Woodworkers, I have an old HEAVY maple butcher block that has been in the family for many many years (late 1800's). Since the 70's it has really just stayed in storage out of sight and mind. I'm firm believer of using things vs hiding them away so I'm in the process of restoring it to it's former glory to use as a display / conversation piece in my home. This block has been used a lot and with that comes a lot of wear on the top surface. End result is large valleys in the block. I do find the valleys and nicks and dents part of the charm and story of the block and not interested in making it look brand new. But I do want the piece to be usable in some way - still deciding - coffee bar, serving table, etc... However, to be usable i need to smooth out the top a bit - not totally flat but usable flat with still a lot of character. Any thoughts on how to smooth out the top? I was considering a belt sander but worried about creating valleys / rows, I'm worried about using a hand plainer could damage the top or have issues with the end grain - Any other thoughts or advise? I will try to add pictures later as it won't let me at the moment.
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