How To Test Wood Grain Planer Tear Out


I made some 1/4 inch by 3/4 inch by 6' long strips to cap the face of a plywood shelf I'm building. I needed to run them through the planer (Delta 12.5") to shave a little bit off to make them pretty. The problem is some of them went throught the planer fine and came out beautifully figured, others chipped and jambed and broke. I realized I must be feeding them in the wrong way. But I could not tell how to determine the grain prior to feeding them through. Is their a sure fire way to test which way I should be pointing the wood.
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What made it difficult to read the grain? Was it the thinness of the pieces? I can't think of any "sure-fire" way to test, other than to test on the material you'll be using. So make up an extra piece or two, to cover the loss? Tom
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I since read that running your finger along the wood back and forth will usually reveal that one direction is rougher than the other. I would usually do a grain check visually, but I ripped the stock through my table saw and was having problems reading the wood because of the saw marks. The wood in question was quarter-sawn birch s4s. I think what I'll do next time is determine the grain prior to sending it through the saw. I'll paint or mark the end of the whole board so that I can identify which direction the grain ran. If I have to leave the milled stock for a period of time (read: interruptions, interruptions always interruptions) I can always come back and know which end was which. I may have enough milled stock to finish the job. Worst case scenario I spend another $30 on a board to finish. The birch came out absolutely stunning when it was done right. Glowed like a hologram on a $50 bill. Thanks for all the feedback folks.

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If I recall; I read somewhere about planing or jointing for that matter in the direction of the chevrons <<< in the grain. I'd have to research it again, but I'm sure by then someone on here with WAY more experience than I have will have an answer for you. Obviously I need a refresher as well...
P.
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It depends on which face, bark or heart you are inspecting.
Please try my web site - Planing Notes - Grain, part way down the page.
Jeff G
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Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK
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On Wed, 28 Sep 2005 22:15:57 -0500, "Paul in MN"

there's no simple answer, and some pieces of wood will tear out both directions. my first guess is usually based on looking at the edge of the board.
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I wouldn't put anything that small through a planer.
It there some reason you can't sand or joint it after gluing them on? That is what I do.
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Boards are too short to feed thru the planner. Leave them long, plane them, then cut to length
John
wrote:

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Ummm... he wrote 6' (feet), not 6".

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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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As one reader has pointed out, you can detect a roughness climbing the grain. You can also look, if your eyes are sharp, for which way the splinters extend at the very edges. Oak is an easy one to do this way. Even Jeff will admit that at 3/4 width, there won't be much change across you "board."
That said, what breaks them is the grain being too short across the pieces to take the insult of being grabbed and whacked uphill. If you're going to plane that thin, you want grain as close to parallel to the faces as possible. If they weren't 6' long, you could doublestick to a carrier board. I've had good luck that way.
Time to get the drum or OSS out and jig for thickness sanding, or glue and join.
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