I took the time to mill up some cauls from a slab of magnolia I had sitting in the shop. This would help keep things flat during glue-ups. Then I started pairing up the panels.
Note, a quick trim of the two +13" panels to final length on the RA (after squaring up the two outside edges of the table) meant I just had to cut the centre plank a hair oversize and flush the ends of the centre plank to the others after the last glue-up, this made final planing of the end grain really straight forward.
The board & glue-up preparation payed off, a close to flat-as-flat-can-be table top straight out the clamps. Something that didn't go unnoticed...when I took the table top for thickness sanding, the guy who helped me declared it the nicest table top glue-up he'd ever seen, "how did you do that?", and it looked like he'd seen a few glue-ups in his time, this made me feel all warm inside.
Having hand planed my last planked table top, I thought I'd give sanding a try on this one. I was also keen to explore the efficiency of the wide belt sander for future projects. Being so flat already, I'm not sure the top should have gone through the thickness sander. It did need to come done a 32nd or so to clear some tear out from machining, but perhaps a stoke sander would have been more appropriate. The thickness sander leaves lines (that meant a couple extra passes with the palm sander), whereas the stroke sander gives a cleaner finish.