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I’m trying to make some wood slices, which I want to have a smooth flat finish, and be the same thickness across the slice (to within say 0.25mm). Ideally, all the slices would be the same thickness, but if that’s not possible, that’s less critical. The slices are from oak, and are about 60-80mm diameter x ~6mm thick.

I’m going to run the slices through a CNC machine to v-carve them, so if the thickness of a slice isn’t consistent, the v-carving will vary in width&depth across the slice.

So far I’ve cut a few slices with a mitre saw which gives quite a rough finish (it’s got corse teeth), then sanded them flat with a bench belt sander, flipped them over and tried to sand the other side flat to the same thickness. I’ve tried to keep the thickness consistent by measuring them with callipers and sanding until it’s consistent, but it’s very slow and hard to get good results.

I’m sure I’m missing a better method. Should I be planing it? I’ve no experience with planes.

I’ve got various tools including a bench sander, but not got a planer or thicknesser. Happy to get some more tools, but can’t afford anything bulky as my workshop is low on space.

  • Are you aware of the stability problems with slices like this? Before you go ahead with this I think that would be the thing to look into first. – Graphus supports Monica Jun 18 '18 at 12:37
  • Now about how to get the slices smooth and to even out minor discrepancies in thickness, you can do this using planing but it's not easy work even with experience. I like to suggest hand-tool processes as much as possible, but if you don't already have a plane or two, know how to sharpen (very well!) and how to use a plane I wouldn't recommend it. – Graphus supports Monica Jun 18 '18 at 12:41
  • I’m aware that a slice of end-grain isn’t structurally very strong, but I’m expecting that won’t be an issue for ornamental stuff, and it’s been drying for 12m without splitting so I’m assuming it’s not going to now. – Dan W Jun 18 '18 at 14:59
  • But if there’s more I should be aware of, please educate me! I’ve no proper training in woodwork. – Dan W Jun 18 '18 at 15:00
  • @Graphus I’ve been thinking I should probably own and learn to use a plane, it seems like a major gap in my woodworking skills. Is this a particularly hard project to start with? I don’t really know where to start with planes - would a #4 plane be appropriate to start with? – Dan W Jun 18 '18 at 15:13
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Since you have a CNC router you can flatten the slices with a straight bit in the CNC.

  • That’s a good point! Might be a bit slow with my current bits, I’ll get a larger end-mill and give it a go. Not sure how smooth a finish it’ll give, but it should be flat, from which point I can give it a very light sand to smooth it. – Dan W Jun 18 '18 at 15:08

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