how to deal with thickness planer snipe - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 03-26-2020, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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how to deal with thickness planer snipe

Please excuse the newbe question, but I am thinking about buying my first thickness planner, something along the lines of 12 or 13".
But I have always wondered how do people deal with snipe, which I take it is not completely avoidable.

Do you simply cut off the sniped part? (Seems like a waste of good stock)?
Do you play slightly oversized and use hand tools to reach the final thickness (I might as well stick with the slow hand tool way)?
Or. something else?

Also, I am open to recommendations for a small thickness planer.

Thank you.
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post #2 of 23 Old 03-26-2020, 08:22 PM
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The easiest way is also the best way ....

When planing several boards or just one, run a similar thickness scrap or sacrificial board directly bumped up behind your workpiece. This will prevent the rollers and cutterhead from dropping down and causing the snipe.


Some planers are more prone to it than other for reasons I am not familiar with. Read reviews on the one you are considering on Amazon before making your purchase.
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post #3 of 23 Old 03-26-2020, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
When planing several boards or just one, run a similar thickness scrap or sacrificial board directly bumped up behind your workpiece. This will prevent the rollers and cutterhead from dropping down and causing the snipe.


Some planer are more prone to it than other for reasons I am not familiar with. Read reviews on the one you are considering on Amazon before making your purchase.
That is what I do but it can be a pain if the stock doesn't feed straight, the other option is to cut the board about 3-4" longer then needed and remember to keep the snipe on one end only
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post #4 of 23 Old 03-26-2020, 09:24 PM
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I have found that how aggressive a cut I take also impacts the snipe. For my final pass I try to take just enough, maybe a 1/32 or less, that the feed rollers don't mark the surface (if you have metal rollers). It does not eliminate snipe, but it will minimize it. Having in feed and out feed support is critical also. I understand some of the newer portable planers, like the Dewalt, have technology that minimizes or eliminates snipe.
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post #5 of 23 Old 03-26-2020, 10:01 PM
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Maybe snipe happening front and back of board, not always back only. Depending project, many choices fixing snipe.

Planing board between scrap boards. Planing boards together one after other, many same thickness boards same project - snipe on first and last board - maybe helper person collecting outfeed. Making board too long and cutting off snipe after. Putting board on sled. Sled also good with not flat boards for flattening one side.
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post #6 of 23 Old 03-28-2020, 12:30 PM
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I found if I pick up on the end of the board (1 inch or 2) coming out of the planer just before it exits the knives it will eliminate the snipe.
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post #7 of 23 Old 03-28-2020, 12:37 PM
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I had a Foley Belsaw 12" planer with 5HP. I tried everything to reduce snipe and nothing worked. I just resigned myself to accepting snipe and cut my boards a little longer.
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post #8 of 23 Old 03-28-2020, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tewitt1949 View Post
I found if I pick up on the end of the board (1 inch or 2) coming out of the planer just before it exits the knives it will eliminate the snipe.
If you pick up on the end of the board as it starts in until it catches both rollers, it usually won't snipe either.
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post #9 of 23 Old 03-29-2020, 12:34 AM
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Most snipe occurs when the feed rollers go up on and back off of the work piece. When they do this on most portable planers it causes the head to tip and the cutters to dig deeper. I think all planers snipe, but some, especially the portable planers with only two head support posts. The best method for these is to feed scrap wood of the same thickness as the work piece immediately ahead of and immediately behind (no gaps) of the work piece, or if they are narrow you can sometimes place them so that they begin and end before the work piece does by placing them to the sides of the work piece. Lifting the work piece trailing edge as the work piece enters the planer, and lifting the leading edge of the work piece as the work piece exits the planer will reduce snipe too. Even my DeWalt 735 four post planer snipes, but it is so little that a few swipes of sandpaper eliminates the snipe line. I don't like wasting good wood to snipe either, and that is why I upgraded to the DeWalt 735. It isn't perfect, but a light pass through a drum sander, or even a ROS sander and fine sandpaper will eliminate the visual snipe line.

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post #10 of 23 Old 03-29-2020, 09:24 AM
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You can eliminate end snipe by running the piece through the planer on a backer board or sled that is longer than the piece so that it is riding on both the infeed and outfeed rolls before and after the piece is planed. 90% of what goes through my planer is on a backer. I have several made of 3/4" mdf. This will give a perfectly flat, glue line quality surface end to end. The edge glued cores and resawn faces of these door stiles were surfaced like this. The glue lines show up in the sticking mouldings where they just are not supposed to be visually; so the glue lines require very high quality surfacing to be invisible.
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post #11 of 23 Old 03-29-2020, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharleyL View Post
...snip... Even my DeWalt 735 four post planer snipes, but it is so little that a few swipes of sandpaper eliminates the snipe line. I don't like wasting good wood to snipe either, and that is why I upgraded to the DeWalt 735. It isn't perfect, but a light pass through a drum sander, or even a ROS sander and fine sandpaper will eliminate the visual snipe line.

