Dealing with Planer Tear-Out

      Craftsmen discuss tooling and operator techniques for minimizing tear-out from planing lumber. November 12, 2005

At the Las Vegas show I saw the Shelix planer head. I have a 15" Delta planer, and I just had the knives sharpened but it still wants to tear-out on maple. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
From what I read on these forums, multiple overlapping knife type cutter heads leave ridges, but the helical/shear type cut will lessen tear out. A lot of woods, including maple, will tear out in the planer if you feed to the knives against the grain in the board. I have a straight knife planer and I deal with the issue of tear out by first flattening one face of the stock on the jointer.

I look at the edge of each board and make an estimate as to grain direction. If I hear the grain tearing, I reverse the board for the next pass. After I know which way each board machines the best, I have simple methods to keep track of it. Then when I plane them to thickness, I run the boards according to what I learned about their grain direction on the jointer.

In the event that a board is straight and flat enough to go directly to the planer without the need to face joint, I estimate the grain direction and take a light pass through the planer. If the grain tears out, I reverse the direction of feed for that face. This method is difficult if you use S2S (13/16") material and need to net 3/4" thickness. I almost always inventory 15/16" hit or miss as my 1" material. 15/16" material leaves lots of room to plane out any tear out if a board gets planed against the grain at first.

From contributor B:
The next time you talk to your sharpening guy, ask him about back bevel.

From contributor C:
I run all my maple on a widebelt sander 36 grit then up. It takes time but I have no tear out at all. I make doors mostly. Another thing I do is to make one extra panel the largest size as a spare in case something happens in the process (panel raising), then use it for drawer fronts. This saves time in the end.

From contributor D:
Since you asked about the Shelix cutterhead, I'll comment on that. I've had one in my 20"SAC planer for a year and a half now and swear by it. It does eliminate tear out, and because they are carbide inserts in the cutterhead, I was able to run at least 80,000 lf through it before I rotated the inserts. It is a very cost effective method. People say you can see faint lines in the board after it's been planed with a Shelix head, and you can, but you can also see knife marks after you plane with a sharp set of HSS knives. Anyway, who doesn't sand their wood after it comes out of the planer?

From the original questioner:
I ordered the Shelix head and it takes about six weeks for shipment.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining

  • KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining: Tooling

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2020 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article