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
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
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.
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...
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
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
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