Planer Snipe - Need Help

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Kurt T. Kneller posted 12-13-2015 05:48 PM 1351 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Kurt T. Kneller's profile

Kurt T. Kneller

126 posts in 1392 days

12-13-2015 05:48 PM

Hi All,
I have a Dewalt 734 planer I and I bought it about a year ago. So far I have been pretty happy with it.
I am in the middle of a last minute production run of Christmas end grain cutting boards for friends and family.
Everything has been going great until this morning. I ran the first glued up panel through the planer, using light cuts, it come out real nice. The second panel was an issue, I started to get some snipe, only in the front right corner. The panels come out of glue up really flat and square. I always use compressed air to keep the beds clear of any excess chips.

So at this time I stopped planing to investigate. I unplugged the planer and check the knives, they appeared sharp but I flipped them anyway. I also gave the cutter head a good cleaning while I was in there. I also wiped the rollers, they best I could with denatured alcohol. I then re-leveled the leading/trailing edges of the out-feed and in-feed tables to the main bed. The were out a bit. Now they are dead nuts.

I then inspected the second panel to see if it had developed a twist or somehow become out of level. It is as flat as can be. No twist or rocking when I checked it on my table saw cast iron. I ran it again using light passes. Still the snip was in the front right corner. I tried it again with a deeper pass and it seemed better, but still present. I then ran the third board for s & grins. It come out fine. WTF! I can not get my head around this. I have never had any snipe issues with this planer before, however I never ran 12” wide stock through it either.

The manual does not really provided any useful information about this, what else is new.

I am kind of starting to worry, I feel like I am running out of time and I have no other means to flatten the panels prior to cutting the strips. I have 6 more panels to glue and plane.

If I had to pick up a hand plane, what size would you recommend 4 1/2, 5 or 6?

If anyone has any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated. I do not want to keep running that second board until I can figure this out, I really want to keep as much mass to the board as possible.

Thanks in advance.

-- Start with ten, end with ten.......

14 replies so far

View tomsteve's profile


790 posts in 1247 days

#1 posted 12-13-2015 07:34 PM

hhhmm, good question, onewhich i cant say exactly is hapoening. maybe something to do with it being endgrain being planed? not sure,though.
ive ran into problems with my non dw planer similar to what your experiencing only not on e d grain. what i did was have a sacrificial board go throuh first, the ones i needed next, then another sacrificial board at the end, making sure all went through the planer end to end- no gaps between them.

maybe you can even find a shop(or another woorworker) nearby with a wide belt sander to run them through?

View robscastle's profile


5108 posts in 2232 days

#2 posted 12-13-2015 08:40 PM

Warning Will Robinson!

Do not run the second board

Working end grain in a planer is inviting trouble, the fact that you have only experienced some snipe is the luck of the draw.
You should use a wide drum sander as tomsteve has already suggested to finish you endgrain work.

Have a read of my blog Cedar work Pt2 of which I was attempting to do endgrain work in a planner, the various replies regarding not doing endgrain planing are thankfully attached there.

-- Regards Rob

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3924 days

#3 posted 12-13-2015 08:52 PM

Kurt – I’ve had the same problem from time to time. I don’t have an answer as to the ‘why’ but I only have had it happen maybe 4 times and I’ve run literally hundreds of end grain boards through my planer with no issues. I use my drum sanders for anything over 12.5” inches – but anything under that goes through the planer.

Using a planer for end grain cutting boards has always been a hot button issue and everyone has an opinion. Yes, it can go terribly wrong – but it can also be a good way to get boards done. But it’s totally a personal call, if you are comfortable with it there’s no reason not to do it.

Using sacrificial rails always helps with snipe so if you have the width available with your project – that option is a good one.

Just my two cents.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Kurt T. Kneller's profile

Kurt T. Kneller

126 posts in 1392 days

#4 posted 12-13-2015 09:20 PM

The warning and concerns for running end grain through the planer are greatly appreciated, however unwarranted.
Maybe I was not clear ”I am kind of starting to worry, I feel like I am running out of time and I have no other means to flatten the panels prior to cutting the strips. I have 6 more panels to glue and plane.”
What is being run through the planer are the first glued up panels, which makes them edge and face grain not end grain. I would not risk running end grain through my panel. Either way, I am not happy, I could try the sacrificial lead and follow boards, but that is a lot of sacrificial stock.

