- 4 February 2019 at 10:32 pm #554886
I’ve finally got around to a rebuild of my bench. I’ve laminated a benchtop from construction studs (‘whitewood’), now mostly flat, but there are a few boards that give me tear-out no matter which direction I plane them in. Is this because the grain rises in different ways in various boards, or maybe these are just ‘bad boards’? How do you address this on a laminated surface? I have tried the #81 scraper plane (likely not perfectly sharpened but works ok on other wood). There are some boards that just keep tearing, which then requires lowering the entire surface. I have, so far, resisted the urge to break out the random orbit sander.
.6 February 2019 at 10:15 pm #554904Brian CaudillParticipant
I have just finished laminating a bench top as well. I used Southern yellow Pine, after researching the densities of white wood versus the pine. I felt like tearout might be issue since I am very amateur at hand planing. However, I have learned to sharpen the iron exactly as Paul does and it has made a huge difference. But I’m also experiencing a bit of tearout in both directions on some of the boards. I think white wood maybe be less dense thus causing more tear out if things are not absolutely perfect… sharpening, squareness of the iron to the wood (lateral adjustment). Things like that. It’s not an answer but it might be due to the low density of white wood in general. Maybe a low angle jack plane would work better? Maybe someone else can have a solution we could both learn from6 February 2019 at 10:38 pm #554906
Yes, these are good ideas. Maybe I need to get the blade(s) sharper. The white wood is VERY soft, but most of the boards are shaving nicely with a good sheen on them. The ones giving me problems are actually darker for some reason, more reddish/brown. Seems like some aspect of tree anatomy may be at play here.
I made the apron out of yellow pine and it planed nicely and is quite hard compared to the white wood, maybe even harder than poplar which I had as the top earlier.
.7 February 2019 at 2:03 am #554907P McCParticipant
I laminated SYP for my benchtop and experienced the tearout of the softer growth rings. The harder growth rings planed just fine. Tried different planes, all very sharp. Unable to avoid the tearout. The wood, ripped from 2 X 12 big box store construction grade lumber, though kiln dried, was noticeably wet. And I was working in my, open on three sides, leanto in very humid conditions. So I gave up on trying to make the benchtop as smooth as a dining room table and began using it for its intended purpose. Woodworking.7 February 2019 at 6:03 am #554909
“So I gave up on trying to make the benchtop as smooth as a dining room table and began using it for its intended purpose. Woodworking.”
But what if I want to entertain on the bench as well? (joking)
Yes, point taken. Its a bench. If part of it is fuzzy, I can simply focus my gaze on some more aesthetically pleasing part of the garage; perhaps the pile of christmas decorations accumulating in a large pile the corner behind the car?
I also found the Orange or Blue store SYP to be pretty wet. I planed it, then stored it a few weeks, then planed it again. Still not perfectly flat on the face, but the edge at the benchtop is nice and smooth. I noticed that Chris Schwartz has a thing for wet wood benchtops currently. Not many details, but the gist is to just install a wet slab and keep planing it once and a while as it stabilizes. This may apply to the wet SYP.
.7 February 2019 at 7:36 am #554911Larry GeibParticipant
Two things. If the wood was still fresh from the box store and a bit green, wait a couple months at least before you tackle the tearout. The tops going to warp a bit anyway, and you can tackle two birds.
Also if the tearout areas aren’t too extensive, try soaking the area with cyanoacrylate ( Superglue) before you take the scraper to it. The glue will hold the grain together while you scrape.7 February 2019 at 12:59 pm #5549197 February 2019 at 2:10 pm #554920EdParticipant
I’ve found that pushing the chip breaker very close to the edge of the iron to be helpful for dealing with this sort of thing. Also, using circular strokes around the problematic area, like you see Paul do on end grain, can help. Finally, it seems like a wipe of denatured alcohol helps, but only for a few moments after application. I really can’t say why this helps and am only partly convinced that it does.
Sometimes, you are dealing with a spot where the grain rises up from both directions. Being aware of that can help you decide how to plane, e.g., coming in from both directions, separately, as close as you dare, and then using the circular stroke to make the transition, maybe with a wipe of DNA if needed. It’s dark magic.
Of course, being sharp is the starting point for all of this.
No doubt about it, though, construction lumber is not a low-skill material to work. It is actually quite tricky. Decent oak is probably easier as is true white pine, properly conditioned.
Add one to the vote tally for, “learn what you can for as long as you have patience, but it’s a workbench.”
By the way, I’m not sure I’ve ever had the impression of wet lumber from the box stores unless I was buying treated lumber. Are you sure you haven’t purchased treated wood? There’s the regular green PT, which is hard to miss and feels like it has come right from the bogs (which it has), but there are some PT pine that look and feel different that perhaps you picked up by mistake? They are much drier than the green stuff, but definitely still feel damp.7 February 2019 at 3:08 pm #554921
@Ed +Larry – I’m going to try these tips. Maybe work with the scraper some more (having some sharpening issues as I accidentally bought the 2″ instead of 3″ diamond stone – need to make more sandpaper blocks). The SYP may have been treated but was from the area of the store with all the untreated, need to research that. The construction studs were not treated. I don’t recall how dry they felt but I did use them fairly soon, maybe 2 weeks, after purchasing.
edit: checked the moisture – all wood in the shop give readings of ~12%, the studs in the bench vary by +/-1% and the SYP apron is 12%.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Brian A.
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