Charley
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnGi View Post
You can eliminate end snipe by running the piece through the planer on a backer board or sled that is longer than the piece so that it is riding on both the infeed and outfeed rolls before and after the piece is planed. 90% of what goes through my planer is on a backer. I have several made of 3/4" mdf. This will give a perfectly flat, glue line quality surface end to end. ...snip...
I've recently struggled with snipe on my DW 735. I lost way too much as a result. In researching the problem, I came across all the solutions mentioned. The only one I found that helped on the 735 was to run other pieces through alongside each other so the rollers never came off of and end. I had a lot of relatively narrow strips, rather than wider boards so there was plenty of room. In troubleshooting it, I found my folding infeed and outfeed tables were not flat/straight with the planer base, which I fixed, but that didn't help anything about the snipe.

On JohnGi's planer backer board approach, how does a backer board help when the rollers/head are overhead/above? Keeps the workpiece flat and uniform, but the head drops as the stock exits, does it not? Unless the cutter head is above and fixed and the rollers are underneath. My 735, head and rollers are both above.

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post #12 of 23 Old 03-29-2020, 10:33 AM
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This is my method

I suggested above bumping scrap right behind the workpiece so the rollers and cutterhead won't drop. That requires some hustling at the infeed end to keep a continuous flow of stock in the planer. If you have multiple workpieces that makes it easier and you only need one scrap at the very end. However, you can't leave any gaps between the workpieces, so have your pieces handy for immediate feeding. A helper on the outfeed end would be the best way to catch them if they are so short that you can't walk around to grab and refeed them in enough time.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #13 of 23 Old 03-29-2020, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
I suggested above bumping scrap right behind the workpiece so the rollers and cutterhead won't drop. ...snip...

Yes, that was understood, as one of several methods. I was feeding other strips of the same pieces that needed planing, alongside others, so there was never a drop of the head as any one piece exited. Is this not accomplishing the same thing as your method of butting another piece at the end?


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post #14 of 23 Old 03-29-2020, 11:34 AM
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Raising the in and out feed tables slightly does help on a 735 planer, but you will likely never completely eliminate snipe doing this. The best way for all lunch box planers seems to be adding scraps before and after the work pieces, and never letting the feed rollers go on or off of the wood during the planing of multiple pieces. The lead and trailing scraps will receive the snipe and the work piece will not.

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post #15 of 23 Old 03-29-2020, 11:57 AM
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Yes, of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickKr View Post
Yes, that was understood, as one of several methods. I was feeding other strips of the same pieces that needed planing, alongside others, so there was never a drop of the head as any one piece exited. Is this not accomplishing the same thing as your method of butting another piece at the end?

Rick

I think it would just be more "fiddley" trying to keep them all feeding, but that's your call. I use the method described because it works best for me. Actually, my old Foley Belsaw with the rubber feed rollers doesn't snipe that much, but I try to maintain a constant line of pieces through it regardless.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #16 of 23 Old 03-29-2020, 12:24 PM
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It seems the key is:

"never letting the feed rollers go on or off of the wood during the planing of multiple pieces"

The result being "lead and trailing scraps will receive the snipe and the work piece will not"

I fail to understand the difference in "fiddly-ness between feeding "other" pieces butted or alongside with overlap between. In my case, the pieces were small enough (1"x1" or 5/16"x 1") that all I had to do was reach for another and feed it in - along side, well enough before the end of the last piece went in. Trying to butt those pieces would have been more fiddly, to me at least. Further, the overlap between adjacent pieces would ensure there is no momentary "dip" if the butted pieces were not perfectly butted.

What was fiddly was having pieces on both sides of the table at the same time and feeding other strips alongside each, so as to avoid the rollers "tipping", if that would even happen.

Rick

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post #17 of 23 Old 03-29-2020, 03:40 PM
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You said it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickKr View Post
It seems the key is:

"never letting the feed rollers go on or off of the wood during the planing of multiple pieces"

The result being "lead and trailing scraps will receive the snipe and the work piece will not"

I fail to understand the difference in "fiddly-ness between feeding "other" pieces butted or alongside with overlap between. In my case, the pieces were small enough (1"x1" or 5/16"x 1") that all I had to do was reach for another and feed it in - along side, well enough before the end of the last piece went in. Trying to butt those pieces would have been more fiddly, to me at least. Further, the overlap between adjacent pieces would ensure there is no momentary "dip" if the butted pieces were not perfectly butted.

