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I got a new planer and ran a board through it without properly leveling it first. This board now has minor planer snipe on each end. (No more than 1/8th or even 1/16th inch) I've since properly aligned/leveled the tables but I can't seem to remove the snipe from this board.

Is there a way to "repair" this board without simply cutting off each end? I stupidly ran a nice board through it and would like to salvage it for a project.

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    Is it acceptable to bring the height of the entire board down to the sniped level? – fred_dot_u Dec 31 '19 at 22:58
  • Yes, that's fine. I just want a flat, usable board. I don't care about thickness at this point. – Matt Keller Dec 31 '19 at 23:16
  • Hi, welcome to SE. You know you're supposed to further process all wood after power planing? So just sand (or hand plane) the surface down until the snipe is removed. If you're hand planing use stop shavings where you plane the centre section only, until you're down to about the level of the sniped areas and then go for full-length shavings. If you're using sanding concentrate the sanding away from the ends until you're down. Alternative #1, saw off the ends and use the wood for something else that doesn't require the full length. Alternative #2, flip the board over and use the other face! – Graphus Jan 1 at 7:47
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It's funny that all of the answers have talked about how to prevent snipe, but nothing actually addressed your question of how to fix the board now.

I would glue "rails" onto both edges of your workpiece that are thicker and longer than the piece itself. They will have to be long enough on both ends to absorb the snipe that you're getting, and the thickness should ideally be just thicker than the workpiece.

If you only got the snipe on one side of the boards (i.e. one side was jointed then the other planed) you can leave the workpiece proud of the rails on the jointed side.

If you have snipe on both sides then ideally the rails should be parallel with the workpiece (i.e. the overhang is even all around.) to reduce the amount of material you'll lose by re-milling. Then start by jointing the rails until they're flush with the board.

Now you can plane the board. The rails will have snipe, but the workpiece should not. Once you've taken a pass that hits the entire surface of the board you can rip off the rails on the table saw.

(Although, if you've just got one board that's not too big I'd probably just hit it with a #7 or #8 hand plane.)

Another alternative that I just thought of is to "gang" the board up with scrap wood. If your workpiece is narrow enough you can run a scrap board before it, then run your piece alongside the end of the scrap, then feed another piece of scrap in alongside the end of your workpiece. This will have the same effect of putting the snipe on the scrap instead of your work.

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  • But doesn't an Answer that tells how to prevent snipe actually provide a solution to the OP's problem, i.e. by using the planer itself? Of course further processing is needed anyway and that step could be used to get rid of the issue, especially if a long plane is available. – Graphus Jan 3 at 13:53
  • If the snipe is from the head flexing then fixing it could be quite difficult... – SaSSafraS1232 Jan 3 at 16:45
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I haven't built one for my planer (yet) but after posting a similar question here, I learned that one can construct a planer sled. A search returns far too many very useful links, especially many videos.

The sleds fall into a couple categories, but are based on a flat board onto which your work piece is placed. The aft end of the sled has a stop block at a lower height than your final thickness. Some of the designs I've seen include side guides on the sled that are held in place with countersunk screws and are at the height of the work piece.

The key feature is that the sled extends forward of your work piece and creates a portion of wood onto which the planing blades will scoop/snipe, saving the work piece for the proper depth/level.

In the process of updating this answer, I found an SE post with a few photos. None of them show side rails and I'm unable to locate any using TheGoogle.

I think when the weather breaks, I'll have to build a couple different designs and see if I can get an anti-snipe model to work!

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  • It would be helpful if you could attach a picture of such a sled. Also, I always though that the snipe occurs because the blades catch cross grain and pull out too much wood. How do the side guides help prevent that? – Ashlar Jan 1 at 17:47
  • I agree that a planer sled would help. It might also help to have extensions to your outfeed table that is correctly aligned with the (usually) smaller outfeed table of the planer. This is what I do and after I made this extension I have not suffered any snipe on boards. – K7PEH Jan 2 at 2:31
  • Also, snipe is caused by the tail end of the board lifting up into the planer cutter because the outfeed of the board is not properly supported. It happens at the end of the board typically after the rollers that help prevent this problem no longer can protect the board. – K7PEH Jan 2 at 2:34
  • There are actually two common causes of snipe. One is the workpiece sagging, which can be fixed by adding/improving the tables or manually supporting the board. The other cause is the head flexing as the outfeed roller catches (at the leading end) and the infeed roller falls off (at the trailing end). Basically the cutter head is pushed up more by two rollers than it is by one. No amount of fiddling with the tables will fix the head flexing. – SaSSafraS1232 Jan 3 at 0:48
  • Rails are shown here if you want to borrow the image or link to that previous Answer. – Graphus Jan 3 at 13:55
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it's been my experience that unless you have a table that supports the lumber going through the planer (at more than half the length, maybe 2/3) and of course level, that you will get snipe without a little extra help.

I usually pick up the ends both when starting a feed and near the end of the feeding, since the snipe occurs when the board is not supported by a roller both in front and behind the cutter heads.

Now to clean up snipe that has already made it into the wood, you have 2 options, 1 you say you prefer to avoid, which is to cut the ends off reducing the length. The other is to reduce the thickness. If it's really small and light, you might get away with a little sanding on the ends, or you can run it through the planer again at a smaller thickness. Of course for using the planer to fix the issue, you need to make sure you don't repeat the same mistake.

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