Could it be the roller bearings? Are they true roller bearings or more of the journal type? I think I have read some that they are made of somewhat soft material.

-- Start with ten, end with ten.......

View Lazyman's profile


2057 posts in 1415 days

#5 posted 12-13-2015 10:22 PM

Can you post a picture showing the snipe. Sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Kazooman's profile


1031 posts in 1980 days

#6 posted 12-13-2015 11:28 PM

I am also in the middle of making several end grain cutting boards and I own a Dewalt 725.

I cant’t figure out what would cause snipe on just one corner of a piece unless it is twisted. Laying it on the saw may not be good enough. Try a pair of winding sticks out on the ends to see if there is a subtle twist you are missing.

I have not had any major snipe issues with my planer, but. I do take a few precautions. One is to help support the piece by lifting upward a bit as it enters and exits the planer. The weight of a long thick piece can exert a lot of force that levers the piece up into the cutter head.

I try to make the pieces for the first glue up (planing face grain, as you said) long enough to later slice off enough strips for two or three boards. Any snipe is at the ends and would only effect a few pieces. If you are careful with your cutting you could leave the “edge” of the snipe in a waste piece and then the worst you would have is one strip that is a hair thinner than the rest. Probably not noticeable, especially if it is on the end of the board and masked by the rounding over of the edges.

Also, when I prepare the glue-ups, if one of the pieces of stock is longer than needed I will just leave it that way. The excess hangs over the end of the glued up piece like a set of teeth. It will go through the planer just fine. Any snipe will be taken up on the extra length pieces. Here are a pair of ends from a glue up I did for two cutting boards. No snipe anyway, but the wide pieces would have absorbed it and the cut would be smooth by the time the area for the actual final pieces was being planed.

I should add that the letting the ends hang out technique is also useful when you have a number of pieces of stock to use, some of which are not long enough for the initial glue up to make a board. Figure out a way to assemble them with the shorter pieces butted end to end. Try to arrange the butt joints so several of them line up at one point and make the glue up. Cut out the section that has the butt joints and then slice off the strips for your board. This may not be as clear as I would like, but I don’t have any workpiece for a photo. Try this attempt at making it clearer. You need to make a glue up piece that is 16” long to then slice into strips for the final board. You have a piece of walnut that is 36” long and two pieces of maple, each 18” long. Do NOT cut the walnut to length. Do the first glue up with the maple pieces butted together in the middle with the excess walnut hanging off the ends. Clean the glue up and plane it. Then cut out just the central piece where the maple joint is. This gives two pieces to slice the strips off and you will be left with the sawtooth pieces like I showed. Similarly, you may need to allow for three waste areas of all of your stock is too short. Good way to use up the end pieces of you stock. A 12” piece of 8/4 stock can easily be over a boardfoot and you paid for it.

View Kurt T. Kneller's profile

Kurt T. Kneller

126 posts in 1392 days

#7 posted 12-14-2015 12:08 AM

Can you post a picture showing the snipe. Sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words.
- Lazyman

I have already hit the problem areas with 120 – 180 grit on my 6” orbital. Some time and enough passes over the whole board, both sides, took out any evidence of snipe. Thankfully the snipe was not was not really deep in the corner. All boards look and feel flat and level. I checked them with my Woodpeckers 36” straight edge.

I normally leave my stock long when running though the planer taking in account for snipe. This is the first time making cutting boards and I followed what I had watched and wanted to minimize waste. I am using maple, walnut, purple heart and jatoba. The jatoba was a little pricey. What drops are left are going into bread boards or trivets. The strange things is, I rough cut all the stock to 16” face and edge jointed, ripped, then planed to thickness. None of the individual pieces showed any snipe and the finish was nice and smooth and all stock was square (checked with a machinist square against the shop lights). I did mention it, but when I used my table saw top I also used my Woodpeckers 36” precision straight edge to check level across the length, width and diagonally. The board was flat, except where the snipe was.

I understand what you are talking about when staggering your stock length. That is the wonderful thing about woodworking, through frustration comes knowledge. I am always learning something new by doing. I knew I was taking a chance by trying to work close to final length. However, the widest piece that I have run to date through the plane has been around 8” and showed no snipe. This is the first time running anything this wide. Maybe the planer has a preference and is trying to tell me something.

