Planer Snipe Breakdown and Preventative Solutions

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Learn the secrets for dealing with snipe on a benchtop planer. Benchtop planers are a great asset to any woodworking shop. They enable us to prepare rough lumber for use in our projects, and to machine stock to a precise dimension. One common problem that can occur when running a board through a portable planer is that it can snipe on the leading or trailing edge of the board, or both. Planer snipe is a low spot where more material is removed from the board, leaving the section slightly thinner. This situation can be frustrating, and requires a thoughtful approach in order to effectively deal with it.

Face Joint First
One thing that is important to do in order to minimize planer snipe is to establish a flat surface on one side of the board using a jointer, then place that side down for a flat reference as the board passes through the planer. Using a jointer in tandem with your planer will provide the perfect duo for creating straight, square stock for your projects.

Several Approaches Exist to Eliminate Planer Snipe
Planer snipe can be dealt with using a variety of different approaches, several of which are demonstrated in this video. Some woodworkers choose to accept the fact that the planer is going to snipe the boards, and their solution is to cut off a few inches at each end. That is a quick but costly approach, and is not recommended as a permanent solution. Another common approach is to utilize a cutterhead locking mechanism that is available on some benchtop planers. Where the manufacturer has provided such a mechanism, this approach can be effective in many situations, but isn’t completely foolproof. Finally, George covers a simple approach that can work on any planer, whether or not it has a cutterhead lock. By implementing this basic measure, planer snipe can largely be eliminated.

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