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Maybe some of you can help me understand what I am up against and how to solve my problem.

Got some nice looking tiger maple, well figured, that I wanted to make a rod case out of.  Ran some of it through my 12" planner tonight and was getting some pretty good digs out of it.

Is there a secret to planing this stuff or is the secret not to run it through a planner?  My hope was to resaw it to just over 1/4" thick and then let the planner take the last little bit.  The way I'm approaching it now isn't going to work.  (Tim Wilhelm)

    If you run curly maple through a planer it's going to take divots out, the only solutions is either to hand plane with a bedrock or run it through a abrasive planer (sander). I worked with the stuff for 7-8 years and when we carved it with finger planes we used toothed blades, so we could go in any directions, and cleaned up the planing marks with scrapers.   (Patrick Coffey)


I’m having problems with my table saw and I’m sure a couple of you can help me with this. After truing my boards on the jointer, I go to rip it into the size I need and I’m getting scorch marks on the wood.  I’m also getting the saw blade marks.  How do I get rid of the scorch marks?

Are the blade marks on the wood a result of improper tuning on the saw?  I can get rid of this with a couple passes on the jointer, but this seems like something I shouldn’t HAVE to do.  This would also require me to oversize when jointing and planing, then rip, then rejoint to size,  (Kris Fox)

    Check your splitter to make sure it is in line with your blade. Also check to be sure the fence and blade are parallel.  (Ray Wallace)

      Another cause is the rip fence is not parallel with the blade. This can be checked quickly by measuring the distance from one of the miter fence slots to the fence at the front and rear - they should be equal.  This presumes the trunions and thus the arbor are perpendicular to the blade.  Or, as someone else mentioned, it could be as simple as a warped blade.

      If no success with these, contact me off-line.  I have a couple of magazines in the file with procedures for tuning a saw. Can scan and send. Saw one just this week, so I know its not buried too deep.   (Carey Mitchell)

    It could be the blade is buckled. Or not very sharp.  (Gary Nicholson)

    Either the blade is warped or the blade and fence aren't parallel. Either is likely unless you have a very old quality blade, these new thin kerf POS warp at the slightest excuse. Fences being out of whack are pretty common, too, most table saws (lots, I've been a carpenter for 27 years) I've used the setting has to be measured at the front and the back of the blade and the fence "thumped" to final position. A good saw will have a way to adjust the fence, look for some screws or bolts holding the fence to the clamping mechanism.  (John Channer)

    Scorch or burn marks are often caused by one of or a combination of several things. Damp wood, a dull saw, untuned saw, or wood that has fibers under stress are just a few. 

    I would recommend trying a "Freud Diablo 10" - 40 tooth combination blade" This blade is made especially for damp lumber and has some sort of miracle coating on it that makes it very slippery. When "new" it also produces an finished edge that is clean enough to not require using a jointer ( providing of course that the stock remains straight).

    While the blade may not be the  answer you seek to your problem, it will go a long way toward minimizing the problem.  (Don Green)

      The other thing you might consider, especially when using the thinner saw blades (and actually, you can improve the finish of just about any cut that's made with a circular saw) is to use blade stiffeners, such as these.  (Mark Wendt)

    First thing is get a new blade, this could be the source of the blade marks. Three things seem to influence the cost of a blade; the quality of the carbide, number of teeth, and quality of the steel plate. WKK, Forrest, DML, and American Vermont seem to make some pretty decent blades, and there are others as well.

    All things being equal, feed rate is probably the single biggest cause of carbide deterioration. The slower you feed material the hotter the carbide gets the faster it get dull. Saw dust is what pulls the heat away from the blade, if the material is not moving at the proper rate not enough saw dust is being generated to eliminate the heat being generated. Each blade and material has an optimum feed rate, some of the blade manufactures will give you this information. Hand feeding material shortens blade life considerably because of the variables.

    Some materials, cherry wood, seem to have a tenancy to scorch very easily, in my case I have eliminated this by using fresh blades and feeding equipment. The power feed maintains a constant feed rate, and seems to help with stress pinching. I don't us a splitter but it is not a bad idea. Some hardwoods, cherry, birch, maple should be fed faster than many people would think, assuming you are using a rip blade. More teeth does not always equate to a better cut.

    Check the fence for square, John  Channer is right. Many, many fences need to be checked front and back. My dad and I had an old Craftsman table saw from his uncle, through his father that the fence would move on in the process of cutting parts, this saw is quite old, had seen a great deal of work and is basically worn out. But the motor still runs and blade still turns.

    These fine kerf saw blades that some manufactures have, are really hard to hand feed. Constant feed rate is critical for the plate to stay flat. After talking to the manufactures at a show, I felt the material I was saving could not offset the frustration, knowing how we use the saws in the shop. If we need to cut something we use a saw, we don't change the blade, "it is only one cut any way.".

    If you really want to read a good book on saw blades, look up "Chisels on a Wheel".

