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Forum topic by markrules posted 12-18-2007 04:42 PM 1200 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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146 posts in 4138 days

12-18-2007 04:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cherry tearout hand plane walnut

I’ve been working on a breadboard and used 3/4” brazillian cherry and some walnut. When handplaning the cherry, it seems to rip some portions while making the adjacent areas very smooth. When I turn the board the other way, it clears up the torn out areas and messes up the smooth areas… Almost seems like the wood grew in two directions.

Is there any way to salvage wood like this in the future? For this project, I’ve sanded as much as I could and will just leave the wood with “character”.

7 replies so far

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3985 days

#1 posted 12-18-2007 04:49 PM

Use a 112 scraper plane. You have twisted grain and there is no way to get going with the grain. You can do it with a card scraper but it is tough. I had a chunk of Cocobolo that was doing the same thing but when I put it through the planer, it came out fine. Go figure!!

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 3841 days

#2 posted 12-18-2007 05:21 PM

It’s about the angle of the plane, lower angle is good for softwood, higher angle is good for harder wood. Where the wood grows together, the wood is dense so the low angle of your plane digs into the fiber, adds to that the change of grain direction, makes it even harder. The scraper plane will solve it. But you’ll need one. Try to adjust your plane to the highest angle, or if possible, flip your iron around to produce a higher angle for that area (it will dull the iron quicker), and adjust for removing the thinnest amount possible, hold at 45 degrees to the work and use it as a shearing plane. Clamp a sacrificial piece next to it to prevent tear out and as a support for the overhand of the plane body.

-- Thuan

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4115 days

#3 posted 12-19-2007 12:08 AM

Although I agree with what been said…

This has worked in the past for me, but only for final passes;Wipe the surface with a damp sponge, take a pass. Seems to soften the fibers just enough so that the plane does not dig in. Do hold you plane at an angle to make more of a shearing cut.

-- Nicky

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 3841 days

#4 posted 12-19-2007 05:21 AM

Forgive me, I should have used the word “skew” in my response above. The thought behind the skew plane or the skew chisel is to reduce friction. A two inch blade would remove 2” width of wood. If you hold the 2” blade at another angles, let’s say for easy math, 45 degrees, then the same 2” blade would only cut 1.4” width of wood. More sharp blade per fiber of wood means less friction for tear out. The shear comes from the way the blade shaves the wood. The leading edge of the blade starts the cut as the trailing ends of the blade follows along like an arrowhead. Now, I don’t have skew plane so I hold my wooden plane at an angle and it does work on those difficult figured woods.

-- Thuan

View markrules's profile


146 posts in 4138 days

#5 posted 12-19-2007 05:48 AM

I understand what you’re talking about Thuan… I’ll try this when I get this stuff again and see what I can make it do. I was trying to plane by holding it off center. I also tried planing at a 45 to the grain.

I’m learning how to use a new #7 plane and I see that I have lots left to learn.

Thanks for the help with this. I’m glad to know that what I had is difficult to work with. I appreciate the tips.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4019 days

#6 posted 12-19-2007 07:02 AM

Mark -

I built a small table with Brazilian cherry this summer. I have tried to plane this type of wood…very tough. It has grain reversals everywhere. In the straight grain sections, it almost has bands going diffrerent directions every 1/4 to 3/8”...side by side.

I used a Stanley no.80 cabinet scraper with good results…(the no.4 in the pic below pretty much just sat there after I figured it wasn’t too safe to use! Only used it for very very light shavings to get burn marks out)

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4086 days

#7 posted 12-19-2007 07:51 AM

Sometimes sanding is the only way to go. I agree with everyone thus far. I have had success moistening curly or reversing wood with mineral spirits prior to machine jointing and planing, and using a card scraper to remove mill marks. If you do use a RO sander to finish up, be sure to do your final sanding by hand to remove any potential swirl marks. I usually machine sand to 320 grit in these instances, then back off to 220 for the hand sanding, prior to finishing. If you decide to use Mineral Oil for the breadboard finish this shouldn’t be as critical an issue as when applying a film finish. That just has a tendency to amplify any random orbit swirl marks that might occur.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

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