Jointing Curly Cherry

      Tips and tricks for avoiding tear-out. August 30, 2005

I'm using curly cherry to build a small jewelry box, but I can't seem to get a good, smooth cut on the face with my 8 inch jointer. There is always a little tear out because of the irregular grain. If I sand it, it seems to dull the figure. Any suggestions on getting a clean, smooth surface that enhances the figure?

Forum Responses
Sand, sand, sand, with progressively finer grits.

You can often get a good, clean joint on curly wood if you wet it a few minutes before jointing, and take very light cuts. The water softens the wood enough for a clean cut.

From Professor Gene Wengert:
Several items. First, do not use carbide cutters, as they will not be as sharp as HSS. This will make a tremendous difference. Next, feed slowly and do not remove much wood (that is, shallow cuts). As mentioned, avoid overly dry wood. Finally, if you are making your own tools, avoid a large rake angle (which means the tool is very slender). Small rakes will mean that the tool is "plowing" the wood off rather than splitting it off. You might find that the book THE WOOD DOCTOR'S RX (for sale at the FDM magazine bookstore) will have more technical information.

I think you should install fresh knives and take real light cuts.

The advice I've gotten is that you don't want to plane or joint curly cherry. Always sand it with a belt sander.

For figured grain, it is often best to use a cabinet scraper (a card scraper).

What about back beveling the planer knives?

From Professor Gene Wengert:
Back beveling is effective when the angle of the knives in the planer head is not sufficient. By back beveling, you make the knife more slender and more likely to chip the grain, over-heat, and dull, so care must be used. Back beveling has been used for softer woods (aspen, cottonwood, basswood, etc.) only, in my experience.

I am presently building a jewelry box of curly cherry and curly maple. I have had no problems with tear out. Here is my setup:

My jointer/planer is an Inca with very sharp HSS kives (I sharpen my own knives). Take light cuts, feed slowly and feed stock at an angle if possible. For finishing, a properly sharpened card scraper or progressively finer grits of sand paper (320, 400, 500, 600, 800, and 1000) will work fine.

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: Solid Wood Machining

  • KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining: General

    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 © 1996-2019 - 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