    I was really surprised when  I started using power feed equipment, what a saw blade goes through during the cutting process. When you compare power feeding to hand feeding things become very obvious. But I will be the first one to admit that power fed equipment is not normally practical.

    Check the washers on each side of the blade for, dust/resin buildup. If you have your blades sharpened ask them to relieve the stress in the plates and join the teeth. Most sharpeners don't do this, older/better ones do if you ask them.  (Greg Shockley)

      I looked on Amazon for "Chisels on a Wheel"; they have one in paperback - $96 - is that right?  (Carey Mitchell)

        That sounds about right. The book has never been inexpensive. It is a technical work on saw blades, and depending on what you are into, one of the best.   (Greg Shockley)

    I've merely skimmed this thread, but I haven't seen anyone suggest checking the parallelism of the blade to the miter slots. That's a kind of major tune-up, but if you've never checked or done it, you might want to try.

    You need to fabricate a gauge to check and then loosen bolts below the table so that the table can be tapped a bit to (sort of) torque the blade direction with regard to the slots.

    The gauge can be as simple as a combination square; put the sliding block up against the edge of the slot nearest the blade and extend the ruler till it hits the blade at either the front or the back. Lock that length into the ruler and slide the block to the other end of the blade and see if the distance form slot to blade is the same. DON'T use a tooth, they stick out different distances from the blade. Use the blade's body to make the measurement. You may find that rotating the blade so that you're measuring to the same spot on IT gives a more accurate result.

    If the distance is the same, you're home free, but if not you need to loosen the 4 bolts below the table that join the blade mechanism to the table and nudge that assembly, or the table, (tapping it, usually) so that the distances become equal. You now have the arbor perpendicular to the slots and the blade parallel to them.

    In doing this you don't want to loosen the bolts too much as retightening them often causes the li'l b*****ds to move, resulting in a "do-over". This may be cute once, but it can develop into a real PITA after 2 or 3 tries!

    There are web sites that detail this, this one among them.

    I just cribbed this from another site:

    To align the blade to the miter slot you will need to fabricate a simple feeler gauge. This gauge is a small block of wood, attached to a runner that slides in the miter gauge slot. At the end of the block were it contacts the blade, is a small round head screw that allows you to make adjustments.

    All measurements that you make have to be made on the same tooth of the saw blade. Use a black marking pen to mark the tooth. Place the adjustable feeler gauge in the left miter gauge slot and raise the blade to its full height and rotate it so the marked tooth is just above the table. Then adjust the screw so that the head of the screw just touches the marked tooth.  (Art Port)


I'm about to harvest two very mature boxwoods. Does anyone know what, if anything, would they be good for?  (Gary Misch)

    Boxwood is great for wood carving/whittling.  They used to use a lot in school woodshop projects too.  It's soft and very light color and the grain is nice to work with.  If you know someone who carves (birds or decoys for example) they would likely be glad to have some.  I don't know about water content, it may be similar to willow that way.   (Neil Savage)

      Look up "Boxwood" in

      <Owing to the relatively high density of the wood (it is one of the few woods that is denser than water), boxwood is often used for chess pieces. Wooden chess sets almost always use boxwood for the white pieces and commonly use stained ("ebonized") boxwood for the black pieces, in lieu of ebony[1]. Boxwood is also used for high quality violin and viola fittings (pegs and tailpiece).>

      It is NOT a Soft wood.  (Larry Swearingen)

    Boxwood was used historically for things such as rules and scales or small wooden parts for instruments that required a hard close grain wood that would take small detail by turning or carving without crumbling. I don't see it as a wood to use for reel seats.  Maybe for musical wind instruments like a recorder or flute?  (Larry Swearingen)

      Sorry, I was thinking of  basswood.  Different animal.  (Neil Savage)

    If you are talking about the boxwood shrubs in your yard, I don't think you'll find much wood  that's big enough to do anything with.  Common American shrubs are often Japanese or Chinese boxwood, and a bit different from the English Boxwood that is/was used for tools.  The English shrub, when left to grow free form in the woods,  becomes a small tree with only 1 or 2 thick stems.  Of course, there's nothing to stop you from salvaging what you can of your shrubs, drying it and then trying to turn or carve with it.  Traditionally small strips of boxwood were used as wear strips for tools, like planes, and a 1" limb could be carved into a spoke shave.  I'm sure you'll get a few pieces big enough for that use.  (Paul Gruver)

    I'm not familiar with boxwoods over here (as opposed to England where I believe the queen owns/has rights to them) but many are used for the handles of the better brands of wood chisels etc. They'll withstand the pounding....

    Also it was the preferred wood for those older, folding carpenters/woodworkers rules that had the brass hinges of some days back.

    It'd be nice to know if they're the real boxwoods. How large are your trees? The ones I remember seeing were mature at only a few inches in diameter. Hard as what we call Ironwood/Hornbeam out here.

    I'd say you have a bit of a prize there and I hope they season well w/o cracking and your losing too much.

    I've not heard about many over here. Congrats. That's impressive indeed.  (Jeremy Gubbins)


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