End-grain Through the Planer? Bad Idea!

Added on April 14, 2008

This week’s question comes from Matt. He writes:
After reading much debate on this issue, I thought I might like to hear your input. What does the Wood Whisperer think about running end-grain through the planer? Im SOOOOOOOO tempted to try it because it would be so easy to clear up some high spots, but Ive read that this can cause serious kickback, possibly turning the planer into a large grenade. (At least my portable anyway). I’ve read where people have done this their whole life with no issues other than tear-out at the end, which can be prevented by rounding over the end first. Others state stories of boards flying through neighbors windows, planer blades causing decapitation, and planers actually being knocked over from this process. At this point I think its safe to say that Im not going to try it but, what do you think about it? ?But, I was only taking off like 1/128,000th at a time.”

And here was my reply:
Hey Matt. I know that many people have done that procedure many times without a problem. I also know many folks who have done it and experienced disaster. That’s enough to scare me into NOT doing it. My biggest woodworking injury occured early on in my career when I tried to run the end grain of a board over the jointer. Big mistake! The board snagged and exploded in my hand. No MAJOR injury other than a huge blood blister and some numbness. But enough to make me almost poop my pants! The principal is the same with the planer, and as a result, I never do it. So…….. the final choice is up to you. But its an operation I do not recommend.

I would love to hear everyone’s experience with this technique, good or bad.

***Edit*** Here are a few pictures of what can happen when you send an end grain cutting board through a planer. Thanks to Matthew Thomas for sharing these pictures with us.

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