Planing problems

Let me start by saying that I'm a novice and am clueless in a lot of areas of woodworking. With that disclaimer in place, here goes...
I've been planing some cedar for use in building a cedar chest. I've noticed that the planer is bad about taking chunks (almost making random craters) in the wood. Sometimes it's limited to knots, but it also happens in random spots. There might be a place that is 3" x 3" that looks like it was bombed (having irregular pock-marks 1/8" +/- deep). I thought that maybe my planer blades are getting dull, but I've not planed that much stuff with it. I've also considered that I'm cutting too much on a pass. I typically try to plane about 1/32" on each pass.
Any ideas or suggestions?
Thanks...
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Some ideas I've tried and and some I've read about.
1. blades are dull 2. Take much lighter cuts. 3. Pay attention to the grain direction. Try feeding in the opposite direction. 4. Try feeding at a slight diagonal 5. Take damp cloth and wipe the wood down before planing it. 6. Use a slower feed speed, if your planer has one. 7. Live with it and finish off with a smoother plane, scraper, or sander. Some woods are untameable for a power planer. 8. Buy a helical blade planer.
Now having said all that, I can tell you that I know my blades are dulling. Some easy woods that planed well a month ago are now showing the pock marks and gronchy spots that you describe. I also know that the use of my planer went way up in the last month. I've only had it four months but I guess its time to rotate the blades. I'm going to hop down to Lowe's and buy those extra blade sets they have on the shelf while they are still available and cheap (Delta 13" planer).
Bob
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On Fri, 19 Nov 2004 06:45:42 -0800, Chris Nail wrote:

Welcome to tear-out. What's probably happening is the grain is changing in that area. The blades are, momentarily, cutting against the grain, lifting rather than cutting, and tearing out the hunks. This is common on knarly and/or figured wood.
You've already looked at two likely areas to try to correct, blade sharpness and depth of cut. You can also try wetting the surface a bit to soften the grain. If you have a two-speed planer, try the slower setting. If you have sufficient width, try skewing the stock when feeding.
Failing that, hand plane or sand to final thickness.
--
Joe Wells


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"Chris Nail" wrote in message

It's called tearout and often happens where the grain changes direction.
If you're sure that the blades are sharp, try turning the piece and planing from another direction. Also wetting it with a sponge and water may alleviate the problem to an extent. Try taking even smaller cuts with all of the above.
Last resort, get it close then sand/scrape/plane it to final thickness, or find someone with a drum sander that will do it for you.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 11/06/04
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msstate snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Chris Nail) wrote in

It may be the nature of the cedar itself. 'Cedar' is a somewhat generic name for maybe hundreds of aromatic woods, most of which aren't of the cedar family at all.
Varying densities in the wood, or inconsistent moisture or oil content will cause these effects.
So, some questions, which may enable some answers for you:
Where did the wood come from? How was it dried?
What size is it when you start, and how thin are you trying to make it? Are you removing a lot of material in a short time?
Which planer are you using? Chances are good that there are a number of wReckers with the same machine. Not all planers work the same. There are tips and tricks for each model, usually learned by experience.
Are you locking the carriage/motor head for each pass?
Do you have a shop vac or dust collector hooked up to the planer? Removing the chips/sawdust from the planer as fast as they are produced is really important to the quality of the surface produced.
More ideas will occur, and others will likely respond. Thanks for asking.
Patriarch
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"patriarch snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcastDOTnet>" <<patriarch> wrote in message

Removing
I didn't know that! I've had a dust collector attached to mine from day #1 so was not aware. A very experienced woodworker told me before I got the planer "You've never seen anything until you see how much stuff a planer can shoot out." It lets me know instantly when I forget to start the dust collector or open the blast gate.
Bob
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If it's eastern white - Thuja occidentalis - you could have the Lewinsky of collectors and still get chips sticking to the rollers and embossing the surface. Damn stuff has more static cling that the odd sock that only drops to the bottom of the drum after the dryer door is closed.
Clean the rollers with turps or mineral spirit, and stop often to clean the shavings from the interior.

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the
Thanks for the tip. I'll do it.
Bob
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On Fri, 19 Nov 2004 19:02:08 GMT, "Bob"

Un-sucked chips cause dents though, not tearout. It's not good, but it is recognisably different.
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