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Is some planer snipe to be expected?

2763 Views 79 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  alphonse53
Hi - I bought a Dewalt 735 in January and just getting around to setting it up. I've only run a couple of boards through but there is noticeable snipe at the beginning and end of the boards. I have never owned a planer before and am curious if some snipe is to be expected . I guess I am wondering if something might be wrong / need adjustment on this planer. Appreciate any inputs. - Thanks.
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I also have an earlier version of that planer and it mostly works beautifully. If I'm running light weight short (36" or less) boards through, I get no snipe at all. However, as the boards I run get longer and heaver, the chances of snipe increase. There is one sure fire way to over come this. It is a few extra steps and a little time, but is effective. Cut some scraps about 12" long of material about the same starting thickness as your work piece. Hot melt glue them to each edge of the work piece so that they extend beyond each end about 4". Now, as you feed your work piece through the planer, the extensions will lift the rollers before the work piece gets there and all snipe on the work piece will be eliminated. Also, it helps greatly to pre-cut your work pieces to approximately final dimensions betore running them through the planer. This reduces size and weight so that snipe becomes less of a problem. Also, note John Smith's comment above. If you have the shop space to do it, an extended planer bed will contribute greatly to snipe reduction or elimination.
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Just to throw this out there: Snipe is caused because one roller causes only half as much stress on the table, screws, and headworks as both rollers do. Since it opens the throat only half as much, the result is the knives cutting deeper until both rollers open the throat to the set distance under full stress. I hope that explains what's really happening. On better planers, the bed rollers allow you to run the feed rolls at lower tension because the wood feeds easier, which in turn causes less stress and less snipe. My dad had a 8 x 36 four head planer in his sawmill that didn't have a bed, except to stage the feed. Everything was roller fed. That was back when there were real trees.
Sorry. I can't all together agree with that. It is much simpler than that. If you are planing a long board of say 6-8 feet that is maybe 8" wide and 1-1/4" thick, it is pretty heavy. When you start the feed, that board has a long heavy lever arm that the roller springs cannot overcome. So, without support of the tail end, the weight and leverage will lift the first roller and you get snipe. If the leverage and weight is more than both springs can overcome, the snipe will continue after contacting the second roller. Putting upward support on the tail end of the board will cause the lead end to rest on the planer bed without upward pressure on the rollers except that caused by the thicknes of the board. Thus, snipe is minimized or eliminated.
Conversely, if I feed a 2-3 foot board that is only 3-4" wide through my Dewalt 733, with very little weight and little or no leverage on the rollers, I can let it feed with no help and I get no snipe because the roller springs are strong enough to hold this light weight piece firmly against the planer bed.
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"...snipe isn't actually a thinning of the ends of a board, but a thickening of the middle. "
So. Your planer can actually add thickness !! Wow !! I wish I had one of those. I've got some lumber that is too thin.
I guess some planers work differently than mine does.
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By the way, here's an animated graphic I created 25 years ago (using chisels and stone tablets) to show the movement of the head. I wrote an article on the topic back then, but didn't publish it because I didn't have the graphics capability to show it better (hence this crappy animated gif).
View attachment 449183
Your graphic doesn't accurately explained it to me. If it did, every board I run through my planer, heavy or light or long or short, would have snipe. That simply is not the case. short light boards go through without snipe and without any assistance of any kind.
If snipe was due to a sagging board hanging off the planer, then butting an extra board to the end of your workpiece would not eliminate the snipe, as so many people have reported.
With long heavy boards, you've got to do both.
If you feed a board into my planer titled upward, it snaps down hard when it hits the first roller. And trust me, it hurts like hell if your finger happens to be between the board and the extension roller.
No one that advocated "lifting the board" is talking about lifting the infeed end. Of course, that would be problematic. The object is to take the weight off of the trailing end in order to keep the infeed end in contact with the planer bed as the feed begins.
By lifting the tail end, you're adding extra spring force to the first roller so the head is stressed the same amount it will be when the second roller catches it and you let the board lay flat. I'm done.
So. When you are on the seesaw and you go up your playmate on the other end goes up with you? Interesting seesaw you have.
As as been stated several times, the idea is that you put upward pressure on the tail end of a heavy board so that it's weight doesn't lever up the infeed end so that it is lifted off the planer bed as it pivots on the edge of the bed or infeed table. If the upward force on the infeed end is more than the first roller springs can overcome, it will raise the first roller more than it should and hit the knives on high and cause some snipe until you or both rollers can push it back down (by lifting the other end).
If you have a system that works all the time, keep doing it! After 10 yrs. and knowing my machinery, I do too. What I have tried to simplify is what I do every time in every situation, and it always works. Just because most woodworkers use this system doesn't mean you have to. I fitted instrument tubing for a living for about 20 yrs. There's one facet it has in common with woodworking:
'If you screw it up, you throw it away.' You don't do that when 1/2" tubing is $30/ft. I found a system that worked for me, and no two fitters worked exactly the same, but we strived for excellent results. The same is true for woodworkers.
I agree with you 100%. But, that doesn't help to clear up the misunderstanding as to which end is being lifted and the reason for it; all for the purpose of helping the OP answer his question.
If you are unwilling to read opposing points of view or to clear up misunderstandings, that's OK. I'll quit.
I'm done.
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