Running hardwood thru planer?

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Forum topic by ChesapeakeBob posted 11-26-2011 11:36 PM 5377 views 2 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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366 posts in 3390 days

11-26-2011 11:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: planer

Many years ago, my high school shop teacher told me to apply a little water before running hardwood like oak through the planer. I thought of this today while I was planing hardwood cutting boards. Does anyone use my old shop teacher’s “trick?” Any real advantages?

-- Chesapeake Bob, Southern Maryland

28 replies so far

View bent's profile


311 posts in 3576 days

#1 posted 11-26-2011 11:41 PM

maybe to raise the grain on the board, or cut down on dust?

View a1Jim's profile


116906 posts in 3484 days

#2 posted 11-26-2011 11:44 PM

It’s a good trick to use on highly figured wood to help prevent tear out.

-- Custom furniture

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Bill White

4861 posts in 3868 days

#3 posted 11-26-2011 11:53 PM

It’ll work. Just allow the wood to dry before ya run it. Don’t want to run wet wood thru the ‘chine. That’ll make a mess.
It raises the grain, but then cuts off what is raised. Think that you’ll have to do it again after planing/staining before sanding the final surface? Yep.


View a1Jim's profile


116906 posts in 3484 days

#4 posted 11-26-2011 11:58 PM

Hate to disagree but the wet wood is what keeps the wood from tearing out.

-- Custom furniture

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2484 days

#5 posted 11-27-2011 12:36 AM

Yep, that’s what I learned as well Jim.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1096 posts in 3715 days

#6 posted 11-27-2011 12:42 AM

I never knew! Thanks. Will test on my planer with my next piece of figured wood.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View usnret's profile


184 posts in 2416 days

#7 posted 11-27-2011 12:57 AM

Like Jim said for figured wood wet it before you plane it. You dont soak the wood just use a damp cloth on the wood to get the surface moist before you plane it. Works like a charm, I have done this and no problems with my portable planer.

-- Chief Petty Officer USN(RET) 1991-2011

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3652 days

#8 posted 11-27-2011 12:59 AM

I used this method a lot when planing ash, with all of it’s crazy grain directions. Since I changed over to the Shelix head on my planer, I don’t have to worry about it. And yes, you don’t want to let the board dry out, or it won’t do any good.

View a1Jim's profile


116906 posts in 3484 days

#9 posted 11-27-2011 01:00 AM

Another good point is since I’ve owned a spiral head planner I haven’t found it necessary to wet figured wood to stop tear out.
Opps looks like Tim and I were posting the same time ,I didn’t mean to repeat his comment..

-- Custom furniture

View MNWOODWORKER's profile


105 posts in 3492 days

#10 posted 11-27-2011 07:55 AM

I have done it with pretty good results on figured wood, but since getting a drum sander figured wood never meets my planer.

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3449 days

#11 posted 11-27-2011 08:28 AM

used that technique today with some hard rock maple….works great

-- Childress Woodworks

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 2958 days

#12 posted 11-27-2011 10:53 AM

I’m planing pommelle sapele tonight with a DW 735, and even with fresh blades and a light cut, it looked like
it had been hit with shotgun pellets. I remembered this trick, and as that Navy guy ( thanks for your service, and do all the boats still have those little round windows?) and Jim said, don’t soak it. Moisten with a cloth, run at an angle, and Most of the tear-out will be gone.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View Knothead62's profile


2581 posts in 2868 days

#13 posted 11-27-2011 09:27 PM

“do all the boats still have those little round windows?) ”
Never saw one on a submarine. Interesting thread as I have some pecan to plane this winter.

View tamboti's profile


207 posts in 3049 days

#14 posted 11-28-2011 01:31 PM

Hi I use parrafine as it is inert and dries quite quickly does not affect the wood in any way, learnt this from some full time carvers who were carving hard wood chair legs. Regards Roger in RSA

-- Africa is not for sissies

View toddbeaulieu's profile


810 posts in 2911 days

#15 posted 11-12-2012 01:19 AM

I just love reading about how dumb I am.

I searched “planing wet wood” to see if that’s why I had such a hard time tonight with simple 2x material. I tried planing it both ways when I saw tearout and still got terrible results on most the boards.

My theory: maybe they had too much moisture? Apparently, that ain’t the case.

So now my theory is dull blades? Which is irritating since they’re new … except I ran a bunch of reclaimed maple treads through them (with finish). I think that must have killed them.

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