What was fiddly was having pieces on both sides of the table at the same time and feeding other strips alongside each, so as to avoid the rollers "tipping", if that would even happen.

Rick

That was exactly what I was gettin' at.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #18 of 23 Old 03-29-2020, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnGi View Post
You can eliminate end snipe by running the piece through the planer on a backer board or sled that is longer than the piece so that it is riding on both the infeed and outfeed rolls before and after the piece is planed. 90% of what goes through my planer is on a backer. I have several made of 3/4" mdf. This will give a perfectly flat, glue line quality surface end to end. The edge glued cores and resawn faces of these door stiles were surfaced like this. The glue lines show up in the sticking mouldings where they just are not supposed to be visually; so the glue lines require very high quality surfacing to be invisible.
In your second photo, does the flat board sled move through the planer?

I made a simple planer sled for my DeWalt 735. It has thin (~3/8 inch) strips glued at a right angle in one corner to a long plywood scrap. When I tried it the first time, it didn't work. I put the corner strips behind the board and fed them both into the planer. The board was pulled in by the planer, but the sled didn't move. Yes, the planer bed was clean and smooth. I put Johnson's Paste Wax on it from time to time.

I reoriented the sled with the strips in the front, and held the board against the strips as I fed them into the planer. Once the planer grabbed them both, they fed through together. On the outfeed side, I pull them out together, enough to remove the board carefully. After removing the board, I pull the sled through the rest of the way, (hopefully) well below the spinning planer blades.

With thin wedges placed appropriately underneath the edges of the board and/or flat shims underneath cupped boards, the sled seems to work well for flattening one side of a not-completely-flat board. I do not use any glue to attach the board to the sled. I would use hot melt or CA glue if the boards are thin enough that they might get sucked in. So far, it does not seem like it has been needed for the thicker (greater than 1/2 inch) boards.

Does that sound right to you? Am I doing anything risky or dumb?
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post #19 of 23 Old 03-30-2020, 09:36 AM
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I can see where putting a backer board under the board being planned will eliminate snipe. I have a 13 inch Rockwell that will snipe, but since I can eliminate snipe by lifting the end of the board on the exit side, I have never really checked for adjustments of the machine. I think the problem is the bottom rollers. I don't know if they are adjustable or not but I think the snipe problem is the bottom roller/rollers need to be very close to the level of the exit table. If the bottom rollers are not adjustable, (and I may try this) try adding a piece of sheet metal on top of the exit table and bend the metal to catch the exit table as close to the roller to keep it from sliding out with the wood. Depending on your machine, the thickness of the sheet metal may vary. Very thin metal may not make much difference.

Another problem could be running a long board, as the board exits the upper roller on the inlet side, the weight of the board is pivoting the end of the board up into the cutter head causing snipe. Solution would be to make a longer exit table. My exit table is only about 12 inches. Since my upper rollers are spring loaded, a long board can push the exit roller up as the board exits the inlet side roller causing the end of the board to raise the exit roller and cause snipe.

Best solution. The lower rollers be just a few thousandths above the tables and as long of a out feed table as possible that can be adjusted up and down. Just my observation/opinion.

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post #20 of 23 Old 03-30-2020, 09:39 PM
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Tool Agnostic,
The workpiece and the backer board move through the planer together. The backed needs to be longer than the workpiece by the distance between the bed rolls. On my planer, the bed rolls are 8" apart. I have then set 0.015" above the bed. I use 3/4" mdf for backer boards. I find it is flat and accurate enough that I can use different backer boards for short, wide pieces and long, narrow pieces and get uniform thickness in the workpieces. The thinnest pieces I plane on a backer are 4/4 stock resawn into 4 pieces. I shoot for 0.170" going in and 0.150" coming out, surfaced 1 side to be glued on both sides of a core to make door stiles and rails. The pictures show a 5/32" x 9" x 32" edge glued face for a door bottom rail and the finished door in birch.
I've never had a problem just pushing these sled/workpiece combinations through my planer, but this is the only one I have ever owned. I don't know if some small planers don't have bed rolls, and I can see that this would cases the sled to stick and require a lip on the front end for the workpiece to push against. The thinnest pieces I plane this way are 5/32" thick, and these do blow up sometimes. I set them on the sled at an angle so the leading edge doesn't make contact with the cutter head all at once, and I'm careful about grain orientation. I would not plane a thin book matched panel in a cross grained wood.
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