How Do I Remove Planer Marks?

It doesn’t matter how much of a skilled woodworker you are, planer marks are sometimes unavoidable. However, it doesn’t mean that your piece of wood is completely ruined. If you’ve been in this situation and have thought to yourself “How do I remove planer marks?”, you’ve come to the right place!

Below, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about removing planer marks so that you can get your piece of wood looking its best again in no time.

The first thing you need to know when it comes to removing planer marks is that prevention is the best cure. Keeping your planer thicknesser’s blades sharp and ensure that you’ve got the planer running at the right speed for the wood you’re working with.

Keeping your planer in great condition will play a huge part in preventing planer marks from forming.

If, however, the damage is already done and you’ve ended up with chatter marks or tear-out, a sander is the best tool for the job. Start by using a sandpaper with a lower grit, as this will give you an indication of how bad the marks actually are. Apply minimal pressure and gently buff away at the wood.

Take the sander away and inspect the marks. If they’ve disappeared, you’ve fixed the problem! However, if they are still there or are only slightly less obvious, switch the sandpaper for one with a higher grit number.

Of course, if the planer marks are particularly bad and cover most of the surface of the wood, buffing them away with a sander is going to take an extremely long time. In this instance, it may be best to try running the wood through the planer again so it can shave away the top couple of millimetres, taking the marks away with it.

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You can also try removing them with an electric handheld planer. This will allow you to shave a few millimetres off the top and remove the marks, without having to run the risk of forming more when passing the wood back through a planer thicknesser.

Why is my planer leaving lines?

To find the best way to remove planer marks, you need to know what’s causing them in the first place. There are a couple of reasons why your planer may be leaving lines in your wood.

Ripples

There are three reasons why ripples could be left behind after you’ve run your wood through a planer.

The first reason is that you’ve got the speed wrong. If the wood is being fed into the planer too slowly, the planer blade will leave around 15-20 knife marks per inch. If it’s going too fast, you’ll get fewer than 15 marks per inch. Either way, the arc that’s created by the circular motion of the blade will leave marks behind and these will need to be sanded away.

The second reason is that the planer’s bedplate has been worn over time after rubbing against so many different wooden boards. When this happens, the board isn’t held tightly against the bed and it will chatter up and down. It’s this motion that creates chatter-marks.

Finally, it could be that the planer’s blades are dull. When this happens, some of the wood can be pushed further down into the wood rather than being planed off. It may look smooth as soon as it comes out of the planer, but as soon as moisture hits it, the ripples begin to appear.

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To stop ripples from forming, you need to keep your planer in good working condition. Make sure that the blades are sharp, and that the table isn’t starting to wear. You also need to make sure that you’re using the correct planing speed for the wood you’re using.

Raised Grain

The main cause for raised grain is, again, a dull planer blade. This is most common when you’re working woods that have a large density difference, as the dull blade pushes the dense latewood into the soft earlywood. And, instead of cutting fibres, marks are left behind.

This can also lead to tears in the wood which, as with lines, will need to be sanded away.

To stop this from happening, it’s a simple case of keeping your planer’s blade nice and sharp. Most planers come with blades that can be easily resharpened using a whetstone. But, if they are looking particularly dull or leaving lines behind every time, you may need to replace them.

Conclusion

While using a sander or a handheld electric planer is the best way to remove planer marks and get your wood looking great again, the best way to prevent them is by looking after your planer. Keep the blades sharp, use the correct speed, and the likelihood of developing planer lines will be dramatically reduced.

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