Reply To: Hand planing cherry stiles and rails


One thing you can do to help visualize what @ETMO is saying is to wipe the surface around the tearout with some denatured alcohol. The wood will darken more where it takes up more of the alcohol and less in other areas. The darker areas are where the grain is rising up to the surface and is really end grain. You will likely see that the tear out is happening where the grain is rising up.

Since the fibers emerge from the surface at an angle, whether you get tear out depends upon the planing direction. If they are slanted away from the planes motion, the fibers next to them support them and no tear out occurs. If the fibers emerge angled toward you, they are more likely to be torn up and away from the neighboring fibers.

When dealing with areas like you show, it can be hard because there is a discontinuity with grain going in different directions on either side of the discontinuity. Sometimes, using circular swipes across that line will allow you to work the area. For what I see in your photo, you’d probably have the plane sole perpendicular to the length of the board and would be making circles across the tear out area. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. More often, doesn’t, but enough of the time that it is worth trying.

Lubricating the sole of the plane can help.

Also, while you have that denatured alcohol out, right after giving the surface a wipe of it, try one / some of these fussy planing methods. Sometimes. that alcohol helps, although it only lasts briefly before evaporating.

beautiful table! Makes me want to go to my bench. Both beautiful and peaceful. I like the lifting, big-radius profile on the underside (if I’m seeing it properly). Is that profile cut into the top? Done with a big-radius round?