Planing Curly Maple Question

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Forum topic by AKSteve posted 07-16-2012 01:20 AM 3994 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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475 posts in 2300 days

07-16-2012 01:20 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question maple planer

I was wondering if anybody else has the same problem. if you look at the picture you will notice to spots on the board. It looks like it was planed against the grain, but I swiitched it up and I still get the same thing, Hopefullly I can sand it out later. what do others do if you get this problem? thanks !

-- Steve - Wasilla, Alaska

10 replies so far

View jmos's profile


827 posts in 2366 days

#1 posted 07-16-2012 01:28 AM

For highly figured wood you need a high angle of attack; a high angle frog for a traditional plane or a high bevel angle on a bevel up plane. All else fails use a card/cabinet scraper. I just did a project in QS white oak and ended up using a card/cabinet scraper for almost everything.

-- John

View LukieB's profile


966 posts in 2327 days

#2 posted 07-16-2012 01:50 AM

I’ve had the same problem on quite a few different woods. Maple, Cherry, Alder. I hate to say it, but when I gets bad enough some new planer knives usually takes care of it for me.(at least for awhile) As far as dealing with the damage done, I agree with John, high angle hand plane and/or card scraper should clean it up nicely.

-- Lucas, "Someday woodworks will be my real job, until then, there's this"

View AKSteve's profile


475 posts in 2300 days

#3 posted 07-16-2012 02:24 AM

Thanks for your responses, I have a pretty good scraper I can use. and get my planer blades sharpened. I have been running alot of hardwoods thru the planer lately. it’s probably time to sharpen them or replace them.

-- Steve - Wasilla, Alaska

View WIwoodworker's profile


65 posts in 3695 days

#4 posted 07-16-2012 02:44 AM

Hi Steve. If it’s tear out there are a number of ways to reduce/eliminate that problem (planing with the grain, sharp knives, slower feed rate, light passes, etc).

If the spots are more like depressions in the wood then the issue is likely insufficient chip removal on your planer. Check the dust collection path to ensure it’s clear (bench top planers can clog easily especially if you’re taking aggressive passes). If the path is clear maybe take a look at your dust collection system to ensure you have a suitable sized system for your needs.

Just some thoughts that came to mind. Good luck with your project.

-- Allen, Milwaukee, WI

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#5 posted 07-16-2012 03:05 AM

Along with planing at an angel you need to damped figured wood. If you have access to a planner with a spiral head planer they do a much better when planing figured wood.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3122 days

#6 posted 07-16-2012 08:28 PM

yeah.. like everyone says… that is just a grain tear out… fiddle back maple does that, where the grain undulates in four directions.. and although the verdict is still out, the most recent theory is fiddle back figure comes from a tree which in it’s youth was subjected to repeated high winds and stresses and once the fiddle back figure begins the tree “remembers” to grow in stressful repetition making quilted and tiger stripes as it gets older. If that is true.. each grain is just a little spring ready to pop out… so literally you are taking out little scoops of wood no matter which direction you feed it. Like Steve, says lightly spray with water or a softener (that will keep the grain from splitting off so easily), sharper blades, and light passes in the planer. I am working on a frame of high figured maple right now… it burns, it twists, it is a PITA, but looks amazing and worth the extra time.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View chrisstef's profile


17382 posts in 3003 days

#7 posted 07-16-2012 08:33 PM

I just went through the same frustration. I got real friendly with my #80 cabinet scraper and it seemed to be the ticket.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3102 days

#8 posted 07-16-2012 08:45 PM

I have given up planing highly figured wood. I guess I am in too much of a hurry for light passes, or my planer is crappy! I use a drum sander and 60 grit paper, then 80 grit. much less frustrating for me.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View WoodworkingGeek's profile


181 posts in 2689 days

#9 posted 07-16-2012 10:33 PM

I helps if you dampen the the board a little before running it thru the planner.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2983 days

#10 posted 07-17-2012 12:15 AM

I deal a lot with curly and birdseye maple and so far the magic combination for me has been: put my planer on its fastest RPM, use either brand new or just sharpened blades, and mist it gently right before using. Works great.

I will also admit: I plane a LOT of maple, and most of it is more straight grained. But I do the curly and birdseye stuff enough that I have a separate set of blades I bust out just for them. I also have the ability to take a day and do nothing but plane the fancy stuff, otherwise it would not be worth my time.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

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