Either way, I will run extra/staggered stock lengths in the future. I have some construction lumber that I can mill up to use as sacrificial leading and trailing boards. I’ll have to break them down for clear pieces. Probably for the best since they have been taking up room in my lumber rack and I need to make room for my upcoming projects.
I have 3 bedroom sets on the agenda for this next year….what did I get myself into…....

-- Start with ten, end with ten.......

View geekwoodworker's profile


376 posts in 1488 days

#8 posted 12-14-2015 03:40 PM

Kurt. Planers usually create some sort of a snipe at both ends of a board. You can help alleviate this by making your cutting boards longer or by feeding them at an angle if your planer is wide enough. I always make my boards 4 inches longer as my planer creates a snipe of about 2” at each end. For narrow stock I feed at an angle and the snipe is usually at an angle and much shorter. Sometimes I slightly lift up on the board as it exits the planer.

Check out this site on understanding planer snipe.

Hope this helps.

View teejk02's profile


481 posts in 1153 days

#9 posted 12-14-2015 09:21 PM

I’ll just chime in here that I went through great pains to get my Delta 13” planer to minimal snipe and it has run 100’s of board feet through it. After turning on the radiant in-floor heat I notice things aren’t working so well. Will take a hydrometer out tomorrow…all I can guess is that the building is tight and moisture from the summer is now airborne, leading to fine sawdust sticking to everything and the planer is now “balking” leading to snipe. Short of running a de-humidifier out there before it gets to our normal cold, guess I’ll have to deal with it.

View rwe2156's profile


2967 posts in 1508 days

#10 posted 12-15-2015 12:28 PM

I’m not familiar with that machine so can’t help you.

Have to disagree with the poster re: “planers usually create some sort of snipe at both ends of a board”. I’ve owned 3 different planers and never experienced snipe on the infeed side, only the last bit as it passes through.

If you have a good quality planer properly dialed in snipe should be minimal. Most snipe (IME) is caused by insufficient support on the outfeed side. Unusual to get snipe as you describe.

I would put a jointed board through the planer and if there’s no snipe, put some winding sticks on your cutting boards they may have a slight twist.

Lots can happen with a slightly twisted board is put through a planer especially if there is not a lot of roller pressure like lunchbox planers.

BTW I’ve seen a couple videos the guy glues on side strips about 3” longer than the cutting board to and cuts them off after planing. Check this guy.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2397 days

#11 posted 12-15-2015 02:25 PM

I also have the DW734, and if you haven’t yet, would suggest that you set the infeed and outfeed tables with the edge furthest from the planer just a bit higher then the bed of the planer. Not much, maybe 1/16” or so.

Also, when you’re feeding stock in, apply slight upward pressure on the trailing end of the board until the leading edge has passed through the planer. Then, apply slight upward pressure on the leading edge until the rest of the board has gone completely through. If I don’t do this, I will usually get a little snipe. When I do this, there’s almost always zero snipe.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2989 days

#12 posted 12-15-2015 07:48 PM

I had read to eliminate snipe is to put a dime as a spacer on the outfeed table. Just what I read, not an expert. But…....I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once! :D

View Kurt T. Kneller's profile

Kurt T. Kneller

126 posts in 1392 days

#13 posted 12-16-2015 01:10 AM

Thanks to all for the great advice. It seems the general consensus is to raise the trailing end of the stock on the infeed side and the leading edge on the outfeed side. I’ll have to give it a try when I am running stock long enough to do that. Using extra long stock to address potential snipe also makes a lot of sense as does using sacrificial leaders and followers.
I came across this article and it makes sense and seems to be better than the manual recommendations. It essentially does what everyone has suggested.
You can find it here.
Either way, I think I need to raise the table ends more than the manual recommends, like in the article. Again thanks for the advice. I love this site. So many helpful people.


-- Start with ten, end with ten.......

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2397 days

#14 posted 12-16-2015 01:50 PM

Give them a good wax, while you’re at it, if you haven’t yet. I put a little Johnson’s Paste Wax on mine after I run a good amount of lumber through, and it definitely helps keep things moving smoothly.

Post back once you’ve made your adjustments and let us know how it worked out for you.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics