Why Is My Planer Leaving Lines? Understanding the Causes and Solutions

If you’ve recently noticed lines on the surface of your wood after using a planer, you may be wondering why this is happening. Lines left by a planer can be frustrating, but they are often a result of common issues that can be easily fixed. By understanding the causes and implementing the appropriate solutions, you can ensure smooth and flawless results in your woodworking projects. Let’s explore the possible reasons why your planer is leaving lines and how to resolve them.

Dull Blades

One of the primary reasons why a planer leaves lines on the wood is dull blades. Over time and with regular use, planer blades can become worn out and lose their sharpness. Dull blades tend to tear wood fibers instead of cutting cleanly, resulting in uneven surfaces with visible lines. To address this issue:

  • Inspect the blades for signs of damage or wear.
  • If they appear dull or damaged, replace them with new, sharp blades.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly install and align the new blades.

Inconsistent Pressure

Another common culprit behind lines left by a planer is inconsistent pressure during the cutting process. If the pressure is unevenly distributed, the planer may leave lines or indentations on the wood. To ensure consistent pressure:

  • Hold the board firmly and apply even pressure throughout the entire pass.
  • Consider using a planer feed guide or a roller stand to help maintain steady pressure.
  • Practice using the planer with consistent and controlled movements for better results.

Improper Feed Rate

The feed rate at which you pass the wood through the planer can also affect the presence of lines. Incorrect feed rates, either too fast or too slow, can lead to uneven cuts and visible lines on the wood surface. To optimize the feed rate:

  1. Consult the planer’s manual or manufacturer’s recommendations for the ideal feed rate.
  2. Begin with a moderate feed rate and adjust it gradually until you achieve smooth and consistent cuts.
  3. Ensure the wood is securely positioned, preventing it from moving excessively while being planed.
  4. Take your time and maintain a steady feed rate to minimize the chances of leaving lines.


Snipe refers to the deep, shallow, or uneven cuts that often occur at the beginning or end of a board as it enters or exits the planer. Snipe can leave visible lines and affect the overall finish of your wood. To reduce or eliminate snipe:

  • Support longer boards and reduce the chances of them sagging while being planed.
  • Use sacrificial boards at the beginning and end of your stock to help minimize snipe.
  • Adjust the height of the planer’s infeed and outfeed tables to create a smoother transition for the wood.

Machine Maintenance

Lastly, inadequate maintenance of your planer can contribute to lines left on the wood. Dust buildup, lack of lubrication, or incorrect adjustments can impact the planer’s performance and result in undesirable lines. To maintain your planer:

  • Regularly clean the machine, especially the cutterhead and blades, to prevent debris accumulation.
  • Check and lubricate moving parts as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Ensure all adjustments, such as blade alignment and table heights, are set correctly for optimal operation.

By addressing these potential issues systematically, you can significantly reduce or eliminate the lines left by your planer. Remember to always prioritize safety and carefully follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when troubleshooting or performing maintenance on your planer. With a well-maintained and properly adjusted planer, you can achieve the smooth and flawless results you desire in your woodworking projects.