Im not sure if it was me, the plane or maybe the cheap wood. The grain runs funny, kinda longways with the wood and Im hoping thats the problem. Also it seemed to happen close to knots and the ends of the board.
Anybody know whats causin this?
BTW... Im using a "Stanley 12-247 - Adjustable Block Plane" that I got at Lowes for 8 bucks. I lapped the sole up to 600 grit and used the scary sharp on the blade with a veritas honing jig.
(as you already figured out yourself) When planing wood, you have to pay attention to the direction of the grain. Most likely the grain is changing direction and therefor catching the edge of the plane blade. If you try planing that wood from different angles, you will probably find one that works. You also might not, since the grain may keep 'swirling' on the board.
When the grain of a board is nice and straight, planes can be pretty forgiving. When the grain gets wild, any little variance from perfect on the setup will cause all kinds of problems (gouging, chatter, etc). You can usually feel the direction the grain is running in if you run your fingers over the surface (you might not be able to feel it now that it is gouged).
Using a low angle plane can also help with the crazy grain. I will say that I have had some boards that I never could get nicely planed.
"Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best." - Henry Van Dyke
Yep, I totally concur with MatD and Sawduster. You've got a subtle, yet vexing, case of reversing grain. Remember that wood grain runs in 3 dimensions. It's relatively easy for beginners to spot grain changes around wood knots or really obvious patterns that run consistently in one direction.
In this case you've got grain that comes up to the dimensioned surface at an angle running in the same direction for most of the length of the wood. Sawduster's attached picture is particularly good at illustrating this.
But where you are getting that nasty tearout, the wood grain is then "submarining" back down and away from the direction you're moving your tool. You need to reverse direction in those areas and take short strokes.
For finishing off the entire surface, you then need to set you plane for the lightest possible pass and then plane in the direction that favors the majority of the grain.
If you still get tear out, then you need to use a speciality plane, like a low angle jack with a steep secondary bevel, or (paradoxically), a high angle smoother (search Google or ww forums for something called a "York pitch".
Something else occurred to me when reading through the other posts. Something which helps with wild grain, in addition to a steeper final cutting angle is the mouth opening. When planing, the part of the sole directly in front of the cutter supports the grain of the wood. Actually, "supports" is a poor choice of words for what it does is it actually holds the wood fibers down to allow the cutter to slice them. For wild grain, the closer you can get the cutting edge of the iron to the front of the mouth, the better cut you will get. Best case is for the mouth to be about twice the thickness of the shaving you are taking. The mouth is adjusted by sliding the frog forward or backward. There is something of a trade-off here since when you move the frog forward to close up the mouth, you move the iron off of the ramp at the back of the mouth, leaving a bit more of the iron unsupported. This should not be a big issue if you are taking thin shavings.
I think your illustration captures what we've been talking about perfectly. That is EXACTLY what I am referring to anyway.
The thing to remember is that as far as the tree is concerned, where the sawyer chose to cut the log to make the faces of the stock is completely arbitrary. The grain runs the way the tree grew, not how the boards are later oriented.
This can seem really obvious when stated, but keeping this in mind when you are looking at the grain pattern on your board can help in discerning what the tree, as opposed to the sawyer, was doing.
The need to do this when hand planing is one way that hand tools allow you to become more intimate with the natural character of the wood.
... And, another reason to have and use handplanes. With a power planer, you run it through one way and you get tear-out on one side of the knot, run it through the other way and get tearout on the other side.
Just yesterday, we used clamps after glue simply to take the bow out of the wood we were using, and it straightened everything out for us. Usually though, any time you lay up a project the clamps are...