Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Oregon Myrtle, avoiding tear out

I'm making a steel string acoustic at the moment, I'm using Oregan Myrtle for the back and sides, theres a lot of figure in the tonewood. The two sides have been joined and its time to thickness and surface the board.  The grain in the two pieces rises and dives up and down the length and width so is very hard to thickness and surface to a high finish.  Tear out is a constant threat.  Tear out is a result of the plane not cutting the wood fibre where its supposed too and the fibre breaking, leaving deep pits in your marvelous tonewood. 
The way to get round this is a good reading of the grain in the timber and having a fine setting of the plane.  Above, you can see my toothed blades in my no5 and Block planes, these are a big help in figured tonewoods, nice and sharp for a good clean cut and no breaking of fibres.  As I get to know the piece I approach the planing from various angles, going slowly at a shallow cut depth to coax out a clean, perfect surface.
In the top left of the photo you can see my scraper, this brings out a fine shaving at a high angle for a great surfacing job.

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