Planer help...I'm confused

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Forum topic by D_Allen posted 12-30-2010 04:29 AM 4110 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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495 posts in 2809 days

12-30-2010 04:29 AM

This makes no sense to me so I thought I’d throw it out for discussion.
I have always had some snipe on both ends when using my Ridgid R4330 planer. Recently I wanted to try to adjust it out but could not get the extension tables correctly set. I did it to the manual and then to the pennies in the center and many other adjustments. Some responses to a different thread and some online examples prompted me to build the infeed table pictured below. This shelf does not move as it is bolted to the base that the planer is bolted to and also to a secondary shelf about 12” out. It is solid. Ok, here is the dilemma.
I set this to be absolutely in line with the planer bed. The other outfeed tray, which is still the one that came with the tool, is drastically angled down. I did this on purpose so that there would be no chance that it could have an effect on the board.
When I ran a 3 ft piece of maple through…….the outfeed end had zero snipe but the infeed still had some. My thinking is that this infeed table should have only effected the infeed end of the board. How could it possibly have an effect on the outfeed end. With the outfeed table angled down it is basically as though it is not there.
Is there maybe something wrong with the infeed roller?
I’m stumped at this point. I know the answer is right there, somewhere, but I just can’t see it.

-- Website is finally up and

16 replies so far

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2939 days

#1 posted 12-30-2010 05:55 AM

I would suggest that your infeed, being too short, allows the board to sag off the end of the infeed and thus forces the beginning of the board up and into the cutter head. Same for your outfeed, though if you are ONLY going to plane short boards you may or may not notice the snipe.

I would also suggest making both feed extenions at least as long (51% each) as half the length of the longest board you will ever plane. If more than half the board is resting on one of the feed table extensions then it will NOT be trying to fall off the extension and/or pushing the board up and into the cutter head.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#2 posted 12-30-2010 08:16 AM

Your bed extension is too short. Also, the small planers have some flex
in them. Try feeding the wood at an angle so the knives don’t have
to go from cutting air to cutting the full width of your board. The knives
can also, I believe, lift up the front of the board a bit and cause snipe at
the start of the cut. Eliminating it entirely is difficult if not impossible.

I’ve never had good luck getting totally consistent thickness on any
planer I’ve owned – and I’ve had several. I’m starting to think that
the best process for the small shop on a budget (ie. you don’t have
the bucks for Felder or whatever) is to plane to general thickness
and then drum sand to final dimension.

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3586 days

#3 posted 12-30-2010 05:17 PM

I have a Dewalt 735 on a shop made workstation with long in/out feed tables. (See my projects). Most of the time I have little or no snipe, but ever once in a while I will get a snipe on one or both ends, for no apparent reason. From what I’ve read most if not everyone experiences similar problems with portable planers.

Therefore, the solution (for me anyway) is to just assume that snipe will happen and allow for it by starting with boards that are at least 8 inches longer than the finished dimension.

-- Joe

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2801 days

#4 posted 12-30-2010 05:44 PM

This is what Dewalt told me when I had the problem.

The in and outfeed tables should go up a little. Raise the cutter near the top and place a straight edge or level through the planer, you should have about a 1/8” gap at the bottom of the center. Sounded wrong to me but it worked. If I cut too deep, will snipe, if I cut gentle, it does’t. Another thing that helps is to use car wax on all of the tables and bottom of the planer.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View TheDane's profile


5441 posts in 3688 days

#5 posted 12-30-2010 09:30 PM

I have a DeWalt 733, and had the same problem until I talked to a DeWalt rep at a local wood-working show.

I bought my planer used, and the elderly gent that I bought it from had set both the in/out feed tables so they were dead flat with the middle platform. He suggested exactly the same thing that David detailed above, and following his advice, I have almost zero snipe. The only time I run into a problem is if I don’t properly support longer stock.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2809 days

#6 posted 12-31-2010 03:00 AM

OK, maybe I’m too picky but I don’t want to accept any snipe. It seems to me that the machine should do the job it was designed to do and do it well. So, I think I have found the problem.
First let me add that the extension I built is the same length as the metal one that it replaced. The main difference is that with the one I built, there is no guessing how much the extension will flex as it is with the metal one. Think about how the metal ones are assembled and it is apparent that adjustment is needed constantly.
Anyway, after some more observation I found that the motor/roller/cutter assembly has a slight upward play in it on the infeed side. I can move it about .005” upward by gently prying on it from the bottom. And, the snipe I was getting is roughly the same thickness, 4-6 thousands of an inch. The outfeed has barely a noticeable movement.
Here is my theory. Follow this logic referencing the diagram below. Sorry it is not a quality sketch.
When the board first enters the planer, the slop in the assembly allows the head to rise about .005”. That makes the motor /cutter assembly slightly tilted from parallel to the table, figure #1. This would not be anything noticeable.
The first 2 inches of the board is then run under the knives and all seems OK. Until the end of the board contacts the second roller, figure #2. At this point the motor/cutter/roller assembly tries to level out because there is more pressure from the second roller than from the first. I doubt it fully equalizes but in any case the cutter is forced upward slightly, which causes the snipe condition.
In figure #3 when the end of the board gets past the first roller, there is a slight downward movement again due to the ability of the assembly to tilt. That snipe is hardly noticeable and a first I did not see it as it is only about 1 or 2 thousands deep.

I’m working on the solution…see the next post……..

