Planer issue this morning


I was using a planer this morning on a cutting board and it damaged my wood. See attached photo. I left my cutting board on the front table for someone to take a look at. Did I do something wrong or is there an issue with the planer

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It’s hard to be sure from the picture, but it appears that your wood is very figured. Is it curly, perhaps even Birdseye, Maple?

Figured wood is notoriously hard to plane, with power tools or hand tools. It is prone to tear out like that. The options are to take super light passes, and make sure you are using the best direction to feed thru. If the wood is super figured there may not be a good feeed direction available.

You probably will have much hand scraping, sanding or even some spot hand planing to get that to a finish you like. If I am reading it right, it’s not a problem with the machine, but a common planing issue.

The only ‘machine’ fix I am aware of is to install a special cutter head, called a spiral cutter head. It is designed with many small cutters instead of a large blade, and each is at an angle such that it slices thru the wood at an angle. These are unfortunately very expensive upgrades. Hundreds of dollars.

That’s all based on my reading the Internet picture, so I could be all wrong!

Carl lance


thanks! I am very new to all this, you have been very helpful. I chose wood
based on the figuring because it was so beautiful but did not know it is
hard to work with. On the other hand, the Purple Heart is also being
pockmarked by the planer. That doesn’t have any figuring whatsoever. I
guess it’s the sander for me!


Man, i’m Sorry to tell you this, but Purpleheart is a very hard wood, and naturally has a high silica content. You usually need to take 1/64 inch or less passes at a tim, again making sure it’s the right direction into the planer for the grain direction.

And if the blades are super sharp on the planer, they won’t be for long planing purple heart.

It’s unfortunate that sometimes the woods we find most attractive to work with are also the most temperamental.


How do you figure out which direction is the right direction?



Sometimes I think about it like petting my dog. The hair grows in such a way that petting one way lays the hair down and it’s soft and enjoyable. The other way is trying to lift the hair up, and doesn’t work well.

Look at this image and see that if you see the grain of the wood going one way or the other, it works the same way for wood.

The problem is if the grain isn’t very straight and curls up and down, then there isn’t a single way from end to end to plain the board that’s best. Thus curly maple being such a bear!


Here is a nice reference as to how to see or feel the grain.


thank you for your patience and tuteledge!


The drum sander would probably be useful when you come across a problem like this. I can give you a quick tutorial on it next time we’re both at the space.


@RealCarlRaymond looked into this tonight. The belt driving the extraction impeller had slipped off so chips could accumulate in the machine.

He also replaced the knives.

@mlbmichigan let me know when you want to do a tutorial on the drum sander and I’ll be happy to help you out.


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