Butchered Butcher Block

Hi All,

I have a butcher block that’s 35" x 20" x 2". It needs to be flattened on both sides, unfortunately.

I’m wondering if the shop has a planer sled or a router sled? I’ll build and bring a planer sled with me if not.

Also, I see conflicting info on YouTube regarding the necessity of securing a heavy piece to the sled. Is it necessary on a piece of this weight? I know I’ll need a leading-edge cleat on the sled, of course. If securing the piece is required, would side clamping with toggles provide enough security?

Thanks!

Drake

Hi Drake

I would suggest using a CNC router. I use mine to flatten slabs. I’d offer to do it for you but I moved from San Diego. The larger CNC at the shop might be able to do it.

Thanks, Tim. I was thinking that too, but I’m not yet certified for the shop CNCs. Just the lasers so far.

But, Dallas let me know that the shop does have a router sled. So I’ll be trying that out this week.

Drake—

20” is the max our General planer can handle. I’ll let others argue whether it’s wide enough to handle a 20” slab.

Have you considered using your sled and slab in the drum sander? I believe it can handle up to 25”. With the sled, you could flatten one side enough so that the slab could fit the in the planer (without the sled) to flatten the second side.

BTW, I’m assuming the sled would have to be wider than 20” in order to adequately secure the slab to the sled. If true, there’s no way the sled could fit through the planer.

My approach is to flatten one side any way you can, then use the planer to flatten the other. Another alternative would be to use the slab flattening jig and a router to flatten the first side, and then move to the planer.

Good luck!

Thanks, William.

I forgot to say that the slab would be cut down closer to its final size after flattening the first side. But, I hadn’t thought about the need for the sled to be wider than the workpiece to allow for securing it. Good point.

I reached out to Dallas to ask if the shop had a router sled and they do! I think that’s the method I’ll follow: router sled the bottom of the piece, cut down to at least 19" wide, plane the top face, cut down to final dimension. Then sanding and sealing!

Thanks again.

Great! You’re good to go… except for one thing—it’s not a great idea to rip a piece of lumber (down to 19”) that’s not flat on one side. If the lumber rocks while making the cut (because the face against the table is not flat), the wood will pinch the blade and you’ll get a kickback. If the top is mostly flat, make sure the top is face down against the table. I can’t imagine that a countertop could be THAT bad, unless it’s warped.

I’ll flatten the bottom on the router sled first, then rip it down, then use the planer for the top face.

It was a glue-up of offcuts, and I didn’t do as good of a job as I should have in joining the pieces to have flat faces. The joints are all solid, they just didn’t leave the pieces planar! I have a pretty easy time making extra work for myself :slight_smile: