So, today, I installed the bearers on each end and laid the boards on the base with my fingers crossed. The boards don't rock! What a relief. For some reason, the boards aren't quite the same thickness but, as best I can tell, I'll need to remove less than 1/16" of material. It looks like most of it will be front to back, which seems more straightforward than trying to take out twist. Reason for optimism anyway.
I confess that I also wanted to see what the bench is going to look like. Here it is:
I'm more than pleased, thrilled really. I have more work to do on the base, so the top boards are back on stickers. Assuming that I can in fact flatten the top successfully, this bench is going to more than meet my expectations going in.
After this, I went back to installing and planing bearers. I have been doing a fair amount of planing the past few days and was tiring. I thought I should stop and sharpen but, on a whim, I applied some paraffin to the base of the plane. I literally almost fell and, for a second, thought I was going to lose the plane off the other side of the base! My old wartime #7 has a corrugated base and I just don't understand how a little paraffin can make this much difference, but it does. I have tried this before without having much impact. Is it something about the fir? How is this possible?