Chipping when Planing Juniper Wood

Hi All, Not normally woodworking season, but I have to make a funeral urn/casket. The wood is old Juniper, dead for a dozen years at least, and left standing. I cut some down, then sawed it into 3/4 planks. Now the issue is that when I run it thru the planer, I get little chips in the surface where the grain goes crazy. And there isn't hardly any straight grain anywhere!
I have to use this wood, as it came from the person's yard.
I will be using new blades on my Delta planer once I get the boards roughly to size. I tried some thin CA but that didn't seem to help much. Hoped it would help prevent tearout. Also taking a very light cut each pass.
Has anyone any suggestions as to how to treat the wood to help prevent the chips tearing out? Any help will be REALLY appreciated!
Thanks to all.
Rich.....
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wrote:

I have never worked with Juniper but you can try dampening the surface before planing. Hopefully the moisture will soften the surface to lessen the tear out.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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"rich" wrote:

Don't use a planer, use a drum sander.
Should be a shop in your area.
Saw boards 1/8" proud and go from there.
Lew
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I vote the sander technique, also.
Sonny
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On Thursday, May 31, 2012 5:19:45 PM UTC-7, Lew Hodgett wrote:

Drum sander would be best. What area are you in? Also could try planer with spiral cutters. I have both in SF Bay Area. By double drum sander is an early model and takes some babying but it does work. My 15" grizz planer is easy money on anything I throw at it.
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Thanks for the help. I'd get a sander but I never seem to have THAT much of a need. One of those very occasional tools. There are two cabinet shops near here, so will probably grovel a little.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I use mine as much as or more than any other tool in my shop, wouldn't be without it.
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dadiOH
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On Sat, 2 Jun 2012 05:15:04 -0600, dadiOH wrote

I do lots of work with Juniper, mainly small stuff (boxes, etc). I harvest the stuff for firewood and resaw the nice pieces on my bandsaw. Many of the logs I get are 400+ years old and usually no more that 1 foot in diameter.
That being said, the stuff is very brittle (try routing it sometime!). My technique is to resaw and let dry for a long time. I usually don't get to using it for several years after resawing, but I'd guess that drying times are typical (1"/1 year). I rarely use the wood directly because it always seems to have defects that will split, thick veneering is the way to go.
I use my planer (Delta 12.5" benchtop) making skim cuts until the boards are flat. Any further cuts are done with a drum sander as others have mentioned. I have found no other satisfactory way to get the final surface.
I'm allergic to nothing except Juniper and if my DC ever gives out I'm screwed, this dust is fine grained nasty!
With Juniper you can get awesome grain with the burls and most any kind of cut will yield something nice.
If someone has found a way to turn this stuff, I'd sure like to know the trick.
-BR
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When you say juniper, are you meaning ER Cedar (aromatic cedar)? ER cedar has lots and lots of resin and, seems, to never really dry. Those resins simply move, within the wood, as mercury in a thermometer does.
Assuming ER Cedar: Those areas you are having trouble with will always be problematic. You need really sharp planer blades and plane as slow as possible. Make sure the blades remain clean of resin. Similarly as green southern yellow pine, the resin will build up on your blades and, even though they may be sharp, the build up doesn't allow for a clean smooth cut. It is easier to see this kind of build up (even minor) on jointer blades (readily exposed), than on planer blades (hidden). ER cedar, being a soft wood, will not cut as clean with "dirty" blades. "Dirty" blades will give the effect you are describing, as dull blades will. Knots in ER cedar will sometimes give similar problems, as the grain is oriented in several directions.... like planing (or jointing) end grain.
Chip out may be a combination of several things: Feed rate, resin build up on blades, dull blades, soft wood with grain in several directions. A reasonable smoothening, or planing, then belt sanding may be your best bet.
I am presently making side tables with ER cedar, slabs cut transverse the log, hence face surfaces are end grain. These slabs have been air drying for 10 + years. My procedure has been: Chain saw, disc sander (24 - 36 grit), belt sander, hand sanding. I asked the local Lafayette Woodworks (Lafayette, LA), if they had any better way to smoothen these slabs. Their large wide belt sander was their answer, but even when it came to final sanding, hand sanding, to get the detail scratches out, was the final option/procedure. Again, this was for all end grain surfaces. Here are some pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/43836144@N04/?saved=1
If not ER Cedar, then I may not have appropriate answers or suggestions for you. Sonny
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Sonny, Thanks for the input. This wood is Juniper, found in the Rockies. Really knarlly, nasty, grain every which way wood. It makes good fire wood in my opinion. I guess if you grew the tree, trimmed all the branches like crazy, you might have a few good board feet in a century! Maybe.
The best luck I've had is with a very light cut, slow feed and sharp blades. Then I've had to fill the small nicks with Minwax Crayons before finishing. It's very pretty wood, just a bitch to work with. If you had the patience to use a scraper to remove 1/16 inch, it might turn out nice. As mentioned above, I think I'll see about using a sander tomorrow.
Rich.....
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