Planing Face Grain vs QS grain

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Forum topic by ScottStewart posted 03-11-2014 08:39 PM 646 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ScottStewart's profile


116 posts in 1223 days

03-11-2014 08:39 PM

So as I am learning to use planes, I am trying to 6 square boards. I am using some red oak boards for practice, and when I use the jointer on the face grain side, everything is fine. When I use the same cut and blade on the quartersawn side, I get horrible tearout. Is this typical, or am I doing something wrong?

Thanks for any ideas.

6 replies so far

View JayT's profile


3887 posts in 1302 days

#1 posted 03-11-2014 08:46 PM

It’s typical. Quartersawn oak can be a bear to plane—it likes to tear out with little provocation. Heck, you look at it wrong and there’ll be problems. The only ways I’ve been successful is either a sharp high angle plane or a scraper.

-- "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." Abraham Lincoln

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5784 posts in 2676 days

#2 posted 03-11-2014 09:18 PM

Or as said often enough be4 my sisters false teeth twenty eight tungsten carbide, and the pride of the national health service. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View theoldfart's profile


6586 posts in 1542 days

#3 posted 03-11-2014 09:41 PM

Also try skewing your plane, the angle helps.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View jmos's profile


682 posts in 1460 days

#4 posted 03-11-2014 10:01 PM

General tips to reduce tearout: really sharp blade, chip breaker set really close to the cutting edge (if your plane has one), very light cut, make sure you’re planing with the grain, and, as mentioned, sharpen at a higher angle, skew plane. I’ve usually had decent luck with red oak but found white oak to be a real bear.

-- John

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 2372 days

#5 posted 03-12-2014 12:12 AM

You may well be dealing with medullary rays tearing free. Rays can be pretty difficult, especially coarse ones like in oak. One thing that helps is learning to read the grain. Forget all the stuff you’ve read about using the annular rings to read grain in woods with a visible ray structure. Look at the way the rays tend to lean. It’s usually in the same direction that the annular rings run but often the rays indicate working in the opposite direction annular rings indicate. Rays are mother nature’s cross-grain construction and have the weakest structural bond to the surrounding wood. Here’s an example in beech.

Look for the direction the ends of the rays, the dark short lines, and plane in a direction that won’t tend to lift them. You’ll see these best on flat sawn surfaces indicating planing direction on the quarter sawn surfaces. The annular rings in this piece are lighter and the lightness is caused by the beginning of fungal decay. It just happens to well illustrate the difference between rays and annular rings. In this photo the rays run the opposite direction of the annular rings.

Of coarse all the information about a well tuned and sharpened plane is important as well.

View ScottStewart's profile


116 posts in 1223 days

#6 posted 03-12-2014 08:26 PM

Thank you for all the help.


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