I recently bought a fair amount of a S2S lumber and after working with it I
noticed that some of it has some pretty severe planing marks. Some of the
boards had to be planed more than 1/32" of an inch on both sides to remove
the planer marks. Since the lumber was already surfaced down to 3/4", this
final planing reduced the thickness to 11/16" on some boards, as thin as
5/8" on others.
My question is this: is this acceptable? I'm not expecting the lumber to be
perfect, but if the lumber is already 3/4" thick I can't exactly plane off a
lot of wood if I want it to be close to 3/4" thick when I'm done. Obviously
the ideal situation would be to get full 4/4 rough lumber and plane it
myself, but this species was unavailable anywhere locally rough cut.
My question is: is it acceptable to you? If not, ask your dealer if
it is acceptable to him. I complained about some oak veneer that
turned out to be crap. The dealer offered me some solid oak to
replace. He was not out to screw me. If your dealer says, "screw
you" you have a simple solution. If he replaces/repays your problem
is solved. If you decide you can use it anyhow for other projects,
make a deal with him for a discount on the next purchase.
Your choice, your decision.
Thanks for the reply - you make some good points. The frustrating thing is
that some of these marks are practically invisible until you put some finish
on it. In fact, I sanded an adjustable shelf down to 320 grit and it felt
super smooth, but when I applied danish oil those marks telegraphed through
and looked downright horrible.
So maybe after this project is done I'll take a sample back and ask the
dealer what they think. They're a family run business and I've been really
happy with their lumber thus far. My guess is that I got some lumber that
was at the tail end of a run when the planer knives were getting dull.
what kind of 'planing' marks? I can't imagine a planing mark as deep
as 1/32" unless you're talking about snipe or bands where the planer
blades had been nicked (in these cases it creates high spots that are
easily hand planed off and won't affect the thickness. Are you
referring to tear out perhaps?
Snipe is only going to affect the last or beginning 3 inches of the
board. Close inspection when picking the board should let you see
snipe and allow you to get a longer board without paying for the
I posted a pic in ABPW of the marks. It's definitely not tear out - it's
more like dents where one of the knives seems to have compressed the wood
fibers. Some places you can feel the marks, other places you can't. For
instance if you sand an area with the marks, it will end up flat but because
the dents have compressed fibers, they show up when the wood is finished.
Looks like snipe to me. They probably have worn bearings or have
springs that need tensioning for their feed rollers and they 'bounced'
the boards when they were being fed (this causes the blades to dig
deeper than normal). The smaller ripples are 'normal' planer marks.
Regardless of the cause, I'd say this was justification for rejecting
No, snipe is at the end of a board. This board appears to have been planed
on a large planer at the faster feed rate vs. the slower feed rate. This is
pretty common to see on s2s but typically s2s is not planed to final
thickness. The intention is for the s2s material to be planed at a slower
and smoother final thickness buy the customer buying the wood.
My opinion is that (1) it's not really 1/32" deep indentations on the
side that you picture and (2) it's caused by too fast a feed or too
deep a cut when run thru the surface planer.
I've learned to look more carefully before applying a finish.
I think you're right in that the indentations probably aren't quite 1/32"
deep, BUT I had to plane about a 32nd of an inch off to get to where the
dents were not visible. So perhaps the dents aren't that deep, but the
effects on the wood are.
The pic that I showed had been sanded with 100, 150, 200, and then 320 and
you can see how the marks were still visible. So after the finish dried I
took my hand plane and went to it to finally get down to some clear wood.
And you're right... I need to examine everything more closely before
applying a finish.
I'd say it depends on how you bought it.
If you picked it off a rack, well... then it's yours.
If you ordered it from a supplier and it was only available in that
format (S2S) at that thickness, then you could easily reject it as not
meeting your needs and they just re-stock it.
If it was in-stock rough and you ordered it S2S to 3/4 it's a bit
harded to call, especially since it sounds like it's a special item.
If it was Red Oak and I ordered 4/4 prep'd S2S at 3/4 and a bunch of
it needed more work, especially because of deep planer cuts, I'd
reject it. In any case, you could at least have a discussion with your
rep and see just how important of a customer you are.
I learned a trick from an old timer to always reject some stock in the
first few orders from a new supplier, just so they know you are picky
and they will be more careful about what they send you in the future.
Just don't be an asshole about it and it seems to work.
Those marks are commonly caused by one of two things.
They have sharpened but not 'true' up the planer blades so they have
one blade that is leading or stick out too far. They should be trued
up to ensure they are all even and then you don't get those marks
The second cause is feeding the wood through too fast so that the
knives are skipping.
Unfortunately the marks do not usually stand out until you get a
finish on it.
On Tue, 2 Nov 2004 10:39:49 -0500, "Eric Yancey"
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