Wood flaking after running through planer... help

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Forum topic by oper80r posted 03-15-2016 05:38 PM 1902 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View oper80r's profile


9 posts in 1166 days

03-15-2016 05:38 PM


Wood working noob here

I just recently bought a thickness planer and decided to use some recycled wood from a mattress box spring for a laminated table top. I ran the wood through the planer and it started to flake after a couple of passes (see pictrues below) is this because of the planer maybe having dull blades, planer configuration or is it the wood itself? Thanks in advance for any help

15 replies so far

View Aj2's profile


1985 posts in 2066 days

#1 posted 03-15-2016 06:06 PM

My guess is a little of both.Pine machines very nicely with sharp knives.Pine also has both hard and soft layers.That why it looks like its delaminating.
That’s all I got.

-- Aj

View AZWoody's profile


1425 posts in 1492 days

#2 posted 03-15-2016 06:07 PM

I don’t know about the sharpness because I haven’t had to sharpen mine but when I see that, I run the wood in the opposite direction but I’ve had wood that will do that to some degree no matter which direction. It just has to do with the grain orientation and how it was milled. The wood was cut in a way that the wood will peel in layers when run through the planer.

I’m sure others will chime in with experience in regards to the blades and other reasons that could be causing it.
Lots of experience on this site from the woodworkers here.

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


17824 posts in 3274 days

#3 posted 03-15-2016 06:13 PM

You can try running it through your planer at a bit of an angle. Ive had that happen to me using cypress where it wants to peel layers at the cathedrals of the grain. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot you can really do about it.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2263 days

#4 posted 03-15-2016 06:20 PM

That definitely looks like tear out to me. Dull blades can increase tearout, but all wood will tear out to some degree if you run it the wrong way through the planer. Looks to me like the wood was run through with the end on the bottom right of the last picture entering the planer first? Try the other way.

Someone explained it to me like this…the grain of the wood is strands of fibers which can be thought of as bundles of drinking straws. If you held a bunch of straws at a slight angle in your hand, and tried to cut them with a knife, you can do it from two directions. The direction where the knife contacts the middle of the length of straws, or the direction where it enters from the ends of the straws. One way will cut the straws cleanly since the pressure of the blade is holding the bundle together and down, the other will cause them to bend up and cut unevenly. Hopefully that description is clear enough.

Even hand planes will tear out if you go the wrong direction. Sometimes it is hard to tell, and you might need to take a light pass to look for tearout, then flip the board around if necessary.

End grain (like that knot) or grain that changes direction alot on some highly figured woods, will always have the highest risk of tearout because no matter which way you go there is always some grain pointing in the ‘wrong’ direction.

Hope that helps.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View dhazelton's profile


2832 posts in 2564 days

#5 posted 03-15-2016 06:26 PM

Extremely wide growth rings in combination with how the log was sawed. That’s why that board was relegated to being hidden forever under a box spring. I would get different wood. You will never make that board pretty.

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1721 days

#6 posted 03-15-2016 06:49 PM

Duh, knots are where the grain change direction. You should feed with the grain falling or you get the tearout you see. Since the grain reverses at knot there is no solution other than to use less knotty wood. Try it on something without knots and youll see there is nothing wrong with your planer.

Also, be sure to wax the bed regularly. If the feed stalls, more wax!

A good addition to the planer is a thickness DRO:


-- Madmark -

View SignWave's profile


452 posts in 3303 days

#7 posted 03-15-2016 09:26 PM

I wouldn’t run that wood through a planer because that knot is quite hard and unlikely to play nicely with the planer blades. That “free” wood will get expensive if you have to buy blades because of it. Just sayin’...

As mentioned, the grain changes direction near a knot, so there’s no “right” way to feed it. Skewing the board might help a little, but it might not. Running it slower might also help, if that’s even possible, but it might not.

-- Barry,

View SamuraiSaw's profile


515 posts in 2232 days

#8 posted 03-15-2016 09:36 PM

Secondary wood is generally not going to work for appearance grade. What you’re seeing is simply the open grain pattern of low end yellow pine. You’re not doing anything wrong other than expecting the wood to behave differently. A lot of woods can be recycled and repurposed, but the wood you are trying to use simply won’t look very good.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1721 days

#9 posted 03-16-2016 12:44 AM

On most ‘good’ projects the cost of better materials is dwarfed by the cost of the labor. Don’t scrimp, knotty pine looks like hell no matter what you tell the wife …


-- Madmark -

View teejk02's profile


491 posts in 1393 days

#10 posted 03-16-2016 01:06 AM

A lot of hardwoods won’t peel like that but a pass through the planer will open the sap pockets. I try to take shallower cuts when I see it (like maybe close to nothing but I work with short boards and it’s no big deal to run them, change the cutter depth and re-run) ...sooner or later I get an idea of grain direction (not always evident on a raw board). Keep it to minimum and then learn about ROS’s!

View teejk02's profile


491 posts in 1393 days

#11 posted 03-16-2016 01:06 AM

looks like a “dup day”! sorry

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1667 days

#12 posted 03-16-2016 03:32 AM

Use that board where only the edges will show. Or use it only for internal stuff (base frame for a cabinet, for example).

View Redoak49's profile


3804 posts in 2256 days

#13 posted 03-16-2016 11:09 AM

Sharp knives and better boards.

Please do not run a board with a partiality loose knot thru the planer. They can damage your blades a d if they come loose damage the planer. It I s like Dirty Harry said ” Do you feel lucky today?”

View bondogaposis's profile


5211 posts in 2619 days

#14 posted 03-16-2016 11:48 AM

It is because of the wood itself. There is reason that board was used in an application where it wouldn’t be seen. It is just not suitable for a table top.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View oper80r's profile


9 posts in 1166 days

#15 posted 03-16-2016 01:10 PM

Thanks Guys for the great info Ive learned a lot reading your posts. As recomended Ill be ditching this wood and useing it for other applications.

Thanks again

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