Q&A Working with Interlocking/Reversing Grain

Interlocking Wood Grain

Q. Jack asks: Being a proponent of hand tools, how do you approach woods with interlocking/reversing grain?

A. Gary responds: Jack, With interlocking grain, I usually use a hammer first to beat the heck out of the wood for being so contrary. More seriously, if you need to remove a lot of wood, then cross-grain planing works fine. There is still tear-out but not that heart wrenching tear-out that rips great chunks of wood out. Or you can use a high angle plane or my new favorite technology, a high angle chip breaker. As this link will show you: http://vimeo.com/41372857, Professors Kawai and Kato dialed in the importance of the chip breaker or cap iron in producing good results even against the grain. I replaced my standard cap iron with one ground at 75 degrees and the results were very interesting. Failing that approach, your next best method is scraping. First wet down the fibers of the wood so they fuzz up. They will be much easier to remove then with the scraper. Scrape at a high angle to those lines or rows of grain. Finally hand sanding will do what your cutting tools may fail at. Best of luck with that beautiful grain.

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