I am making a birdhouse and wanted to ensure that the two sloped sides of the box were the same height so the top flap would sit flat on both sides. I grabbed a block plane to do this and had really horrible tear-out. Thankfully, I was able to rip the oops mostly off and finished the job with a sander, but I feel like this is something I should be able to do with a block plane, but maybe my technique was wrong.

Is there a way to plane on an end grain that will eliminate tear-out, or is it a universally bad idea and one should go for the sanding pad instead?

  • How long was the surface you were planing? – Matt May 4 '15 at 13:54
  • Short, approximately 6" or so. – Peter Grace May 4 '15 at 14:14
  • I'm closing this as a duplicate of woodworking.stackexchange.com/questions/741/…. Although the other question doesn't explicitly mention tearout, it falls under the question of "gotchas" and is covered in the accepted answer. – rob May 4 '15 at 15:19

Everything I've read says you need to clamp a waste block on the end of your board to prevent the tear out. It is even recommended to do this if you are using a router or jointer.

By keeping the pressure on with a waste block it won't be able to splinter down the board.enter image description here


Of course the other option would be to plane toward the center from both sides.

| improve this answer | |
  • plane inwards from edges.
  • chamfer the far edge and angle the plane.
  • support the edge with sacrificial wood.
  • use a shooting board.
| improve this answer | |
  • Was able to look up what a shooting board was but having an issue trying to figure out what "chamber the far edge and angle the plane" means – Matt May 4 '15 at 14:28
  • @Matt I think he meant Chamfer, so I changed it – bowlturner May 4 '15 at 14:30
  • @matt: bowlturner is right, I'm posting from a phone - auto(in)correct! – RedGrittyBrick May 4 '15 at 15:32
  • I realize this is a closed question but it may be worth a comment for future responses. To prevent people from having to look up terminology, I consider it a good practice to define uncommon terms in the answer, such as a shooting board (possibly a chamfer, but I think that's a common enough term to not need it.) – Daniel B. May 5 '15 at 2:19
  • @DanielB. or better yet, open a new question and cross-link the answer and newly-spawned question. – rob May 5 '15 at 18:15

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