How to Level a Wood Slab

Premium Video Preview: Log in or become a member to get full access.
Duration: 8:19

Membership Options

Premium

Sign up for premium membership and get access to our best woodworking videos and projects. Learn new woodworking techniques and tips from friendly master woodworkers. Anytime. Anywhere.
Monthly $6.00
Annually $55.00

Gold

Upgrade to GOLD membership and get unlimited access to our entire library of premium woodworking videos, receive discounts on DVDs, video downloads, and classes in the shop. In addition, you’ll receive eight video downloads, three full-length classes, access to GOLD member LIVE events, and so much more!
Annually $129.00

Perhaps you want to build one of those “River Tables” that are becoming famous around the internet, or maybe you want to build a simple coffee table using hairpin legs supporting a big ‘ol slab from a tree that was cut down in your neighborhood. Either way, you’ll need to learn how to level a wood slab. One thing is for certain; you don’t want to skip this step because the project will simply not turn out as nice as you had hoped. Learning how to level a wood slab is not particularly difficult, but rather just takes some effort and patience. This is a useful skill that can help in a number of fun projects.

Knowing how to level a wood slab is important for your project, and requires that you follow a few simple steps:

“Read” the slab. First you’ll want to get a general sense of how “out of flat” the slab is, and look for severe high spots. No special tools are needed for this; just your eyes will do.

Deal with major high spots first. You’ll want to use a quick and rough way to flatten out any spots that are significantly higher than the rest.

Use a router and sled for the rest. Using a sled system as George demonstrates, you will carefully make multiple passes across the slab to bring it down to a flat condition.

Now that you know how to level a wood slab, and you know that flattening wood slabs with a router is not as hard as it might seem, you might want to explore the process of gluing up big slabs. This will be a useful skill if you want to build a “waterfall table”, which is also a project that has grown in popularity in recent years.