Wood Direction and Reading Grain

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  • #644342
    Mark68
    Participant

    I’ve been watching various Youtube videos about how to read the grain. Some say to plane in the direction the cathedrals are pointing, some say plane headlong into them. Some say plane “up the hill”, others, “down the hill.” There seems to be a lot of conflicting information and I’m confused.

    The graphic below seems to clarify things. Not sure that’s conclusive though.

    "Sawdust? I think you'll find that's man-glitter."

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    #644349
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    If you see cathedrals it means the grain is coming out of the wood . Your diagram shows the direction on the heart and bark sides is opposite. That only helps if you can see the end grain which isn’t always the case. Just set the plane light and test. If you have tearout, plane the other way. With a little practice, the sound will tell you even without tearout.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Larry Geib.
    #644355
    Mark68
    Participant

    You’re right. The more I research this the more I’m thinking it’s easier to just ‘test’ the grain first. Some say you can even tell by running your fingers along the surface of the wood (rough or smooth).

    The other info is useful to know but I think the easiest way to tell the running of the wood grain is to do as you say.

    "Sawdust? I think you'll find that's man-glitter."

    #644382
    Sandy
    Participant

    I agree with Larry. Sometimes you can tell buy looking and sometimes not. Just set the plane shallow and give it a cut. You’ll be able to tell right off the bat which way you should be working.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein

    #644876
    Greg Nuckols
    Participant

    Personally I like using the end grain to make a first guess, when practical. To make it easier to remember, I think of the phrase “the heart shows the way” which I learned from a Phil Lowe video. The meaning is: on the heart side of a board, first try planing in the direction of the cathedral points. (And on the other [bark] side, plane in the opposite direction.)

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