Is there a way to adjust the feed rate on a bench top Planer?

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Forum topic by MikeyCZ posted 09-14-2014 10:30 PM 1214 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MikeyCZ's profile


31 posts in 1604 days

09-14-2014 10:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: planer feed-rate tear out adjustment hickory question plane

First post on a forum ever! I’ve been reading the LJ Forum for a while now and you guys are always very knowledgeable and helpful so here goes! I have a 13” Steel City straight blade planer that works pretty good overall but seems to feed the lumber through at a pretty quick rate of speed. This is fine for medium to low density wood. Lately I’ve been using more and more hickory/pecan because its readily available, a beautiful looking wood IMHO and comes at a decent price. BUT, I can’t seem to get my planer to not cause major tear out on this wood. I’ve tried multiple different pieces, very light passes (less than a 1/64”), wetting the wood a little to soften it, and have changed out the blades twice to make sure they were nice and sharp. Still has tear out. The only other thing I can think of is that the feed rate is too fast? I know its not a variable speed planer, but does anybody know a way of adjusting the rollers or motor to slow it down a bit? Or any other advice about tear out you think would help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

7 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3849 days

#1 posted 09-14-2014 11:10 PM

There’s no way to slow it down. There are many 2
speed planers out there, some of them benchtop

To reduce or eliminate tearout a steeper cutting angle
can be achieved by back beveling the knives 5 degrees.

Sometimes feeding the stock at an angle helps.

View jmartel's profile


8233 posts in 2351 days

#2 posted 09-14-2014 11:51 PM

If you can open it up and pull the gear that drives the feed rollers, you might be able to find another gear that will fit with more teeth.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2891 days

#3 posted 09-15-2014 12:18 AM

You have tried most of the anti-tearout fixes that I know of. I don’t have a tear out problem with pecan or hickory but I always try to feel the grain and plane with (rather than against) the grain. Remember the blades are moving opposite to the direction of the feed rollers. Hope this makes sense.

To put it another way, try not to “lift” the grain with the blades.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Rayne's profile


1108 posts in 1740 days

#4 posted 09-15-2014 01:43 AM

I just read this today, but have you tried making sure the grain of the wood is facing towards the feed input? It supposedly helps with tear-out problems. Just a thought.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3849 days

#5 posted 09-15-2014 01:59 AM

I mark the edge of boards with a marker or lumber
crayon to indicate the dominant direction of
grain “runout” and this reduces grain lifting.

On longer boards usually the grain runout reverses
at least once however so planing “with the grain”
doesn’t work so great all the time, but it’s
always worth a shot.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5285 posts in 1921 days

#6 posted 09-15-2014 03:00 AM

The gearbox is something you won’t be able to change. The chain drive from the gearbox to the rollers could be altered with a smaller drive sprocket, but the chain length would have to be perfect, which is very unlikely. In short, it would require a substantial level of re-engineering to do which would almost certainly not be feasible. As far as other idea to reduce the tear out you’re experiencing; sharp blades, which you’ve already done, or think about a helical cutter head which usually cost as much as a new planer alone.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View MikeyCZ's profile


31 posts in 1604 days

#7 posted 09-15-2014 03:32 AM

Thanks for the feedback guys. I did try feeding the boards in the direction of the grain but it ran both directions as Loren mentioned. It would smooth out one side and tear out another. I figured it would be something that required more work than it was worth like changing gears or something but thought I might get lucky and find a quick solution. Kinda frustrating, but my wife gave me the best advice of all. She said to quit bitching and buy a better planer. So I did. My new Jet 15” helical cutter planer will be here next Monday. Hopefully I’ll have better luck with this one. Thanks again for your help.

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