Snipe: Fun to say. Not fun to deal with.
When a board goes through a planer, the rollers keep it moving through the cutterhead by exerting heavy pressure.
But when only one roller is making contact with a board, it can tilt that board up into the cutterhead.
Hence snipe on the ends of your board.
So how can you deal with snipe? Here’s a few ways:
1. MAKE SURE INFEED/OUTFEED TABLES ARE LEVEL
If the infeed and outfeed tables on your planer aren’t level with the inner table, you’re more likely to get snipe.
It’s easy to check with a straight edge. Here’s a video where I explain the process.
2. TAKE SMALL PASSES
The more material you try to take off, the more pressure the rollers put on a board.
Take small bites (1/16 inch or less) and you’ll reduce the chances of a board getting tilted into the cutterhead.
3. USE A SACRIFICIAL OFFCUT
Take an offcut that’s the same thickness of your board.
Run this offcut through the planer with your board butted against the back. When the offcut comes out, butt it against the back end of your board.
It’ll selflessly take the snipe — like a bodyguard for your workpiece.
4. PLAN TO TRIM THE ENDS
If there seems to be no way to avoid snipe on your planer, cut your boards longer than needed and trim off the excess after planing.
It’s a little wasteful in terms of material — but it will ensure your boards are perfect along their length.
(Especially if you used a dedicated crosscut blade on your miter or table saw).
Want to learn more about milling? Read this.