Planing Face Grain vs QS grain

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Forum topic by ScottStewart posted 03-11-2014 08:39 PM 1098 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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120 posts in 2334 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


5961 posts in 2413 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.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3787 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


10170 posts in 2653 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


902 posts in 2571 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 3483 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


120 posts in 2334 days

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

Thank you for all the help.


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