Taming Tear-out Tuesday

Stump foot without chamfers around the bottom.Working on projects with stump feet is fun. One thing you have to remember is how to handle end-grain feet on a floor. If you just leave them come straight down to the floor, you run the risk of continual tear-out.

The easiest way to eliminate the problem is to plane a little chamfer around the foot. This ensure the outermost fibers that are rubbing against the floor are being supported by fibers further toward the outside of the board. End grain can be like children, because you’ve taken the time to support them, they’re more likely to stick around. In this case, that almost always a good thing.

Eventually the ends of the feet will wear away to the point where the end grain may start to chip and tear-out again. If it happens in your lifetime, you might want to consider casters.

Stump foot lightly chamfered.Never underestimate the power of a chamfer. It will tame the tear-out and give your pieces a finished look. The old guys seldom did work without a reason and neither should you. Chamfering your stump feet shows you care about your work and stops you from having to do repeated touch-ups as you move your pieces to ever greater places of prominence in your home. Just remember, everything in moderation. Too much of a good thing isn’t good at all. Keep your chamfers small enough not to be noticed but large enough to be effective.

—Chuck Bender

 

 

4 thoughts on “Taming Tear-out Tuesday

  1. gumpbelly

    Now you’ve opened a can of worms. Block plane? What angle, Rasp, float?? Router?? Brand names……………

    Just kidding, but I’m betting somewhere a guy who has never considered a chamfer is wondering. Personally I like a rasp, multi directional tool it is. Every time I try to use a block plane, going across that end grain I blow out a chunklette of face grain at the corners (you can back it up by holding a piece of wood behind the boards edge, but too much like work), and a router is too big and clunky for such a small surface to bear on. I always wonder is my way best, or can I learn something, and that is why I’m throwing it out there.

    1. Steve_OH

      Skew the body of the plane, and move it primarily in a direction along the axis of the leg, rather than across. (In other words, you’re cutting across the chamfer, rather than along it.) That will eliminate tearout. After you’ve removed the bulk of the material, take a few very light passes along the chamfer to even it out.

    2. Chuck BenderChuck Bender Post author

      I use the Lie-Valley-Nielsen-Record-Stanley block plane rasp, convex ground at 73° in a circular motion…

      It’s a very rare tool but it works extremely well.

      And now for something completely different, I actually use my Record block plane ground at something close to 25° or 30° and I skew the plane to my direction of travel. Take lighter cuts and you’ll, in most cases, eliminate tear-out or, what Steve_OH said… :) Happy to demonstrate at the Senco event…

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