Planer snipe is a common phenomenon with almost all planers and its one truth one cannot run away from. It will always be around and I am quite sure almost all who use wood have experienced this on several occasions. But if not, then either you have never been keen or never bothered to find out if snipe does exist. Not to worry though because it isn’t a huge factor. People make a huge fuss about it but snipe is so minor that the average individual doesn’t need to know. If you really want to find out then running a finger over the board or shinning light at an angle can help determine snipe.
But what is a planer snipe anyway? I know for someone who really deals with timber knows what I am referring to. Normally when a planer is used there are two conditions, which are normally experienced at the two ends of the work piece. At the in-feed and the out-feed of the work piece, there is always a tendency of the cut to go slightly deeper than the other parts of the work piece. However, planer snipe is normally experienced much more at the in-feed rather than at the out-feed.
What Causes Snipe?
There are a number of factors which are responsible for planer snipe. They are neither unique nor strange however they are based on simple logic. There are two main reasons – either the piece of wood moves too much into the cutting material at both ends or the cutting assembly moves too much into the cutting material.
In the case of some small thickness planers, the main cause of planer snipe is the movement of the cutter head assembly however this can be eliminated by having a locking mechanism with the cutter assembly.
The unbalanced pressure exerted by the rubber rollers is the main cause of planer snipe, which is normally experienced at both ends of the work piece. When the work piece is introduced to the planer, the blades work on the piece while held by only one rubber roller after which it is held by two rubber rollers and thus equal pressure at both ends of the work piece. This ensures that a uniform surface is realized after the nearly invisible groove. In contrast, at the out-feed, a situation arises when wood is held by only one rubber roller and hence unbalanced pressure which ultimately results into a planer snipe.
Getting Rid Of Snipe
Is it possible to eliminate or reduce the planer snipe? Yes, it is possible. Holding the work piece firmly on the table during the in feed and the out feed can help minimize or eliminate this common phenomenon however, it should be done with a lot of caution due to the rotation of cutting blades. Alternatively, use a discarded piece of wood in front of the actual work piece so that it takes the brunt of snipe at both ends. This method always works.