-- Website is finally up and

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2809 days

#7 posted 12-31-2010 03:20 AM

So, I proceeded to take the sides and top off of the tool. Once I go a better look at the corners where the ‘four screw mechanism’ comes into play I could see more clearly that vertical movement. The design seems to be sound but there can be no play vertically. I doubt that I have used this enough to warrant this kind of adjustment so I am going to assume it was like this from day one. Which seems logical since I have had a problem with snipe from the very start?
Anyway, on the top and bottom at each corner is a nut through which the height adjustment screw turns. These thread into the housing and are held in place with set screws. What I did on one of the infeed corners is to back off the setscrew and was able to tighten the top nut 1/4 turn. That took out all of the play vertically and I then checked to be sure the height adjustment still turned freely but no too far. I will do the same to the other infeed corner and then check the height adjustment again to be sure it moves free. I am guessing here that the infeed needs to stay where it is at rest instead of going up. I may be wrong and I have no way of checking the assembly to see if it is parallel with the bed. I will just have to try it and see. I figure as long as I make adjustments that do not twist the assembly that it should still be OK. I have several hours of cleaning to do as well now that it is apart.

-- Website is finally up and

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2801 days

#8 posted 01-03-2011 02:49 PM

Keep in mind that you are looking at the rollers that are rubber and can flex – they have to. You also have to account for wood that may be bowed or cupped that will still play a part in snipe. Unless you were to add a longer set of rollers to rest the material, like a saw mill, and a few more sets of in and out feed rollers will you greatly reduce the potentential of snipe. At that point, get a commercial 20” planer but even then, they get it also – they just cut off the sniped ends.

A local saw mill summed it up like this, “I get snipe on both ends so I lose a total of 6” (3” on both ends). When I mill lumber, I factor in that 6” into the milling fee and run a piece that is 6” longer than what the customer wants. If (s)he wants 4 – 6’ pieces, I run 2 – 13’ pieces and trim the ends to make the pieces that the customer wants. Normally, the customer mills their own.”

I have learned how to deal with the snipe, if I get it, I use hand tools to eliminate it.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3463 days

#9 posted 01-03-2011 03:01 PM

I have a dewalt 734 with infeed/outfeed wings.

I don’t now if this will help but the wings are designed to stop snipe. Both of them seem to tip up slightly but are spring loaded so that as the wood comes through the tables will give some. It does work. No snipe. I think the angle works because when I have to put in a long, heavy piece of hard wood it tends to sag the outfeed wing a bit and I can discern a small amount of snipe.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2809 days

#10 posted 01-04-2011 02:44 AM

I appreciate all the comments and suggestions. I am about at wits end and will probably just have to work around it. I am convinced that it is not technique and not the infeed/outfeed wings. I get a consistant amount whether I am runing a 3 foot piece of maple 6” wide or if I run a 3/4×2 x 18” hickory stick. I am 99% sure it is a flaw of this particular machine. I can run pieces side by side and only the end of the first one has it so that will probably be my solution.
There are 2 more things I am going to try tonight but I doubt that either will solve the problem…but ya never know till ya try.

-- Website is finally up and

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1896 posts in 3697 days

#11 posted 01-04-2011 02:53 AM

I used to, and still do experience snipe if I don’t first flatten one face of the board on the jointer. I’ve found that no matter what, if I flatten the board’s face first, there will be no snipe on either end. Hope this helps.

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2809 days

#12 posted 01-04-2011 03:42 AM

Matt, I was thinking on similar line when I considered that the back of the board that has snipe may, and probably would effect the opposite side. So what I do, which wastes a lot of wood, is to cut off the snipe end before the next pass.
The other things I tried, 4 in all, had no effect either. The last thing I did was to loosen all 4 corners of the motor/cutter/roller assembly so that there was a noticable verticle movement when I pried up on the corners. Well, instead of a .003” snipe I get a .005” snipe. I think that is telling me that I cannot get the machine tight enough to stop the back roller from bringing the cutter up off of the wood. The rollers are equalizing any tilting of the assembly. I had hoped that it would allow the front roller to take up the difference by allowing the assembly to tilt forward. I even tried using web clamps and tied the outfeed side down in hopes of preventing it from flexing upward. Nothing has helped and I am about out of ideas.

-- Website is finally up and

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3313 days

#13 posted 01-04-2011 04:16 AM

i have the same planer an what i did to get rid of the snipe is angle the ends of the tables up about an 1/8” or more now the only time i get snipe is when i run little short pieces of wood through like about 1’ or so but sometimes i pull the tables up alot with my hands and run it through (one table at a time) and bye bye snipe. try it if u can by just pulling the table up with your hands first one at a time an see? keep us posted?

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3220 days

#14 posted 01-04-2011 04:49 AM

D_Allen, I have the same planer and I’d recommend a 1/2” to 3/4” piece of wood going across the entire planer bed from infeed to outfeed, a little bit longer on both sides, it will remove ALL snipe. Also pushing down on the piece as its going in so it stays flat helps as does on the way out. Similar to this pic:

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2809 days

#15 posted 01-04-2011 05:12 AM

Kunk, I saw nothing flippant about your response. I found the part about the hand planes quite amusing actually.
Eric, I curious, with or without the extra wood going through your planer, do you have absolutly no snipe on the wood you plane? I’m only trying to confirm my suspition that it is this machine, not all R4330s that leaves just a wee bit of snipe. I have used a 3/4” melimine board that extends past both ends, like the one you referenced. It gave exactly the same amount of snipe as without it. I also noticed this evening that the metal bed pan(that sounds weird) has a bit of a bow upward so I reset the infeed and outfeed tables with a 4 foot level pressed down with the height adjustment. No change by the way! I am thinking thaat I am thinking too hard about this problem and wasting too much wood and time. Kunk, we have a solution with the lead in sacrificed wood.

-- Website is finally up and

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