Burning Problems when Ripping Maple

      Woodworkers discuss why a table-saw may be burning 3/4-inch Maple. September 10, 2007

I always have trouble with maple burning while ripping on the table saw. I am using a new Forrest Woodworker, 5hp cabinet saw with good fence. It just seems like I can't get away from it. The maple I'm ripping is only 3/4". Any ideas?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor J:
Maple is a bugger to cut, but with a new blade and a 5 hp motor, you shouldn't have any problems. I would recommend checking your fence alignment. It should be out a little more (about the thickness of a sheet of paper) at the back of the blade than the front. I'm guessing that's your problem. That and be sure to keep the wood moving. If you pause while feeding, you'll get burn marks.

From contributor O:
Also, be sure to keep the blade very clean. Even if the blade is new and sharp, resins can quickly build up on the sides of the carbide teeth and increase friction/heat. Oven cleaner works well for softening the stuff.

From contributor T:
What type of blade are you using and how many teeth does it have? I have seen some people using cross cutting blades with too many teeth to rip. If you are using a rip blade you may want to try one with fewer teeth. In hand feed applications, some materials rip better with fewer teeth.

Keeping the pitch off of your blades is a great idea as mentioned. However, try to refrain from using oven cleaner to do it. Oven cleaner is both harmful to you and the blade itself. It removes the protecting oil on the plate which can lead to rust and pitting of the plate, which can lead to faster pitch buildup. Our 850 Saw Kleen is non-toxic, won't burn your skin, and leaves a wood safe protectant on the plate when it dries. It also works great on machinery to remove pitch buildup.

From contributor A:
Let's assume you have a brand new Forrest blade. Joint a 3" wide piece of 3/4 maple. Rip it down to 2 1/2". If it is still burning...
1. Check the fence. Follow the Forrest guide for setting up a TS.
2. Try using a splitter.
3. Feed the board at a brisk pace and do not stop at all.

From contributor K:
I use Orange Clean and a small stiff nylon or brass brush to clean the pitch.

From contributor E:
Over the past several years, the quality or kiln dry of most maple has been poor. I'll never forget one week when I watched 100bf of maple turn into French fries (for lack of a better term) while going through a well tuned 5hp 3ph saw with a brand new glue joint rip blade.

There was so much tension in the material it had no chance of a straight line when it was any size under 3-4 inch width. Sometimes it's the wood, and maple is famous for this.

From contributor J:
If you had a whole batch of wood "French fry" on you, it's definitely poor quality, and a reputable dealer should replace it for you. I'll get a couple sticks in every batch that are bad, but never a whole order.

If I suspect that there is improper drying involved, I use a technique I read about in the archives. Take an offcut about 2" L x at least 4" or more wide. On the bandsaw flip it so end grain faces up and cut out most of the middle, leaving you with a 'U' shape. If the 'U' opens or closes excessively, you've got casehardened wood, basically useless for cabinetmaking. If your dealer doesn't replace it, I recommend finding a new dealer.

From contributor E:
I do use a different supplier for maple these days. Somewhere between the material quality, blade sharpness, table being slick, and feed technique, Murphy Waits with a smile.

From Professor Gene Wengert, Sawing and Drying Forum technical advisor:
I agree that too many teeth is often the problem. Also, what part of the tooth is rubbing the wood? It is the side of the tooth, and often the sides are not properly sharpened, especially with a raker tooth. Have you, if you are using a combination blade, tried a "rip only" blade? Are you feeding fast enough? Of course, alignment issues should be addressed eventually too.

From contributor L:
One more thing to check is that your blade is set at 90 degrees to the table.

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