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Struggling with planer snipe? Here are 6 ways to reduce planer snipe from your thickness planer while milling lumber for woodworking projects.
Snipe on boards is simply when a thickness planer takes off too much material at the beginning or end of a board. It's a big pain for woodworkers who use planers, but these methods will help you reduce or eliminate it.
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Step 1: #1 – Cut the Snipe Off the Ends
The easiest method is to just cut the ends off the board that contain the snipe. This is somewhat wasteful though as you lose at least 2" off each end and have to make the extra cuts.
Step 2: #2 – Adjust the Infeed/Outfeed Tables Up
The infeed and outfeed tables of most of these portable planers can be adjusted. Use the adjustment mechanism to raise the front and back edges of the the infeed and outfeed tables respectively. This lifts the back end of the board as it enters the planer and keeps the front edge from raising up into the blades.
Step 3: #3 – Use a Sacrificial Board Before and After
Method #3 is to send a shorter sacrificial board before and after the piece you are planing. This smaller board gets the snipe and the board in the middle does not. You need to push the boards right up against each other so it simulates being just one board going through.
This method works very well and is one of the best ways to reduce snipe.
Step 4: #4 – Use Sacrificial Side Runners for Glue Ups
When you have a small glue up like a cutting board or similar, you can glue on some sacrificial side runners to the glue up. The side runners can be thin but should extend past the other boards by ~3" or so. This lets the snipe happen on the runners and not the glued up boards.
The results on this method weren't perfect, but it did significantly reduce the snipe.
Step 5: #5 – Run the Boards Through on an Angle
The 5th method is to send the boards through on an angle. This angle helps the rollers ease onto the board instead of hitting a blunt edge all at once. Just tilt the board about 15 or 30 degrees and send them through. Again this doesn't completely take away the snipe, but it helps immensely.
Step 6: #6 – Lift the Board in and Out of the Planer
The final way to reduce snipe is to lift the board as it goes into and out of the planer. By lifting the end furthest from the planer you are pushing the other edge down on the planer bed and away from the cutter head. Again this doesn't completely eliminate the snipe, but it does a much better job then doing nothing at all.
There you have it! Now you know 6 ways to help reduce snipe when thickness planing boards. You can read the full write up at: