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.
Woodworking snipe is a noticeably deep cut on the lead end or tail
end of a board after it passes through a benchtop planer. Sniped
boards have a different thickness at the ends than in the middle.
What Causes Snipe?
Snipe occurs when uneven pressure is created as the board passes
from one pressure roller to the next. The pressure rollers are located
on either side of the cutterhead. The upper frame, which houses the
cutterhead, motor, and pressure rollers, is driven up and down by
leadscrews and guided by guideposts. There is an uneven distribution
of forces securing the board. This variation in reaction forces is most
pronounced at the ends of the boards when only one roller is
securing the board in place. As a result, the cutterhead removes
more material at the ends of the board than desired, a phenomenon
known as snipe.
2 Essential Ways to Reduce Snipe
To mitigate snipe, consider the following steps.
- Make certain that boards are sufficiently supported
First, make certain that boards are sufficiently supported. This is especially recommended for boards longer than 4 feet, since longer boards have an unsupported weight that weighs down the end of the board. The unsupported weight works against 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.
- Use scrap boards of equal thickness
Another solution is to use scrap boards of equal thickness. You would butt the workpieces end-to-end emulating one long workpiece. Use scrap boards of the same thickness, placing one in front and the other behind your finished workpiece. This way, snipe would occur on the scrap boards rather than your finished workpiece. Although this step is more tedious, it will allow you to avoid the issue of snipe altogether.
Using Cutech Planers to Prevent 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 4 lead screws to
mobilize the upper frame. Guideposts are not necessary with these
models because our patented coupling design 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.