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Bench top planer recommendations?

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Munty Scruntfundle

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HI there.

I'm thinking of getting a small table top bench planer for sizing before blocking, glueing, turning etc.

I've looked at a few reviews and I'm not really any the wiser. I don't like this thing called snipe, I'd like to use the machine with all the offcuts I can and wasting 2 or 3 inches of everything going through is going to be very wasteful. The engineer in me can't understand why this side effect hasn't been overcome.

Can anyone suggest a planer/sizer that either doesn't have this problem or minimises it? Or general recommendations for this kind of kit?

Many thanks.
 

Trevanion

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Main reason snipe happens is lack of support on the infeed and outfeed of the piece, the worst of it can be overcome by gently lifting the backend of the workpiece as it enters the machine and lifting the front end of the piece as it exits.
 

sunnybob

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are you talking planer? or thicknesser? or a combi machine?

A bench top thicknesser is the worst offender for snipe, but if you carefully search for one with a locking head, the snipe will be minimal. The snipe happens because if the head is not locked to the upright shafts, the cutters tilt up as the wood is fed in and down as the wood is fed out.
 

scooby

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Im guessing we're talking about thicknessers...If so, I think most suffer from snipe. I recall (during my apprenticeship) the works had a Dominion beast of a planer/thicknesser that suffered from snipe when thicknessing. My bench top (Metabo DH330) snipes 99% of the time, even with head locked down. Even high end machines aren't immune, I recall the wood whisperer saying his powermatic machine suffered from it.

I think the only way to stop it happening (in my experience) is to feed a piece directly behind your workpiece so the infeed roller doesn't allow the out feed to reduce pressure.
 

sunnybob

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A long in and out feed table is very helpful as well. I took off the 10" flaps from my JET, and put a 5 ft piece of contiboard through the machine, with each end built up to stop any flex or movement. That cut the snipe by 50%, scrap wood before and after the good bits will stop all of it, but its long winded if youre only doing one piece.
 

Simon_M

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Search the web for snipe and you will find many solutions. For some smaller workpieces it can be beneficial to mount (CA glue) side rails or a piece behind. Some suggestions are to raise the infeed/outfeed slightly (not tried).

My preference is to try and put a workpiece on a flat base that extends the overall length of the tables and I have my Makita thicknesser mounted on a separate plywood base that extends the length 2x. If the workpiece can’t dip down the snipe is eliminated.

Best solution is to put a 2” torsion box under a workpiece with wedges etc. where possible to flatten the top surface (I don’t have a jointer) and then flip it to do the other side. If possible I use this for everything. There is a backstop behind it. The workpiece pulls the box thru as well.

One suggestion uses just a flat board across and thru’ the thicknesser. If there is any possibility of it flexing, it won’t do much.

It might be best to say that snipe can be greatly reduced but perhaps “eliminated” is a bit too strong e.g. not 100% of time. If it can be reduced to the point of needed only a wipe with sandpaper or one pass of ROS then it’s (mostly) eliminated IMHO.
 

CHJ

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To prevent snipe caused by the lack of pressure from the out feed and infeed rollers during final cuts, (the reason Trevanion's lifting helps) if I'm thicknessing short lengths where I want to maximise the evenly machined length, I run one or even two (one each side) longer lengths of scrap timber through at the same time , thus keeping front and back roller pressure closer to constant and stopping the shorter piece tipping as it passes the cutter block.

This also helps if you are passing multiple short lengths end to end as the roller/cutter relation stays the same.

rollers.jpg


Obviously you need to run the scrap through all stages of thickness reduction so that it's the same as the required work piece.
 

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disco_monkey79

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I can't comment on bench top thicknessers as I have never had one. However, if the OP is after a planer (jointer), then I used to have a little 6" Axminster jointer/planer that was a lovely little machine.
I have since sold and upgraded to a bigger machine, but it did everything I asked from it. Unfortunately, I believe it has been discontinued so you'd need to look for 2nd hand
 
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I really haven't found a suitable solution to the snipe.

- Longer infeed/outfeed : didn't help
- Locking the head : I don't have this option, but from what I have read, it doesn't seem to help much
- Lifting as the boards go through : inconsistant
- Putting through at an angle : doesn't reduce it, just spreads it out
- Side support pieces : this requires you to cut up stock to the right size, and can only be used once. Is it really cheaper than just cutting off the snipe?
- gluing pieces to front/back : ain't nobody got time for that!
- One piece after the other : probably the best you're going to get.

It all depends on the situation though. If it's just one board, perhaps an expensive species, then one of the above methods is probably worth doing. If it's multiple boards though (lots of different thicknesses) ... meh. I just deal with the snipe.
 

Munty Scruntfundle

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Yeah, I understand snipe, I have to admit I've never known what it was called, but it was the reason I put down a portable electric planer as quickly as I picked it up!

I don't really mind if I end up with something classified as a planer or a shaper, or a sizer, I just wanted to ensure small offcuts could be sized accurately for gluing and turning. If I have a 3 inch offcut, there's little point in putting it in a machine that will effectively waste 2 inches of it.

