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I attached a 8'x3/4"x1 1/2" strip of red oak to the edge of multiple layers of plywood in order to make the plywood more rigid. Altogether, the three layers of plywood are 1 3/8" thick. This means that the wood strip is 1/8" too thick, so I need to shave that off.

I came up with the idea to use my oscilating tool with wood blade, but this oak is tough to cut through. I've only been able to shave off about 5" before I gave up. In addition to being hard to cut, it burns the holy heck out of the wood to the point that I am wondering if it's actually going to catch fire or combust (although I do love the smell of burning wood).

I tried a chisel and it's a lot easier, but it doesn't do a very clean and even job. I would like to shave off the edge of this so that it's flush to the surface of the plywood. The oscilating tool seems to do the best job, but at the risk of burning my house down.

Feel free to edit this question's title if you think it's too localized. I also couldn't find any other good tags, so feel free to add those, too.

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The traditional tool is a block plane. This is basically a chisel protruding through a smooth flat base that solves the evenness problem. block plane

A variation on that is a tool like a Sureform. This is a hand tool that has numerous small chisel-like edges that shaves of curls of wood. sureform

In either case, once ytou have removed most of the stock, you can finish the edge and get it smooth with the plywood by using a hand sanding block or an orbital power sander. sanding block orbital sander

All of these approaches are a but slower and more work than a router, but do not require specialty tools (and give the special satisfaction that comes with working on wood by hand).

  • A block plane is very useful. If you get one, don't go with el cheapo. A decent block plane will be $20-25. – Edwin Jan 23 '13 at 15:30
  • I bought a Stanley block plane on the way home from work today and it did everything I needed it to do. I also made sure it cost at least $20. – oscilatingcretin Jan 23 '13 at 22:02
  • I would use a belt sander instead of an orbital sander. It is more aggressive in taking out wood given OP has a long strip. – Quoc Vu Jan 19 at 5:14
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The tool of choice for this type of shaving operation is a router with a ball bearing edge cutting bit. Since the edge that you attached is 3/4 inch thick you would an edge cutting bit that has at least a 7/8 inch cutting edge.

The picture below shows this type of trimming operation in process.

enter image description here

Note that when you set out to do this for your project you will need a more powerful router than the small single hand sized unit shown in the picture. Shown is a small router known as a laminate and veneer trimming router. Also it can be tricky balancing a larger sized router along the 1 3/8 inch edge of your plywood pieces so use care to be safe. I also suggest that before using a router to spend some time researching online and become familiar with the proper cutting direction for router use and to learn about some jigging possibilities that you can use to help stabilize the router base by clamping on another parallel edge of wood or plywood that is spaced away from the cut piece by more than the width of the router bit. The picture below shows one type of jig clamped in place to provide more support for the router during an edge trimming operation.

enter image description here

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This can't be done on the table saw? Set the fence to the wide side and take off the 1/8"

  • It'd be a lot of fun TRYING to do it while attached to a 4X8 on a table saw, but the result would likely be catastrophic. Cutting to width before attaching to plywood would go pretty easy. – Wayfaring Stranger Mar 23 '14 at 17:22
  • There are ways to make that cut on the table saw safely, but it's not as trivial as it sounds. Several different versions of jigs have been developed for the purpose, each having its own (other) uses and limitations. – keshlam Dec 4 '14 at 23:42
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You can also use a band saw. Just set it to 1/8" and go really slow :'(

  • 3
    Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Unfortunately, the OP was talking about cutting the edge of the oak parallel to the plywood, and didn't specify the width of the plywood. If the plywood is more than a foot or two wide (which is likely) then it won't fit in the throat of any reasonable band saw. – Daniel Griscom Aug 3 '18 at 20:38
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In case anyone was wondering how long this would take with sand paper only..

I had to remove a 1/8" layer from a piece of 18"x1"x1" pine and it took me about half an hour with 60 grit paper.

I drew a line and used a flat piece of scrap wood for a sanding block so it came out level enough for what I needed. However, I had to take multiple breaks and change my shirt afterwards.

Definitely should've just picked up a block plane. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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I had to take about 1/32” off of the end of a red oak riser. Stock 3/8”x 6 1/2” x 34 1/2” - I used my hand saw angled at about 5 degrees to the work, taking small strokes it took about 15 minutes and a little sanding with 100 grit sandpaper. I have twelve of these to do so I hope my sawing becomes more precise.

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