10

I usually notice a small amount of snipe on the ends of the boards I run through my thickness planer. It's not too deep, (<1/32" maybe?), and doesn't cover too much of the board length (<4" on either end), but it's noticeable if I inspect the boards closely enough.

I've heard lifting the far end of the board a little higher than the section in the planer helps reduce snipe, but so far I haven't been able to consistently get a board completely snipe free.

Just for background purposes, I'm using a DW735 with the infeed/outfeed tables installed.

Is there just a minimum amount of snipe that I can always expect to have? Or can it be completely eliminated?

6

A couple things that haven't been mentioned yet:

  1. feed several pieces in one after another. If I feed piece B before piece A exits, the rollers don't have a chance to drop (and hence, there's no chance for snipe).

  2. Similar to #1, you can build a jig to prevent snipe. Take two strips of sacrificial wood that are the same height as your workpiece but longer. Screw these pieces to the workpiece and feed it through. The planer will then snipe the jig, but not the workpiece. Here's a picture:

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  1. This will minimize snipe, but won't eliminate it--lift the workpiece vertically as you feed it in and as you pull it out. It seems counter-intuitive, but it will make the cut much shallower than it otherwise would (with snipe).
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I don't think anyone has made a planer yet that has no snipe. You can tweak the infeed/outfeed tables on the DW735 so that they slope downwards (infeed) and upwards (outfeed), but I would not make them slope by more than about 1/16th over their length.

The DW735 is already about as clean as you can get from a "lunchbox" planer, only a larger industrial stationary planer will have less snipe, usually due to a longer 1-piece bed made of cast iron.

  • So I should just live with sanding it out or cutting it off then? I figured this might be the answer I got. – Doresoom Mar 17 '15 at 17:27
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As a general rule the higher the feed rollers are set on the planer table the more likely that the last bit of the board will be sniped as the wood moves off of the first roller and is levered upward toward the cutter head. Table rollers vary from planer to planer.

If you were to lower the table rollers all the way down so that they were below the table surface, then the friction of the wood as it travels across the planer table would generally make feeding the wood through the planer much more difficult. However this does reduce (and can sometimes eliminate) sniping.

One practice I've seen used to reduce sniping, and thus general waste on a project, is to lower the feed rollers to the same level or below the planer table and then apply a liberal coat of paste wax to the planer table. The wax reduces the friction enough that most planers can then feed the wood though the planer without jamming. If you carefully support the boards on the out feed side of the planer the then you should see a reduction on sniping on light cuts.

Heavy cuts on any but the most industrial planers will still result in some sniping as the table and or cutter head can undergo some 'loading' under a heavy cut. However if you make your last few passes taking off < 0.005" per cut then you can nearly eliminate the snipe by lowering the table rollers and waxing the planer table. It can take some practice but a very aggressive snipe can usually be prevented in my experience.

Note: never use silicone based lubricants around the shop, or in this case for lubricating a planer table. They are pure evil.

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