Planer problems

I was planing some southern yellow pine that used to be stair treads. It was in a house for 75 years. I get terrible tear out, sometimes big chips ripped out. I've had similar problems with other woods from the same house. I'm going to try sanding, I expect no problems.The wood is sound, there is no rot, can wood just get too dry to run thru a planer?
thx, Chris
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I would think that 75 year old southern yellow pine would be just about bullet proof - a real planing challenge.
Years ago I had to build a room into a basement of a house that had 50 year old southern yellow pine joists. I had to drill pilot holes for the nails (pre-nailer years). Otherwise the nails just bent. I was told back then when I asked an expert friend that over time southern yellow pine resin sets up like iron. The joists had become super hard.
Tim

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I have had the same experience. Couldn't even drive screws into some of the stuff without drilling.
Think petrified wood.
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Chris wrote:

How deep were the planer passes?
Were these well worn stair treads - worn low spots in the area where people stepped?
Where the treads quarter sawn, plane sawn or thru and thru sawn?
Was the wood located in a part of the country where humidity is high - ie - southeast?
Was the tear out in the first couple of passes - before the surface had been mostly flattened?
Once the surface was flat - excluding the low spots from the tear out - did you continue to get tear out with very light finishing passes?
It's not uncommon to have the depth of cut of the first pass thru the planer to be a little deeper than intended. So when you run a worn stair tread through the planer you will have the knives cutting "uphill" in same areas - which can cause tear out - the amount of tear out related to the depth of cut. Deeper cuts producing more tear out than shallow depths of cut.
Regarding working old, really "dry" wood - I've planed 50+ year old redwood fence boards which had been out of the weather for 35 years that I know of. Even fence boards back then were straight grained and almost exclusively heart wood. Planed without tear out. Have turned old pine porch posts and beams and found them prone to tear out - even with very sharp tools using a shearing cut. Haven't tried planing them since the pieces have been cut to 12" lengths because that's the between centers capacity of the JET mini-midi.
More info please.
charlie b
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FWIW,
I'm working on a cabinet for my wife's ebroidery stuff made freom reclaimed speuce from a neighbors' razed barn. The wood is about 140 years old. I believe that it is spruce. The wood is sound but very brittle. Yes it tends to splinter and tear out considerblay more than "new" wood.
This may or may not be applicable to you situation.
-Steve

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Stephen M wrote:

May want to try two things that help with planing curley or birdseye maple. Dampen the surface to be planed. If possible, feed the stock at a slight angle. Worth a try.
charlie b
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knives must be severely blunted by the first pass - but you would know that. pre-used timber is very hard on blades of all kinds.
Tim w
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Thanks for all your insights, yes it does seem brittle when you try to plane it, but it is sound. I was using very light passes. I saw the same thing with other wood I used in the same situation. I wondered what the term case hardened meant? Does that apply?

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Chris wrote:

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Lee Tollett wrote:

Are you paying attention to the grain runout and feeding it the correct way through the planer?
Rick
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