--- SImon M ---
My preference is to try and put a workpiece on a flat base that extends the overall length of the tables and I have my Makita thicknesser mounted on a separate plywood base that extends the length 2x. If the workpiece can’t dip down the snipe is eliminated.

I had thought of using an 'underboard', a plant 4 foot long would suffice as my bits are mostly small but I assumed I would end up with feed issues? How does it work with small pieces?
--- ---
 

MusicMan

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I have had a DeWalt 733 "lunchbox" 12" bench top thicknesser for about 15 years. It's been efficient and reliable, and suffers very little from snipe, usually negligible without any of the suggested remedies. I have been careful about setting up the infeed and outfeed tables accurately, about cleaning and lubricating, using the lock and keeping the blades sharp. Surface finish is very good, too, even on teak and rosewood.

I don't have a planer/jointer, but don't feel the need. The Wadkin AGS10 will cut an accurate right angle with a decent surface. These are then used as the reference surfaces for planing the opposite faces. Finally inverted and the sawn surfaces cleaned up with a very light cut.

Of course it depends on your needs. I'm a hobbyist and rarely work on large pieces of furniture other than bookcases or restorations (for which accurate thicknessing of replacement pieces is very useful). I do use a lot of reclaimed hardwood flooring etc., for which it is ideal. And I'm an engineer, so am fussy about things like flatness and right angles!
 
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Simon_M":3ocgqbob said:
It might be best to say that snipe can be greatly reduced but perhaps “eliminated” is a bit too strong e.g. not 100% of time. If it can be reduced to the point of needed only a wipe with sandpaper or one pass of ROS then it’s (mostly) eliminated IMHO.
It depends on what is causing the snipe. From my understanding, there are two issues :

1) The timber itself is not supported and so can dip. Longer beds will help here.


2) The cutter block can move (rotate) as the piece passes through from only one roller to two. Some machines have a lock to prevent this movement (some say it doesn't help). Longer infeed/outfeed beds won't help here.
 

CHJ

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Munty Scruntfundle":28rzfxm9 said:
... If I have a 3 inch offcut, there's little point in putting it in a machine that will effectively waste 2 inches of it.
..
If you tried that with a thicknesser you would more than likely end up with shattered bits of wood being spit out (and possibly blades damaged/moved) as they tipped up into the cutter block.

Munty Scruntfundle":28rzfxm9 said:
..
I had thought of using an 'underboard', a plank 4 foot long would suffice as my bits are mostly small but I assumed I would end up with feed issues? How does it work with small pieces?
--- ---
I often machine short or thin pieces mounted end to end on a length of melamine coated board using Hot Melt Glue along the edges
 

sunnybob

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Anything under a foot long will be spit back out with a vengance. If there are anti kick back splines to stop that, the piece will be destroyed inside the box.
But you can hot glue lots of small pieces to a long board and feed the whole thing through, provided you use good glue all around each item and only take a whisker off each time.
If you are only doing occasional pieces that small then I dont think you should buy either a planer or thicknesser, they are not cheap machines.
 

loftyhermes

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sunnybob":3sz5hlka said:
Anything under a foot long will be spit back out with a vengance. If there are anti kick back splines to stop that, the piece will be destroyed inside the box.
But you can hot glue lots of small pieces to a long board and feed the whole thing through, provided you use good glue all around each item and only take a whisker off each time.
If you are only doing occasional pieces that small then I dont think you should buy either a planer or thicknesser, they are not cheap machines.
I can and have fed pieces of wood as short as 6" long through my Makita thicknesser and never had one spit out.
The shortest length of wood is determined by the distance apart of the feed rollers, on the Makita they are 5" apart.
 

Munty Scruntfundle

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Am I right in thinking a 'Planer' where I manually push the blocks over the blades and the rear table takes up the slack, there is no snipe?

If that's the case I need a planer and I'll start a new thread as this one has run off down a technical hole!

But I love all the replies, great information. :)
 

Munty Scruntfundle

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And then, if what I'm after is as good a square and straight edge I can get, do I actually need a bench top table saw?
 

sunnybob

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You have a much better chance of zero snipe with a planer, than with a thicknesser.
But for gods sake use something solid to push the small bits of wood across and dont let your hands anywhere near that spinning cutter.

If you are buying planks that are "close" to finished size, then no, you dont need a table saw. If you are buying planks 12" wide but only want strips 3" wide, then yes you do need a table saw.
 

CHJ

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Munty Scruntfundle":317w2wqt said:
And then, if what I'm after is as good a square and straight edge I can get, do I actually need a bench top table saw?
If you are refering to preparing wood suitable for segmented or constructed blank turnings as mentioned in other posts, then you don't 'need' a table saw.
It is just one method of producing your reasonably straight and square edged pieces but they probably will still need further work from planing etc.

I use a bandsaw, far more versatile as a turning work aid, for plank, slab & blank preparation.
Does 'always' need thicknessing and planing either by machine or by hand for primary segment work stock but I don't see enough benefit in accuracy to justify a table saw. (I've owned a basic one in the past)
 
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