but when I’ve shown people in person, they seem to get it a little better.

Since you all can’t fit in my shop at one time, I thought it may be better if I grab the camera, and its freshly charged battery, and shoot a quick video.

3 hours later….

Here you go.

How many of you caught me break my own rule, and mistakenly plane the wrong place?

Ya well screw you. It’s flat now isn’t it?



  1. Great vid. Nice to see a Traditionalist demonstrating proper technique. My dad (born 1898) taught me the ‘finger bang’ method also.
    Very enjoyable. Thank you!

    Comment by J. Wiley Dumas — August 8, 2016 @ 4:04 pm

  2. Amazing. That just goes to show how sloppy I am. I thought it was pretty useable to start with. So, presumably it is not uniform in thickness now, do you correct that or doesn’t it matter.?

    Perhaps you could do a video on flattening a bench top too

    Comment by Tony B. — August 9, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

    • Thanks Tony,
      I don’t buy the idea of sloppy here. If you are able to build things that you are happy with without perfect materials, who is anyone to say you are doing it wrong. In my experience, with my projects, inaccuracy tends to compound. Good components make a project easier for me. Joints have a better chance of being tight. All that. People that are more skilled than I can work with warped wood. I’m just not there yet.

      Yes you are right, the only thing I’ve done here is flatten one side. The next steps would be to make the other side parallel, (if the project requires…) and the edges square. In this case these are boards that I have now joined to make panels. So far I only jointed the edges, spread the glue and clamped them together. It’ll still need to be re flattened, and I’ll finish dimensioning then.

      No plans for a bench flattening video. It’s true that this technique lives and dies on a flat bench, but I don’t think I’m the guy to teach that skill.

      Wouldn’t it be great if that Chris guy made a video of that?

      I’d buy that for a dollar!!!

      Comment by fairwoodworking — August 9, 2016 @ 8:14 pm

  3. The out takes were solid!!! Lol!

    Comment by Bob — August 9, 2016 @ 10:37 pm

  4. I faced this problem the other day with a 2×1 board that had to sit flush on an mdf board. (to create a lid for a toy box) It was the only board i had and the timber store was closed, i don’t have a hand planer (criminal i know) so used an electric one and messed it up. Lesson learned – waiting for a new planer to come from amazon as i speak. Can i ask, in your image above what looks like a hifi it looks like there is a monitor in the wall, whats that for?

    Comment by Tim — September 3, 2016 @ 6:26 am

    • Hey Tim.
      Like cheap tools, cheap tablets are pretty near worthless. What you are seeing is my first and worst tablet purchase. The only thing that really works on it is the mp3 player so I mounted it on the wall for easier access. Good music is important in a workshop.

      Comment by fairwoodworking — September 3, 2016 @ 10:58 am

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