Planer finish issue

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Forum topic by skeemer posted 09-13-2012 10:00 PM 1745 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View skeemer's profile


95 posts in 2561 days

09-13-2012 10:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: planer

Earlier this year I bought a DeWalt 735 planer for a steal and am just now getting to use it after a hectic summer. I’m finding that the planer often leaves very small scallops in the surface, and sometimes leaves grooves behind. It does not happen every pass, only sometimes. I am brand new to the planer world so I’m not even sure where to begin to diagnose this problem. Hopefully the pictures below show up well.

This is a cedar board that shows the scalloping.

This is the same cedar board with some of the grooves in it.

This is a maple board with the same scalloping.

Is this an issue with the knives? Am I taking too much off in one pass? I’m taking 1/32” on a pass generally, up to 1/16” max. Another guess I had was maybe the power supply is getting bogged down? I have been running my 6 gallon shop vac on the same outlet as dust collection while the planer is running.

None of these marks are deep enough that they won’t come out with sanding, but I believe this shouldn’t be happening and I should have a smoother surface out of this planer. Perhaps my expectations are too high?

Thanks for any suggestions!

4 replies so far

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3581 days

#1 posted 09-13-2012 10:07 PM

You describe these as grooves, but are they actually raised? That would indicate small chips in the blade. The scallops are what I call “chip outs” (I don’t know where I got that, but I didn’t make it up myself). They usually occur where there is a change in grain direction and the knives are cutting against the grain, such as near a knot. They can be minimized by taking lighter passes or using sharp knives, but they sometimes happen.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2712 days

#2 posted 09-13-2012 10:17 PM

I’d say that if you took a look at your blades, up close, you would find many dents in the blades where they have hit harder things than they can handle. Can be anything from dirt to glue to nails to just a really stubborn knot. That would be the first thing, sharpen or change the blades.
Second, you said you have some scallops at the end. That is what we call snipe, where the board is off one infeed roller, still under the blades, and the blades take off a little extra at the end.
The general way to get rid of this quickly is to raise your infeed and outfeed table about 40 thousandths of an inch at the end of the tables in relation to the bed of the planer. It keeps the infeed end up and the incoming board down when entering, and the outfeed end up and the remaining wood down when coming out. There are other, more significant measurements you should make to ensure your planer is in spec., but for an initial fix, raising the tables a little is a nice quick fix. And change and or sharpen those blades!!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 3096 days

#3 posted 09-13-2012 10:17 PM

If there raised your knives are chipped, to fix this you can either feed your work to a different part of the knives (more to the left or right).

If there not chipped try changing blades and taking lighter passes.

Also remember to feed your work with the grain not against the grain, you should make sure thats not the problem first. That won’t fix all the tear out if its the problem since its not uncommon for grain to change directions in the middle of a board but it helps a lot.

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3510 days

#4 posted 09-13-2012 10:45 PM

cedar can be very brittle to work with especially around knots.

Take care to brush off your stock with something like a wire bristle brush to get any dirt or silica etc before running through the jointer and then planer. That dirt can really dull knives quickly.

Like the others have pointed out take shallow passes and raise your infeed and outfeed tables to minimize the snipe.

Oh yeah almost forgot, it helps a lot to measure you board thickness before you set the planer height as many times I will find a thicker section than that at the end I am going to feed first. I will set to the thickest section to knock that down first.

You can tell if you have not done this if you see that little black arrow jump way up when you run a board through. That indicates it just hit a much thicker section than you had accounted for when you set your 1/32 pass.

Ask me how I learned this. The hard way!!

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