Planning problem

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Forum topic by Mark posted 06-16-2013 12:43 AM 1333 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mark's profile


916 posts in 1996 days

06-16-2013 12:43 AM

Can some body please tell me why I keep getting these damned tear outs? I resharpened the blade. I was planning along no problem for 5/10 min at about 45° with the #5 Stanley and damned if I ddin’t pick up a couple a divots I could drop a golf ball in. This isn’t the first time either. It’s gettin’ kind frustrating.
Not the greatest picture ever, but I hope you get the drift. Thank you.

-- Mark

13 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2589 days

#1 posted 06-16-2013 12:56 AM

I’ve got some poplar that des the same thing. You said you were plane at 45*. Are you trying to smooth or jack?

I wind up planning the poplar with a high angle.

How tight is your month? Try taking lighter shavings.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View mantwi's profile


312 posts in 1918 days

#2 posted 06-16-2013 01:03 AM

I can offer four possibilities. The throat of the plane may be too wide, try adjusting the frog to close the gap this will put more support on the wood ahead of the blade and may prevent tear out. Are you planing against the grain? Even planing diagonally against the grain can cause tear out. I see what appears to be little splits (the black lines) these could indicate ring shake which is internal splitting on a tree caused by you guessed it, high winds. And lastly is it possible the wood is case hardened as a result of improper drying? This will cause the wood to be brittle and behave unpredictably when machining or working it with hand tools. Case hardened wood can literally fly apart in a planer or on a table saw etc. These are only guesses but they will give you some things to consider. I’ll keep an eye on this thread, I’d like to know what the true cause is.

View Handtooler's profile


1574 posts in 2154 days

#3 posted 06-16-2013 01:10 AM

If its cypress the center grain cathedrals will often just peel out leaving a divot whether its power planed or hand planed; i’ve found.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View chrisstef's profile


17421 posts in 3028 days

#4 posted 06-16-2013 01:16 AM

+1 handtooler and extra points for gettin your Magnum PI on in calling cypress. I worked cypress once and i could literally peel layers of wood and they all started at the cathedral.

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

View Mark's profile


916 posts in 1996 days

#5 posted 06-16-2013 02:01 PM

Thanks for the good advise gents. It’s a 24” round Cherry table top. I had just about got it fairly flat, but still a bit of a cup to the top. I ripped the pieces from several 4/4 X 8 planks and when I did the glue up I reversed the grain on every second board. The mouth of the plane is fairly wide, so I’ll try closing as much as I can. I was taking very fine shavings and got to a point where it wouldn’t cut, so I dropped the blade just a tad. ‘Bout 5 strokes latter… I’m sending a post on LJ

-- Mark

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2308 days

#6 posted 06-16-2013 02:25 PM

This might be a rookie comment and maybe I was just dumb for not figuring it our right away, but…

When I did my first glue-up of a walnut counter top (luckily a very small section) I alternated the boards for cup direction, but what I failed to do was to look at the sides of the board to see which direction the grain was going on each board. The result was that on 3 of the 4 boards if I planed end to end I was fine, but ONE BOARD was going against the grain. Had I simply spun that one board end for end, I would have been fine.

So now I look at the ENDS of the boards to see the probable cup direction but I also look at the SIDES of the boards to make sure I have all the grain running the same direction. ... to the greatest degree possible, of course. Sometimes I think you might want to get better matching on the face and know that planing might be a challenge, but if possible I’ll get them all running the same.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3670 days

#7 posted 06-16-2013 03:28 PM

Try back beveling the iron degrees. This brings the effective
pitch up to 50 degrees and is more a scraping cut.

View Handtooler's profile


1574 posts in 2154 days

#8 posted 06-16-2013 04:09 PM

Asking not instructing. Back bevel set about the thickness of a 6” engineer’s scale and about 21/2” back from the iron’s edge or on the edge of the water stone???

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View groland's profile


183 posts in 3434 days

#9 posted 06-16-2013 04:24 PM

I don’t have much experience with this having made just two small end tables, but I did try the technique mentioned above to both alternate the end grain (smile, frown, smile, etc.) and do a bit of examination and test surface hand planing the faces to determine the direction that gave smoothest results. Maybe I have just been lucky in the boards I have had to work with, but so far, so good.


View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 1983 days

#10 posted 06-16-2013 04:52 PM

Here are the 5 suggestions for curing tearout from Wearing's The Essential Woodworker. Highly recommended book and it’s cheap and not too long. The Kindle and Epub editions are even cheaper.

1. Reverse planing direction
2. Sharpen
3. Finer cut
4. Set cap iron closer to blade edge
5. Close up the plane’s mouth

If you had the mouth wide open that is most likely your biggest problem, but try them all. Also try running your plane in the direction of the grain, but skew the plane body 45 degrees. Wearing doesn’t list that, but it sure seems to work. He also doesn’t mention higher pitch like Loren does but that’s common advice for hardwood too. Have never used a toothed blade, but Lie Nielsen sells them for very difficult grain as well.

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2205 days

#11 posted 06-16-2013 06:07 PM

You’ve got some good advice here, so try that first. I bought a toothing plane for those pieces of wood that won’t behave, the ones where you do everything right and still get bad tearout. I’ll get it close with a regular plane, then switch to the toothing plane, and finish up with a cabinet scraper or scraper plane.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Mark's profile


916 posts in 1996 days

#12 posted 06-16-2013 10:29 PM

As always, just a mass of good info. My thanks to all. Definitely have some options to try.

-- Mark

View Mark's profile


916 posts in 1996 days

#13 posted 06-20-2013 02:44 PM

I had tried before to close the mouth, but the casting was fairly rough and the frog would only move about half it available length. I took my #5 apart yesterday and took a rat tail file to the screw holes on the frog and ground a bit of the lip on screws that secure the frog to the base. I was able to close the opening quite a bit. After re honing the blade and closing the mouth I found it made quite a difference in the results. There is still a bit of tear out but not like before, and I think if I pay more attention to my initial lay up with regards to grain flow before gluing, that’s gotta help.
As always my thanks to all concerned for your support and expertise.

-- Mark

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