How to prevent tearout in soft maple

Hi,
after reading a million magazines and taking a few courses I thought I'd try to build something besides a bird feeder.
So I'm in the process of building a side night table.
I went to a local saw mill and picked up some soft maple. The moisture content was about 12%.
The first thing I did was ruff cut the boards into the lengths I needed. They were too wide to go through my jointer so I used a sled and my planner. The first thing I noticed was the tear out.
I used new knives, fed the boards into the planner with the grain and did very light cuts. I would still get tear out.
The boards are stacked right now while I wait for them to dry out a bit more.
So my questions are:
1: Does tear out occur a lot with soft maple? 2: Was soft maple a poor choice for a night table? 3: Any suggestion to prevent tear out when I get to final planning?
Thanks
Alex
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alex wrote:
| I used new knives, fed the boards into the planner with the grain | and did very light cuts. I would still get tear out.
I'd question the sharpness of the new knives.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto /
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<snip>

In my experience, yes.

Not necessarily. It can be absolutely beautiful, when done.

You might want to consider using handplanes or a sander, rather than taking the planer as your finish pass. A really sharp plane, with a tightly closed mouth, should be able to get your work acceptibly flat, and tearout free.
Or a scraper, in one of its forms, will do the trick.
I've built a lot of stuff from soft maple, including kitchen and bath cabinets, bedroom furniture, and a few clock cases. It works well, when care is taken.
Patriarch
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Straight grain doesn't tear much, curly figure can be a bear since you can't pick a constant downhill (down grain) direction. Best I've found is to feed with particular attention to downhill, sometimes reversing from side to side, and then slicking the whole with a scraper or plane.
Hard maple is a worse offender in the chipout department because the rays are a built-in fault line. On the quarter figure, you can get a lot of peck-out. Perhaps you have hard maple, which is much more common out east? Soft maple isn't consistent enough in color to be used much in furniture when there's an alternative available. Flooring and pallets, interior of upholstered furniture are the main uses for soft around here.
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<snip>

There are a bunch of 'soft maples', at least a dozen, sold commercially. In the Pacific Northwest, Big Leaf maple is one of them, and is a beautiful furniture wood.
We regularly get at least three noticable varieties in the racks at my Oakland, CA wood merchant, as 'soft maple'.
Patriarch
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. The first thing I noticed was the tear out.

Buy a new clean spray bottle and put clean water in it so you won't stain the wood. As the maple is fed into the planer, mist the surface of the board. This normally will eliminate the tiny tear out on soft maple .
I use water based (aniline) stain on soft maple with good luck. You should raise the knap on the wood with the spray bottle and scrape the surface to smooth it before you stain the wood. Some follow up with a wash coat of shellac and a wipe on stain after the aniline stain.
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Alex,
Use a sponge and some mineral free water. Lightly dampen the wood with the sponge a minute or two before planing. Dampen for each pass taking light cuts until you're down to your final size. I've used this method plenty of times and it works 99% of the time but you must take light cuts. I also use a drum sander to slowly plane down stock subject to tearout and that takes many passes but does a nice job.
Bob S.
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in the water.
Mix your water-based dyes with demineralized or distilled water, too.
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