Smoothing a maple panel - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-20-2014, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Smoothing a maple panel

Hi,

I'm really struggling to get a maple panel ready for finish and was wondering what folks would recommend or what experience you've had in relation to this.

The panel is made up of two joined bookmatched boards. First, I took the jointer plane to it to flatten it. Then the smoother. Most of the panel has come out well - shimmering surface - but most just ain't good enough!

There are patches, probably where the grain swirls or changes direction (i'm not the most experienced at this, and yes i know now, i definitely shouldn't have messed with maple at this stage) where the the surface is just not satisfactory.

Any suggestions how to get these panels shimmering the way this wood deserves?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-20-2014, 01:29 PM
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If you have been hand planing, and have rough spots now, does that mean that you have areas where the wood has been torn out by the planer blade? If that is so, you will have to smooth out those areas until the tear out is gone....or resort to using a wood filler.

For swirly grain wood it is better to use a sander to smooth out the board. Start at a course grit and work up to a fine grit, going through each grit step along the way.
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-20-2014, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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I'm trying to avoid sanding. Just find it unpleasant. Need to learn how to do this without sanding.

I was wondering about using a scraper plane? Maybe this would tame the rough spots?
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-20-2014, 08:11 PM
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What it sounds like you are dealing with is curly maple. It has swirled grain, so don't plane it or you'll rip chunks of wood out. The only easy way to finish it is to sand it with a belt sander to smooth it, then use a palm sander, progressing with sandpaper from coarse to fine, to sand it down smooth. Then use some linseed oil to bring out the grain and coat it with some clear protective coating. Does your maple look like the wood in the picture attached? If so it is curly maple so follow the steps I just gave you. If not, sharpen your planer blades to razor sharp and use a scraper blade on your planer.
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post #5 of 13 Old 01-20-2014, 08:12 PM
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-21-2014, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the valuable feedback!

@Pahern: Parts of the board look like the picture you posted. Other parts have a wavy grain pattern that planes well until I hit a patch of who knows what.

Is it normal for a single board of maple to have so much variety?

It's a pity because most of the surface i've planed looks good, just a couple areas that i'm at a loss how to deal with. If you sand them, that area still stands out as the rest is planed.

I think i may end up cutting my losses. Doing the best i can with the parts, assembling the project and learning from the experience

Lesson # 1: sand tiger maple.
Lesson # 2 In future select maple v v carefully to get as straight a grain as possible if you don't want to sand.

Probably a bunch more lessons...
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-21-2014, 12:21 PM
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You have some nice pieces of curly maple. Most folks would love to have these pieces. Curly figure is normally a premium. You should be happy.

The "curl" is where the grain is coming out of the board. Hence mixed grain direction. Planing mixed grain can result in tearout, what you are referring to as "rough".

As stated earlier you can sand smooth. The alternate to sanding is using a card scraper. Inexpensive and very handy to have around.

http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/202...-Set-of-4.aspx
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-21-2014, 12:23 PM
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Well, you can use straight grained maple, but you will never attain the stunning beauty of figured maple. So there's a trade off involved with that. Cabinet scrapers my be a better option than a plane, but just as with a plane, you have to sharpen them properly, and keep honing them because the ONLY way you will get a clean cut is by keeping them super sharp. It is the nature of figured wood because you are cutting with the nap, against the nap, and crossways to the nap no matter which direction you cut.
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-21-2014, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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@mmwood_1 Fair point indeed! Thing is, seems to me, using a scraper on a board just seems impractical, not to mention a recipe for burnt thumbs.

What about a scraper plane? Could that possibly be a viable solution?
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-21-2014, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatortrial View Post
Thing is, seems to me, using a scraper on a board just seems impractical, not to mention a recipe for burnt thumbs.

What about a scraper plane? Could that possibly be a viable solution?
If you have not used a card scraper, you may not appreciate how easy they work when they have a decent burr.

A scraper plane will also work. Just a lot more expensive.

Most people using scrapers get fatigue in the wrist from holding. A scraper holder is less expensive than a scraper plane and will work almost as well.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/pag...=1,310&p=32669
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-21-2014, 12:40 PM
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Make yourself a large scraper, that's easy to handle.
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Smoothing a maple panel-s5ha11.jpg






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post #12 of 13 Old 01-24-2014, 10:38 AM
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I had the same issue with some red oak and also share a hatred for sanding. I was lucky enough to be given a veritas scraper plane and it has worked well, with exception of the nails on a chalkboard noise it makes, using ear protection for hand tools is strange.

Be sure to research burnishing and get a good burnisher, that can be the difference between the wispy curls you want and the powdery tear out you dont.

Last edited by GISer3546; 01-24-2014 at 10:41 AM.
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post #13 of 13 Old 01-24-2014, 02:00 PM
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I would opt for a scraper over sanding also. A well sharpened card scraper is a wonderful tool.

Cabinetman, do you sharpen that with a burr or with an edge like a jointer knife normally has?

Dave in CT, USA
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