Surfacing Zebra Wood

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Forum topic by Jim Ganley posted 02-15-2010 01:12 AM 3048 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim Ganley

54 posts in 3809 days

02-15-2010 01:12 AM

This is one of a mystery’s that I cannot solve on my own, every time I try and run the wood thru the planer it just tears off does not matter whether I take a big bite or just tick it.

-- Jim - Cushing, WI

8 replies so far

View bobkberg's profile


439 posts in 3714 days

#1 posted 02-16-2010 08:24 AM

Never having worked with zebra wood, I can only guess, but here goes…

- Are the planer blades new and sharp?
- Have you tried reversing the direction that the wood goes through the planer?
- Is the cutter head locked in position?

If that doesn’t help, it might be worth it to have a cabinet shop run it through their sheet sander.

-- Bob - A sideline, not how I earn a living

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3714 days

#2 posted 02-16-2010 10:22 AM

I’ve never worked with solid Zebra wood but I’ve worked with a number of different woods that are very hard and/or have wild grain. If you’re going to work with wood like that you need to invest in either a good drum sander or a planer with a spiral blade. I never run these kinds of wood through a normal planer because they always tear out. My drum sander hanldes them pretty well but I go through a lot of belts due to burning.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View ellen35's profile


2746 posts in 4073 days

#3 posted 02-16-2010 02:00 PM

I have worked with zebrawood. It is tough to plane and joint. I think it is because the wood is really 2 different densities. I find that taking off very very very small amounts seems to work. It also requires a ton of sanding afterward. I am going to try some through my drum sander and see if I get better results (just got the drum sander). Hope this helps. I also wonder about wetting it first as some have suggested for other woods that tear out easily.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3927 days

#4 posted 02-16-2010 04:40 PM

I’ve used it, and don’t plane it. I do have a widebelt sander though. If you have much to do, you might find a shop in your area with a drum or widebelt sander to sand it for you.

If it is small pieces, hand planes and card scrapers might be a good option.


View Mike's profile


93 posts in 3806 days

#5 posted 02-16-2010 09:27 PM

I have done a little work with Zebra but I don’t have a planer. I had good luck resawing on the bandsaw and sanding smooth. It sands very well and quickly.

Good luck

-- Mike, Cantral Oregon

View Triman's profile


50 posts in 4223 days

#6 posted 02-16-2010 09:54 PM

I’ve planed, and occasionally have tear out, but 3 things to help:
1) Make sure your blades are scary sharp.
2) Make sure the feed rollers are clean, so as to not have any slipping.
3) Take off only 1/32” at a time.

Even then, you’ll still have some sanding to do!

-- Bruce, San Jose, Ca

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18821 posts in 4317 days

#7 posted 02-16-2010 11:52 PM

This is what I love about this site. I get answers to questions I didn’t even know were going to come up in teh future:-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View SawdustWrangler's profile


91 posts in 4039 days

#8 posted 02-17-2010 09:16 PM

I’ve used it a few times and had no trouble with planing it. I use a DeWalt 735 and no problems. The only time I ever have nicks from planing is because I forgot to turn on the shop-vac collecting from the dust hood.

-- Chris, South Carolina

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