Running hardwood thru planer?

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Forum topic by ChesapeakeBob posted 978 days ago 2495 views 2 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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341 posts in 2088 days

978 days ago

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 2274 days

#1 posted 978 days ago

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

View a1Jim's profile


112002 posts in 2182 days

#2 posted 978 days ago

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

-- Custom furniture

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3355 posts in 2565 days

#3 posted 978 days ago

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


112002 posts in 2182 days

#4 posted 978 days ago

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

-- Custom furniture

View NiteWalker's profile


2709 posts in 1182 days

#5 posted 978 days ago

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

942 posts in 2412 days

#6 posted 978 days ago

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 1113 days

#7 posted 978 days ago

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 2349 days

#8 posted 978 days ago

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


112002 posts in 2182 days

#9 posted 978 days ago

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 2190 days

#10 posted 978 days ago

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 2147 days

#11 posted 978 days ago

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

-- Childress Woodworks

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 1656 days

#12 posted 978 days ago

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


2345 posts in 1566 days

#13 posted 977 days ago

“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 1747 days

#14 posted 977 days ago

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


389 posts in 1609 days

#15 posted 627 days ago

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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