The rest of the story……
I wanted to build a 1 1/4” x 36 x 54 hard maple table top. I went to my hardwood distributer and purchased qty (3) 6/4 boards. Two boards were ~ 10’ long and one was 9”-1” long. Each were skipped planed. I knew that it would be close finishing the boards to 1 ¼” thickness. This distributer usually sells nice lumber, but he was looking to unload his 6/4 hard maple and I did not want to purchase 8/4 lumber.
I do not have a jointer but I have been successful using a sled and a planner in the past. I have a friend who has an 8” jointer with a helical head and a 15” planer with a helical head and he invited me to his shop.
Each board was approximately 9 ¼” wide. I sawed each board in half, hot glued a straight edge to one side and ripped each board to 7 15/16” wide and headed over to my friends shop.
While in his shop it was obvious that it would be difficult to plane to 1 ¼ thicknesses and I did not want the snip I was receiving from his jointed. So, after I flattened one side on each board with his jointer, I took my lumber home. The original plan was to use qty (6) boards approx. 6” wide each. One of the boards cleaned up less than 1 1/8” thick, so I changed the plan to use qty (5) boards. Using five boards dictated that I had to plane each board more to allow for a wider finished board.
While at home, my wife asked to have two ¾” cherry strips inserted each side of the middle board, long grain exposed. I was able to remove all of the snipe and cleaned-up all of the boards to 1 3/16” thickness. Close enough to 1 ¼” thickness. The original plan was to also drum sand the 36” wide table top after glue-up to remove any mismatch and any original tear-up.
I have another friend who has an oscillating 22-44 drum sander. He has informed me that his drum sander works very well. I have another friend who has a friend who has a 37x2 double roll drum sander. Neither of us have used or seen it.
I laid out the boards prior to glue up to confirm that I could get 54 inches (one of the boards is only 55” long but the other four are 60 inches long so I have enough length to allow for any snipe but they have some end checks). I glued bd #1 to bd #2 while also having bd #3 in the clamps. I glued bd #5 to bd #4 while having bd #3 in the clamps. I was very surprised of the results. The final mismatches can be removed with a card scrapper. I am hoping/expecting the same results when I glue bd #2 to bd #3 and glue bd #4 to bd #3. If this is the case, then I do not need to drum sand the mismatches. But, I have to address the initial tear out issue.
Opt#1 – make the final glue-ups and sand with the 37x2 double roll sander. Final thickness 1 1/8”. Risk: I do not know the owner, I do not know if the sander is operational or how it may perform.
Opt#2 – make the final glue-ups and sand with the oscillating 22-44 drum sander. Final thickness 1 1/8”. Risk: The table top is heavy and only ~60% of the weight will be supported by the sander. I’m concerned about the unsupported weight and if I will be left with a beveled surface.
Opt#3 – make the final glue-ups and use a card scrapper across the glue lines. And then address the tear-out issue. Either fill with epoxy or locally sand and fair out the low spot. Final thickness 1 3/16”.
Opt#4 – run the boards across a planner before final glue-up. Risk. Two of the boards are now wider than what my planer will accept so I will have to find someone who can plan the boards for me. I want NO SNIPE. Final thickness 1 1/8”.
My head hurts doing all of this thinking. I have not made the final decision for the edge profile, but I believe any final thickness will be Ok. I’m leaning towards Opt#2. This option will clean-up all glue lines. I can use additional boards along the sides or trailing while sanding to help eliminate any beginning/ending snipe, and reduces the weight of the table top. I will have to address my concern about the possibility of getting a sanded bevel edge due to having ~40% of the weight not support (looking for TPW input). Your comments are very much appreciated. Thanks you for all of the epoxy information. Danl