Planer snipe

I recently received a question from a viewer of the show and I thought I’d share the question and answer here.

The question went something like this (edited) : “I have the same planer and I get snipe at the end and beginning all the time. I read many reviews saying this planer has little snipe compared to other ones but I still get enough to annoy me and I don’t like to waste wood. Do you get any snipe?”

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My answer:

Unfortunately and admittedly, I get snipe almost every time. I noticed that I can reduce the amount, (not eliminate) by taking very fine cuts toward the end of the dimensioning process.  On faces where snipe would cause a problem, like joinery, I always keep the planed face away from the joinery and put the jointed face in.  By jointed face, I am referring to the face that was jointed flat at the jointer; you could also use a hand plane for the same purpose.  Sometimes it is necessary to plane both faces; for example when removing a lot of material (to prevent bowing, twisting).  In that case I will plane both faces until I get close to my required thickness then create another face jointed side. Finally, I will plane the opposite face to the final thickness by putting the face jointed side down in the planer (thicknesser).  I never put a sniped face where joinery will go because this will most likely cause gaps.

A different approach, that I am not fond of, is to use a board length that will allow you to cut off any snipe after planning.  This method wastes wood and for that reason I don’t like it.

4 Responses to “Planer snipe”

  1. Aubrey says:

    I have found that depending on your planer and your setup there are a few things that you can do to reduce or eliminate snipe on lunchbox type planers.
    1. If you have the room mount a long board supported on each end at the base of the planer, raise each end by about 1/8″. Nasically you are making long infeed and outfeed tables.
    2. raise the board a bit on entrance and exit. I find this method works pretty well though it’s easier lifting the board up on the outfeed side.
    3. I haven’t had much luck with this method but other woodworkers that I have talked to say it works. Use a couple of scrap pieces. put the scrap piece on, then your good board butted tight up against the scrap piece as it goes in, the use another scrap piece on the back end.

    I use method #2 as I don’t have the space for #1. I only get snipe now if I am not paying attention, and my current planer is a DW735

    • james says:

      If you have multiple boards, feed them end to end, a little offset each time, but ends touching. This will almost minimize the jump between the tables as it will keep the pressure heads engaged. And off setting them will help ensure even use of the blade. If youre just planing one piece, try keeping some scrap around at least a foot long to feed before and after each board, also ensuring ends are touching. That’s how you cure snipe in the woodshop, period squat.

  2. garagewoodworks says:

    I’ve used 2 before as well. It helps a little in my hands, but it will not eliminate the snipe completely in my experience . Your mileage may vary 🙂

    The snipe that I end up with is usually too small to see visually, but you can feel it with your finger. It’s just enough to mess up joinery but small enough that sanding will remove it.

  3. Cody says:

    That’s caused by pressure plates not holding the lumber down correctly. A snipe at the end of the board is caused by the out feed pressure plate not being adjusted correctly. A snipe on the leading edge is caused by the infeed pressure plate being adjusted incorrectly.

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