- Check for flatness with winding sticks.
- Determine areas that need to be planed down.
- Plane the surface with a jack plane.
- Use a toothed plane blade to add roughness to the top.
- Go over the surface with 36 grit sandpaper on a random orbit sander.
Shawn Graham of Worth Effort Woodworking, shared a video on YouTube detailing his approach to flattening and preparing a workbench top.
I know that many woodworkers stop once they’ve gone over the surface with a jack plane. But Chris Schwarz and many traditional hand tool woodworkers advocate for the grippy surface that a toothed plane leaves behind. Workholding is simplified when you’re not fighting a film finish on your workbench.
It’s a great video and in the end, he reveals that he uses two reference books. The “blue” and “red” workbench books – both by Christopher Schwarz and available at ShopWoodworking.com.