Planing edges square

With the face sides on the outside, set both boards back-to-back and level in a vice. Plane the edges straight and square, using the longest bench plane you can find, preferably a try plane.

Butt joint

Tongue-and-groove joint

Matching edges

It is good practice to keep the edges as square as possible. However, provided boards have been planed as a pair, they will fit together and produce a flat surface, even when the edges are not exactly square.

Timber selection is as important as good edge-to-edge joints when making a wide panel from solid wood. To ensure that the panel will remain flat, try to use quarter-sawn wood - that is, with the end-grain growth rings running perpendicular to the face side of each board. If that is not possible, arrange them so that the direction of ring growth alternates from one board to the next. Also try to w ensure that the surface grain on all boards runs in the same direction, to facilitate final cleaning up of the panel with a plane. Before you get to work, number each board and mark the face side.

Tongued joint

Checking for straight edges

It is vital that the edges are straight if you intend to use a rubbed joint; check them using a metal straightedge. If the boards are to be clamped together, a very slight hollow is acceptable.

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