Checks in wood

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Forum topic by trsnider posted 08-01-2017 12:53 AM 684 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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209 posts in 2786 days

08-01-2017 12:53 AM

I have small checks in walnut that won’t seem to go away no matter how much planing sanding or scraping I do. Also the

other is a definite change in wood tone and texture. Both are highlighted.

3 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2544 days

#1 posted 08-01-2017 01:10 AM

I don’t see it but you can damp the surface to raise the grain, let it dry, use varnish such as teak oil to wet sand the surface with 220. Wipe gently or use credit card to remove access. Wait 72 hours and sand smooth. CA glue might work too.


View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4424 days

#2 posted 08-01-2017 01:48 AM

You’re looking at distorted grain that was
adjacent to a knot. The problem with hand
planing is it never handles reversing or
weird grain perfectly. Try a card scraper
on troublesome sections, scraping across
the grain at a 45 degree angle or so to
avoid scraping a small hollow where the
grain is bad.

In the end, only with the best boards can
we be lucky enough to hand plane every
surface. Sometimes sanding really is the
best route to an acceptable surface.

View rwyoung's profile


412 posts in 4248 days

#3 posted 08-03-2017 02:58 PM

Looks more like tearout as described above and not checking. Checking is typically a small crack that is with the direction of grain. The crack can be through-and-through or just at the surface or even buried inside the board.

And contrary to the above advice, a properly tuned smoothing plane can EASILY deal with the grain above (sufficiently flattened & tuned plane body, sharp blade, properly set and tuned chip breaker, narrow mouth opening, finely set and if necessary a pitch angle higher than 45*). That hardly qualifies as difficult grain.

Baring that, a card scraper is a good alternative. Just be sure it is also sharp, use good technique and you work an area much larger than the defect so that a hollow isn’t created. The hollow will easily show up under a finish, particularly a film finish.

Then a quick touch sanding over all surfaces to equalize texture in case you are applying a color coat.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

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