harbor freight thickness planer

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Forum topic by WoodworkingGeek posted 03-31-2011 12:33 AM 27031 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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181 posts in 2114 days

03-31-2011 12:33 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’m thinking of buying the harbor freight 12’’ thickness planer and wondering if any one know if it has snipe? I recently read the article on and found out that almost all cheap thickness planers have snipe. The reviews on the harbor freight website are 4 1/2 star. I just wanted to make sure before I buy it!!

10 replies so far

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 2511 days

#1 posted 03-31-2011 12:38 AM

almost all planers have snipe, the cheep ones just have a lot more of it. you can usually reduce snipe by taking a couple very fine finsih passes, but if it is an issue, you just leave a couple inches extra on your boards so you can cut off the snipe. I dont recommend the powertools from hf, just because they dont last, but I suspect that the snipe shouldnt be much worse than any of the other 12” planerw which use the same design.

View Planeman40's profile


788 posts in 2183 days

#2 posted 03-31-2011 01:57 AM

Snipe is caused by the unsupported weight of the board on theinfeed and outfeed at the entry of the piece to be planed and at very end of the cut raising the head or tail end of the board into the cutters. This is usually remedied by

(1) bolting a straight board to the planer table making certain the bolt heads are recessed and never are in a position to touch the cutters. The board should be long enough to adequately support any board being planed on its way into the planer and as it comes out of the planer. Of course you will lose the thickness of the support board in your maximum planing thickness capacity. And, of course, the board surface needs to be smooth enough for the work to slide on due to the pressure of the infeed and outfeed rollers. I suggest making a top surface of a piece of melamine-coated masonite (sold at Home Depot and the like as cheap wall paneling for cheap bathrooms). Whatever you put on top of the extension, make sure it is something the cutters can accidentally cut into without dulling the blades.

(2) Building infeed and outfeed extensions to the bench to which your planer is mounted. These need to be accurately aligned to the height of your planer table and long enough to do as mentioned above.

This problem is common to all planers that have short tables like most of the benchtop planers have.


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View knotscott's profile


7146 posts in 2797 days

#3 posted 03-31-2011 02:56 AM

I’ve got a few non-critical HF tools that have worked out well, but unless there are no other choices in your price range, I’d be inclined to pass on this one. I’m guessing, but it seems that planers undergo more stress than a lot of tools.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Tedstor's profile


1625 posts in 2055 days

#4 posted 03-31-2011 09:19 AM

Assuming you purchase in-store, there is no reason not to give it a trial run. HF has a good return policy. I believe they also offer inexpensive extended warranties on their power tools, but I have no personal experience. Current price is at $249, but with the customary 20% off coupon, you could get into that planer for under $200. Not bad. Looks like dust collection is its greatest weakness since there is no way to connect it to a real DC. Otherwise, it has potential to be a good machine. Oh, and yes, if I had to bet, I’d guess this machine will snipe unless yu build an infeed/outfeed table.
You might also keep an eye out for sale pricing on the Delta and/or PC 305 series planer. They are commonly discounted at Lowes to $200. You might also go to your local post office and see if they have any those change of address kits that often include 10% coupons to Lowes and/or Home depot. Either will take competitors coupons. On that note, see if your local big box will take the 20% HF coupon on their PC/Ryobi models. I have the PC model that i bought from Lowes for $90 (long story).
Just an option.

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2226 days

#5 posted 03-31-2011 03:19 PM

in my opinion, there are really only 2 choices 1.a less expensive planer that will give you snipe on in and outfeed which usually amounts to about 2 1/2” inches on each end. (5” total waste) 2. a way more expensive planer that “might” give you a little or no snipe.
I have a Ryobi 13” benchtop that I paid 200.00 for. 90% of the time, I get snipe, 10% o the time, I don’t. I added in n outfeed table extentions to it myself, level with the planer table, and I still get snipe.
I think it’s just something we have to deal with as it happens If anyone out there has a good solution to controlling snipe, please let me and everyone else know.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2272 days

#6 posted 03-31-2011 06:38 PM

Snipe is pretty common. I wouldn’t suggest that as a screen for a planer purchase.

A planer is a precision tool. HF stuff is not known for precision.

Those who advocate purchasing this level of tool don’t seem to value dependability as much as I do. While it is guaranteed, and if it breaks they’ll give you a new one, that’s a day ruiner right there.

But what if it doesn’t break, what if it just won’t keep the table parallel to the head? So after running a 100 bf of wood through, suddenly boards are a thirty second thicker on one side than the other? And since they’re random widths, each board has two random thicknesses!

I have not had this experience, nor do I know anyone who has, but for me, this scenario stamps a big negatory on the potential purchase. As always, YMMV!



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View vernonator's profile


74 posts in 2073 days

#7 posted 03-31-2011 06:57 PM

Take your HF 20% off coupon to Lowes and get a Dewalt D743 – sticker is $367 with coupon its under $300…you will be MUCH happier. I know I am because thats what I did…:)

View patcollins's profile


1419 posts in 2287 days

#8 posted 04-01-2011 02:38 AM

I gott the Ridgid planer refurbished at a Tools Direct store for $265 and it is a much sturdier looking machine.

View brtech's profile


883 posts in 2344 days

#9 posted 04-01-2011 08:48 AM


You should be able to find a much better planer for $200 than the HF. I got a Rigid in excellent condition for $200. Mine had new knives included.

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2090 days

#10 posted 04-01-2011 12:31 PM

This one is on Amazon- Free shipping-as of 4/1/2011
I would skip the HF planer and buy this ,same price

DELTA ShopMaster TP305 15 Amp 12-1/2-Inch Portable Planer
Average customer review:
List Price: $514.50
Price: $249.99
You Save: $264.51 (51%)

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

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