Flattening the Sides
The timber in this project was purchased as 'dressed-all-round' (or DAR). This is meant to mean that each edge side is flat, parallel to the opposing side and square to the edge. For several reasons this is never the case. The timber is processed probably years ago in a production line in a climate different to my own. The changes to moisture content as it dries further allows wood to do it's think and warp, cup and twist. Crosscutting the timber into smaller pieces changes the internal tensions within the board allowing new movement. And the mass produced aspect means that care is not taken with individual boards.
To begin with I tranverse (planing 90 degrees to the average grain direction) with my Stanley No 7. The blade (which is original) I have sharpened with a chamber (curve) to scoop the grain. Tranversing results in small areas of tear out.
The next step would be using a jointer or a smoother plane to make passes at 45 degrees and then parallel to the grain. The process needs constant checking with straight edges and winding sticks to make sure you're still flat. But I don't have a good smoother... so it's back to the power tools.
Using a belt sander (Makita 9924DB) I first traverse and then move parallel to remove the plane marks.
Using a random orbit sander (Makita BO5021KX1) I then remove the belt sander marks.
In the end I have four boards 540mm x 860mm ready for joining.
This technique is not perfect, but it works. Hand planing to finish would be faster, more enjoyable, less dusty, and result in a better finish. (Though care must be taken for tear out.) However, you need a finely tuned smoother which I just don't have. Did I mention there is a wish list on this site....
Sneak Peak: The Next Step - Dovetailing the Sides
The sliding leg vice comes into it's own...