Aromatic red cedar

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Forum topic by oltexasboy1 posted 04-26-2014 01:09 AM 1196 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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251 posts in 1975 days

04-26-2014 01:09 AM

I don’t know if it just me or is ARC really difficult to plane correctly? I am making a cedar chest for my wife and the top is 2×4 feet , a glueup panel of 5 different pieces. There is a few thousands difference in thickness and I have been trying to make them all level. There is the problem. I have a very well sharpen plane , that is set correctly to shave very thin and yet I am having gouging and hanging problems because of the knots in the wood. I think I am going to give up and break out the sanders and figure this out after I get the “box” finished, but I am interested however to see if there is a special technique that I should use to get these planed correctly. Anybody got an idea?

-- "The pursuit of perfection often yields excellence"

8 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile


19817 posts in 2127 days

#1 posted 04-26-2014 01:43 AM

Can’t help with the hand plane methods as I’m not much of a hand plane user. How about gluing up the panel with one side lined up and then plane it flat after it’s dry.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View swirt's profile


3675 posts in 3242 days

#2 posted 04-26-2014 02:23 AM

I have had the same experience. Short pieces with similar grain are no problem but a longer piece with knots and undulating grain are often a tear-out nightmare. It is fibrous and the fibers are loosely bound to each other. I often even have trouble using a card scraper on red cedar without getting tearout and fuzz. I try to stick with planes and scrapers most of the time but I make the excuse that red cedar is what sandpaper was invented for ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

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Jim Finn

2691 posts in 3192 days

#3 posted 04-26-2014 02:02 PM

I work with a lot of red cedar also and try to avoid the knots as much as I can. Yes, cedar often requires a bit of sanding.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

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251 posts in 1975 days

#4 posted 04-26-2014 03:50 PM

Sand paper it is then. I had made a gun rack for my muzzle loader a few years ago and I didn’t have all the tools I have today and was forced to sand out any imperfections and it turned out pretty well.Thanks for the input everybody,I appreciate it.

-- "The pursuit of perfection often yields excellence"

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251 posts in 1975 days

#5 posted 04-26-2014 04:24 PM

Thanks Jim , I took a look at your projects, impressive.The panels for your chest, is a good idea, maybe if I ever make another I’ll try that instead of long full size boards.

-- "The pursuit of perfection often yields excellence"

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2343 days

#6 posted 04-26-2014 07:02 PM

It can be a real bear to mill, hand or other wise. There is quite a difference in hardness and softness between the different grains of the wood, and sometimes many wild grain patterns. What has always helped me is to get it good and dry. I usually stick it up with fans on it until I get moisture readings below 10 percent. It mills a lot easier that way. In Austin in the summer I have had to even get it inside in an air conditioned room.

Here is a batch drying. this is to be machine milled, but I know it would help for all styles. It took me 12 days to get this down to an average 8 to 10 percent. It milled very nicely after that. I did have to rest it in the shop, to re-acclimate it before moving on the the next step.

-- Who is John Galt?

View oltexasboy1's profile


251 posts in 1975 days

#7 posted 04-27-2014 06:12 PM

I have the same Texas weather you do but mine is in Houston, more humidity. One of the biggest problems I have is the smallness of my work area which really restricts much fan drying or any other endeavor that requires much space. I have not as yet invested in a moisture meter, because for me I work when my arthritis says I can so I don’t worry to much about moisture content generally. I can only work on one project at a time, so if it is really humid outside I find something else to do. One of the great benefits of being retired. Thanks to all for the input I might take a pic when I am done (if it turns out well) and post it here. Again thanks to all.

-- "The pursuit of perfection often yields excellence"

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30221 posts in 2609 days

#8 posted 04-27-2014 06:50 PM

I have had numerous problems with tearout with ARC. I don’t know if it is typical for everyone, but it is somewhat common. Small bites and feed it slow.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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