problem with purpleheart grain when edge joining with a hand plane

I'm trying it the old fashioned way for a while. I am using a Stanley # 4 for preparing some small stock approx 12" by 5". While edging the stock for glue up into some 15" wide panels, I came across one piece that has within a 1/2" of each other two different grain directions. If I plane in one direction too far I tear out the end, if I plane out the other side more than an 1" or so I tear out the rest of the board.
Is this a normal occurance in many woods? Since the wood will be edge glued it will not be an issue, but if it was the exposed edge of a piece of furniture it would sure baffle me.
The plane is sharp and still in the tuning stage. Shavings are under .002 per the dial calipers. The throat opening appears not to be square to the sides and there is a visible difference between one side of the blade and the other, but the tearing is across the whole piece not just one side.
I have tried skewing the plane up to nearly 45 with the same results along these two areas.
Thanks Alan
Alan
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Hello,
I don't claim to be an expert. I have just made lots of shavings building an electric guitar and other projects. I haven't hand planed many woods, just cherry, oak, and walnut. But, what you are describing has happened to me (really only in cherry). When this happened, it either didn't matter because it was being glued up, or I fixed it by using a hand scraper or by taking small cuts from both directions and stopping when the grain changes.
The throat opening being out of square should not be a problem. All of the Stanley planes I have are garbage with similar problems, but they doesn't seem to affect anything after adjusting the plane properly.
I would recommend trying a hand scraper. They might work well if the tearout isn't too large.
-Jonathan
A Womack wrote:

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Jonathan Ward wrote:

I'm not anywhere close to an expert either, for the record...
Happens to me with maple especially. I have one plane tuned to take a shaving 1/3 of a wood cell thick, and it still tears out in these confounding patches.
Scraping seems to be the only answer. Or maybe buy a Steve Knight smoother.
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Keep your wood selection in mind next time when you are going through the design stages. If you find a piece with mixed grain patterns, try to use it in an inconspicuous place rather than somewhere where it will be shown. Maybe for bottom trim or runners for example. Select good straight grain boards that from the best you can tell will work good and give superior results. This is a strategic part of woodworking I in general I think.
Jim

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A Womack wrote...

It's the tool. It's the wood. Plainly put (no groaning), you've run across a difficult situation -- grain reversal in purpleheart.
There are planes that can handle this challenge without tearout, or without as much. They can be expensive. They generally have a wooden infill or at least bed, a higher bedding angle, a very tight mouth, and take a very thing shaving. OTOH, sometimes a plane with a much lower bedding angle will tackle a particular piece better. Sometimes, no plane can produce a perfect surface.
A card scraper, tuned well enough to cleanly shave endgrain, can help on exposed parts, but it's not needed in the joint.
Cheers!
Jim
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purpleheart is hard to plane for the most part. there are two kinds the kind that is more open pored and turns brown when you cut it is not too hard to plane. the kind that just turns a lighter shade of purple and is denser can be pretty hard to almost impossible to hand plane well no matter what you use.
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I would be in the lucky crowd of the slightly browning wood. I can look at it very closely with a 600 dpi scan and for the life of me I don't see how that grain is different. It is all the way through the board as the opposite side tears out as well.
scan at
http://alan.firebin.net/tear_out.png
What should I be looking for?
Thanks Steve, will continue to email off rec to talk about a different plane for this type of wood.
Alan
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Even the best sometimes, have to resort to sandpaper.

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blasphemy You should be drawn and quartered (G)
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How about Quarter Sawn !
wrote:

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FOW wrote:

I just finished milling about 10bf of 8/4 purpleheart into sticks for some frame-and-panel boxes yesterday. This stuff is a b***h to plane, even with a power planer (Delta 22-560). It sands to a wonderful finish, though, with just 220 Mirka sandpaper.
Cool thing now is that my neighbors walk buy and are drawn into the shop (garage) because there's purple crap everywhere (chips, mostly) :-)
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to me it is easy but I guess I have planed so much hard to plane purpleheart that thought it was easy (G) I find that tropicals have more reverse grain streaks then other woods. bloodwood can have one 1/2 of a edge one way the other side going to opposite. right down the middle. one good way to combat this is to have a iron with a slight radius over the whole blade. then you can take light passes in the other direction and just get hose spots.

I don't think you can always see the grain direction. who said working wood is easy? (G)
but one thing I have learned. I always hoped I could make a plane that could plane anything. but the more I am finding out that certain planes/angles work better with different woods. one plane and do everything. though my japanese infill came close (G)
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In planing tropicals, are the Stanley planes with higher bed angles for this type of work or do I need to move onto the Asian style wood planes?
Obviously a Steve Knight plane would work in this area at a high bed angle say something like 50 degrees is that the relm?
Are their planes that have an adjustable bed angle? I can see myself planing cherry, maple, birch and a fair number of tropicals in the coming years.
Alan
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