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dbnewton
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made a sled to plane some large "rounds" (photos below). They are about 40% moisture. Plan is to plane and seal (done).

I didn't expect perfection and maybe this is good enough for now. But I am getting some "tracks". See the vertical lines in photo. These are only slight and probably would sand out if the wood was dry.

Unevenness is around 1mm (1-2 32nd of an inch).

Is that reasonable or should I be expecting better and pursuing the cause (technique or flex/jitter in the jig or???)

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DB - give us some history on the wood itself.
there are several issues that can affect the texture of routing wood.
moisture content: yours is high, which would account for the fuzzy cuts.
condition of wood: green, dead on the ground, or kiln dried down to 10-15%.
and finally, the router bit: there are hundreds of bit styles that are used for removing wood.
if you are going to be doing a lot of this type of work, there are other bits that will remove a lot of wood and leave a clean cut finish. but, one should not expect that to be the last step. much sanding needs to be done with belt and RO sanders.
I have never run a cookie through a thickness planer - I have this embedded fear it will tear out big chunks of wood because it is vertical grain. a thickness "sander" would be my choice if you can find one.
these are two bits that I use - of course there are dozens of "name brands" that would work as good or better.
Note: I like that sled you have - that is a really nice set up - well done.
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I have not had a need to make a router sled for myself for planing, yet. That said, I am not surprised to see tracks from planing by others with a router sled. I have seen them in many other photos of router planing, including the one that @shoot summ posted above.

If you think about it, to avoid tracks, the router bit cutting edges must stay perfectly parallel to the surface being cut throughout the planing process. Those cutting edges must stay perfectly registered as the router moves back and forth and the frame moves left and right. Perfect is hard to do. The slightest deviation or tilt in the router bit will leave a slightly deeper cut on that outside edge of the router bit, leaving a line as the router moves. Furthermore, if there is the slightest vibration in the router bit, it will leave tracks as well.

Even the finest tracks would be easy to see in the wood as they are typically long parallel lines. I would be surprised to see a router planer sled that was so perfect it didn't leave any tracks at all, but it is possible. My hunch is that every router sled planing operation is followed by a relatively easy cleanup, probably with a random orbital sander.
 

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Smart and Cool
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I have not had a need to make a router sled for myself for planing, yet. That said, I am not surprised to see tracks from planing by others with a router sled. I have seen them in many other photos of router planing, including the one that @shoot summ posted above.

If you think about it, to avoid tracks, the router bit cutting edges must stay perfectly parallel to the surface being cut throughout the planing process. Those cutting edges must stay perfectly registered as the router moves back and forth and the frame moves left and right. Perfect is hard to do. The slightest deviation or tilt in the router bit will leave a slightly deeper cut on that outside edge of the router bit, leaving a line as the router moves. Furthermore, if there is the slightest vibration in the router bit, it will leave tracks as well.

Even the finest tracks would be easy to see in the wood as they are typically long parallel lines. I would be surprised to see a router planer sled that was so perfect it didn't leave any tracks at all, but it is possible. My hunch is that every router sled planing operation is followed by a relatively easy cleanup, probably with a random orbital sander.
It seems to happen on a CNC with cookies as well, maybe it's due to the direction of cut relative the grain?

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"Mow" bands are a problem even on CNC and heavy duty milling machines, expecting to eliminate them with a router running along a couple lengths of wood is very optimistic.
Interesting article on some of the factors:
 

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dbnewton
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everyone for the responses. I now just need to wait for the wood to dry. Its too wet to sand now so I coated with anchor seal and set aside. Then I either just sand if not too much movement, or plane again and sand.

DB - give us some history on the wood itself.
...
and finally, the router bit: there are hundreds of bit styles that are used for removing wood.
...
I have never run a cookie through a thickness planer - I have this embedded fear it will tear out big chunks of wood
...
I can't say much about the history of the wood. I found it in a pile not at the source, clearly cut into firewood lengths. I just cut the cookies with a chain saw and hauled them home.

The router bit I'm using is pictured. It is 1.5" on 1/2" shank. It is much like the one in your photo on the right but the corner is rounded instead of sharp.

I have run a cookie through a thickness planer. I thought Id try it on a piece I didn't care too much about and sure enough it did precisely as you (and I) expected: it shattered the trailing edge. But of course these pieces are way too large to ever consider running through a planer, thus the sled.
 

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where's my table saw?
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You should seal the wood immediately or it will shrink too fast and have excessive splits all around. If you want a clear sealer ARMR seal is a good one:
The end grain of wood has thousands of small capsules that are filled with moisture and when they dry out too fast and shrink it causes the splits especially in "cookies" 2" thick or so. They will cup and warp as they dry and become difficult to make flat even with a proper router sled. It can be done but will take more time and more passes.
 
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