Trouble with snipe


Robert Black
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Ok, here goes, newbie with snipe problems on my new Dewalt 13" planer. I know, I know, level the tables, right? I've double and triple checked with straight edge and feeler gauges, they are spot on. Is it possible that the rollers or knives need adjustment? I haven't even seen that but I'm clawing now.

Any suggestions?

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good evening robert - i have a dewalt 12 1/2" and a dewalt two speed 13" surface planer . i have had trouble with snipe from time to time on the 12 1/2 " planer but only a couple of times with the 13" planer . yes i have heard all about the tables being flat . i have tried different techniques when i had the snipe happening , such as putting a bit of pressure on the board(safely of course) on the outfeed side of the board and that seemed to help but i am not sure if that was the problem . i am wondering how much you were trying to take off and what kind of wood it was that you were planing . obviously the harder the wood - the less you can take off at a time . you might try noticing how much you are taking off and if it gives you snipe try reducing the amount and see if that helps . not really a good answer but that is all i got !

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They should amend the idiom, "nothing is certain but death and taxes," to: "nothing is certain but death, taxes and snipe." Fiddle with your adjustments all you want...it's pointless. Snipe is part of woodworking life. Take light passes...that "helps." Nothing solves it except milling your boards six inches too long and cutting off the ends after planing.

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Hi Robert - I have a 13" Dewalt Planer (the 735) and have had on-again/off-again problems with snipe. In this planer I believe that all snipe is due to the board handling and stability and not related to any sort of head deflection.

I recently readjusted my infeed and outfeed tables, using the method where the outside edges of the tables are tilted up ever so slightly - a straightedge over both tables (through the machine) will be able to fit a penny between the straightedge and the bed. I believe the theory is that this helps the rollers really push down on the board. The inside edges of the in/outfeed tables are aligned with the bed of the planer.

My leading edge snipe all but disappeared, but I still have a very very slight trailing edge snipe which I can deal with via sanding - no need to lop off the end of each board. I believe the trailing edge snipe is due to the infeed roller actually catching the rear edge of the piece and lifing it up into the cutter head. This problem totally disappears if I feed one board in directly behind (and against) a previous board. This prevents the roller from 'catching' the trailing edge. Any snipe I have is always on the last board.

I think I might elevate the outfeed table just a little more. Good outfeed support (roller stand or something) is also critical so that the weight of the board on the outfeed side does not contribute to the trailing edge lifting into the cutterhead.

Not sure if you have the same machine or setup as me, but I hope this helps.

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Two thoughts, after using a DW733 for the past 13-14 years.

- Hold the end of longer boards that's not in the planer up a few inches, maybe level with the top, or top 1/3, of the motor housing, as the first and last foot get planed.

- Run shorter boards through touching end to end. Do the step above for the first and last board.

You can futz with the tables to reach perfection. Many years ago I started doing the steps above, and now I can't tell you how the tables are aligned.

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Robert, the big thing to remember about snipe is that it is most likely to happen when you've cut your board to exact length. If you cut your board long, it rarely happens. I think that's Murphy's Law.

Exactly! The same law dictates that the worst tearout will happen in the center of the face of the most visible board...

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Depends on the planer even larger four post planer have snipe issues. The little ones may have head movement, the bigger four post dont have these issues. The bigger one have stock lifting issues. That a matter of just lifting you stock as Barry stated or setting your table way above level. Once you get into the 20" and larger planers you have a pressure bar that takes care of snipe so you dont have to deal with lifting or head movement.

Don

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Well, for any of the previous members who have posted here, I thought I'd share some follow up. I've been running some 4/4 hardwood stock, mainly cherry and paduk, about 6" wide. (Working on a cutting board). The first adjustment I made was tilt the edge of the infeed and outfeed tables up enough to leave room for a penny (thanks John Fitz), that made a huge improvement! The lighter wood (cherry) still had a little snipe, but easy to fix with some sanding, the harder wood (paduk) had no snipe at all. Follow that up with the suggestion of running boards end to end, I'm a happy camper. Thanks to all for our comments!

Just to be safe, I'm still running longer stock than I need, just in case :)

Robert

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I have a two planer units, a DeWalt DW 734 and a combo Grizzly G0634 with a spiral cutter head. The G0634 does not have any snipe and it's what I use most of the time. Occasionally, I'll use the DW734 which is what I used exclusively for years before buying the combo machine. Long time I set added a little tilt up to my tables to smooth out the snipe issues. I still will get them occasionally, but I think it's mainly when I try to remove to much at once. Like in the video, I think it's simply the head flexing and moving a bit.

chris

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I’ve never used the lunchbox units, so not so sure how much applies to the OP…

On the 4-posters, you typically have ‘table rollers’ on an adjustment ecliptic. They are adjustable through about 6thou. The adjustment depends on how ‘rough’ surface and how hard the stick. One way to reduce snipe is to pay attention to this setting… Prior to moving to a tersa/keyway planer, I lived with a 4-poster for years without realizing the impact this setting has on snipe --- the rollers are there to ease rough stock across the table – but also create a pivot point for snipe. Now it’s a pain to adjust for each run, so I don’t… who would? If I have a bunch really rough stock, I set it for rough and get everything to at least partially surfaced. I then set it for a fine surface and just live with snipe on the initial runs – who cares… From the factory, the setting is usually ‘midpoint’ which is not optimized for any surface, but at least gets everything across the table. For those with 4-posters and living with snipe, take a look… It can’t hurt…

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  • 1 year later...

Believe it or not, it seems like I came across the solution to snipe after trying all suggested methods. Here it goes: feed the board at an angle so that the planer catches the corner first. No snipe!!! Obviously the size of the piece relative to the size of your planer has something to do with it. Let me know how it worked for you. 

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I find that supporting the board throughout the cut eliminates snipe. No sag, no snipe.

Agreed. I started noticing that most of my snipe comes with larger boards. If so I put firm pressure on the infeed side then transfer weight and pressure to the outfeed side. Need to get some roller stands someday.

If u are not getting snipe on short boards that don't hang off the indeed or out feed table then try better support.

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Death, Taxes, Snipe – nuff said.

 

Planers can be grouped by common design elements. Solution sets for snipe tend to align with the groups… A further complication – value-engineered woodworking machines (e.x. lunch-box planers) have greater unit-to-unit variation. A solution that works for a given instance may not prove successful on another of the same model... Two further issues: solution sets vary with stock dimensions/Janka and edge sharpness…

 

Your best bet is to collect solutions from those with the same model, get yourself some practice stock in the species/dimensions representative of your projects and work though the suggestions until you find a solution set for your unit, your stock, your workflow…

 

If all else fails, you can eliminate snipe with a minor investment of $15 - $20K for a decent planer... After all, the kids don't have to eat every day... If that's a little too costly, maybe a couple grand for a drum sander -- that'll do ya....  Or if cash is just a little tight at the moment, leave yourself an extra 3" on each side of the stock and cross cut after milling... :)

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