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What is Planer Snipe? 4 Essential Ways to Minimize Snipe

What is planer snipe and what causes snipe? How to eliminate or fix snipe on a planer? Don’t let snipe ruin your woodworking projects! In this article, Cutech will share you 4 essential ways to minimize planer snipe.

What is Planer Snipe?

Professional looking woodworking projects don't just happen on their
own. They start with woodstock that's milled to precision. So don't
let snipe get in the way of your professional-quality project.
Snipe is when a board is noticeably cut deeper on the lead end or tail
end after it passes through a benchtop planer.

 

What Causes Snipe?

Snipe occurs when an uneven force is created as the board passes under the Feed Rollers. The function of the Feed Rollers are essential on a benchtop planer and the downward force has to be significant to secure the board during the planing process. The force comes from the compression springs between the rollers and the Upper Frame where the cutterhead is mounted. While the roller is engaging to the board, the spring tension simultaneously presses up the Upper Frame.

When a board is initially fed into the planer, only the Infeed Roller is exerting downward pressure on the board. The same is true when the board is exiting the planer. During planing, the upper Frame is initially pressed up by the tension from the infeed side springs, then by all springs and finally by the outfeed side springs. As a result, both ends are cut deeper.

 

How to Reduce Planer Snipe. 4 Essential Ways to Prevent / Minimize Snipe

1. Use sacrificial boards of equal thickness

You would butt the workpieces end-to-end emulating one long workpiece. Use sacrificial boards of the same thickness, placing one in front and the other behind your finished workpiece. This way, snipe would occur on the sacrificial boards rather than your finished workpiece. Although this step is tedious, it will allow you to avoid the issue of snipe altogether.

NOTE: For your safety, sacrificial boards have to be longer than the minimum length requirement of 7" for Cutech planers. 

2. Use a jointer to flatten the first surface.

A planer makes a surface parallel to the base surface. Using a jointer to make the first surface flat will reduce snipe.

3. Make certain that boards are sufficiently supported.

This is especially recommended for longer boards, since longer boards have an unsupported weight that weighs down the end of the board. The unsupported weight works against Feed Rollers keeping the stock flat.
To avoid this problem use stands whenever long boards are being planed.
If you don’t have stands you can also offset board drop by gently lifting the free end of a board slightly on the infeed side and again on the outfeed. While this procedure doesn’t completely resolve the issue of snipe, the problem should be reduced.

4. Check the position of extension tables.

Based on testing by Cutech engineers, the extension tables play a minor role on snipe. It is only essential to make certain the inner edges of the extensions are adjusted slightly lower than the center table.

 

Using Cutech Planers to Minimize Snipe

CUTECH offers a planer model known as the 40200H that features
SNIPE LOCK. SNIPE LOCK helps reduce snipe by locking the
cutterhead into position when planing. Set the feature to unlock
when raising or lowering the cutterhead, then set it back to the
locked position before planing your workpiece.

The 40600H, 40700H and 40800H models utilize SNIPE MINIMIZER and 4 lead screws to mobilize the upper frame. Guideposts are not necessary with these
models because our patented SNIPE MINIMIZER gives a comparable
and, in some situations, better performance than the addition of the
snipe lock feature included in the 40200H.

Whether you are an experienced woodworker or someone just
starting out, don’t let the tools you use prevent you from doing your
best work. See the full line of CUTECH jointers, planers and
accessories on our website.

 

Planer Snipe FAQ

Do all planers have snipe?

The mechanism of the Feed Rollers causes Snipe but the function of the Feed Rollers are essential on benchtop planers. Therefore, snipe is noticeable if there are no additional snipe control mechanisms.

Do all jointers have snipe?

On a jointer, snipe can be eliminated by fine tuning the leveling between the Outfeed Table and the Cutter Tips.

How do I prevent / minimize snipe?

  • Use sacrificial boards.
  • Use a jointer to flatten the first surface.
  • Make certain that boards are sufficiently supported.
  • Check the position of extension tables.

 

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