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Planing Down "Curly" Maple

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  • Planing Down "Curly" Maple

    Hi All,

    One of my current projects involves planing down rough maple. I was surprised that a few of the boards turned out to be of the curly variety; very beautiful stuff. I have, however, noticed that I am getting small chips/gouges at random spots in the wood. They are not very big....the biggest about 1/4", but enough that it renders the 8 ft length I need useless unless I use a filler of some sort (which I am unwilling to do). This does not occur with the "normal" maple, so I must assume it is a characteristic of the wood. I have put the boards aside with about 3/16" left to take off. I would greatly appreciate any advice on how I might avoid this and if anyone has had experience with planing this type of wood.

    Thanks!
    Zeno
    “Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world.” —Thomas Carlyle

  • #2
    Originally posted by zenophus View Post
    I would greatly appreciate any advice on how I might avoid this and if anyone has had experience with planing this type of wood.

    Thanks!
    Zeno
    1. Sharp blades
    2. Thin slices
    3. Slow feed rate
    4. Go with the grain (as much as possible, anyway). With this feed direction < the side grain should run like this \\\ not this ///
    5. Lots of prayer (which is a good idea anyway)
    6. Adequate supply of sandpaper

    Comment


    • #3
      I've been dealing with this a lot lately. I have a good amount of curly maple to plane down. I've found the above tips to be critical (proper feed direction, slow feed rate, VERY sharp blades). My Dewalt planer doesn't have variable speed, however. What I've been doing is planing close on the machine, then I'll finish with a hand plane. It's labor-intensive....but I've also found I can now pull my bow a lot easier!!

      Sanding is another critical piece of the puzzle. Although with a properly sharpened hand planer, the sanding job is a lot less work. On an 8-ft board...I think it'd probably take me at least a month (weekends/evenings) to hand-plane it. Your time may vary. It's a whole bunch of work.

      The problem with machine planes is the wavy nature of curly maple grain. It's just about impossible to feed the board in a way that'll eliminate the small amount of tear-out. I've been experimenting with a Bosch electric hand plane the past couple days, and it does seem to work ok. Take off small amounts with each pass, feed slowly, and pull up at the end of the board. If you have a chance to try out a powered hand plane, give it a try. Takes some getting used to, and I highly recommend practicing a lot first. Also, I would not highly recommend the Bosch powered hand plane. It's just not a good fit in my hand, and I'm not wild about it's chip removal mechanism.
      I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks Guys for the great advice. I'm headed for the shop now to give it a try and I'll let you know in the morning.

        Thanks Again!

        BTW.....I can't find the manual at the moment, but can you adjust the feed rate on the TP1300?
        Last edited by zenophus; 11-30-2006, 05:46 PM.
        “Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world.” —Thomas Carlyle

        Comment


        • #5
          As far as I can tell, the 1300 does not have a variable speed option. Here's a link to the manual PDF btw http://www.ridgid.com/manuals/englis...00_316_eng.pdf
          I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

          Comment


          • #6
            OK....Looks like greenandgrowing's advice was right on. I found if I turned the thickness down to 1/16th (1/128") of a turn at a time and installed fresh blades it very much reduced the chipping, albeit not completely. The chipping that did occur is very sandable. You guys have saved my boards and the project! Thanks so much. I love this forum!

            Thanks,
            Zeno

            Oh! I forgot to mention.....There is a new set of blades under the outfeed table that I never knew were there!! I've had this thing for almost a year!! Wonders never cease.....
            Last edited by zenophus; 11-30-2006, 09:08 PM.
            “Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world.” —Thomas Carlyle

            Comment


            • #7
              Do you have a small cabinet shop nearby? Small being the keyword. Id bet if you went in there with a couple dozen donuts in the early morning, or a case in the afternoon you could get someone to run your boards through a widebelt sander

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              • #8
                Helical Head

                Another thought would be to find that same shop with a helical head planer. Just my 2 cents worth.
                Threefinder

                Comment


                • #9
                  Orange....I did find a local mill that will run them through a sander for me at $.35/bf. I think that is very reasonable. Any thoughts?

                  Thanks
                  Zeno
                  “Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world.” —Thomas Carlyle

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You can also spray a little distilled water on the wood to moisten it up some. That will also help with tearout.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I dont think .35 a bdft is bad, but Im spoiled. I work in a shop. Unfortunately I cant see my place doing stuff like this for someone, but there has to be something like it somewhere.

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