A question about procedure

I just purchased a bunch of rough cherry lumber. I'm going to be making new cabinet doors and drawer fronts for my kitchen. The rails and stiles are 2" wide and 3/4" thick. The length varies from 10.5" to 49".
Most of my lumber is 8" wide or more. With an 8" wide board, I can get 3 rails/stiles per board. Some of the lumber is rather crooked, warped, bowed, etc.
My jointer is 6" wide and my planer is 12" wide. The planer does have a problem with snipe at both leading and trailing ends of the feed.
So which step in surfacing the lumber should I take? If I cut the boards to rough length then I'll have an easier time of jointing the edges and faces but I'll lose 3" or so on each cut do to snipe. Since the boards are pretty long, there's really no way I can face the entire length board and still get the final thickness to 3/4".
Is there a rule of thumb for the length of the boards that is a good compromise before I face/edge join the lumber? Obviously I don't want to make more sawdust than necessary but I don't think I can manhandle some of these boards over the jointer.
Thanks for any suggestions...
Brian
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Brian wrote:

You should ping Tom Watson, a "cabinetmaker" in the finest sense of the word ... he once had a post, a few years ago, where he described his procedure for preparing rough lumber for best utilization in his cabinet business.
Maybe you can google it ...
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Brian wrote:

First thing I'd do is fix the problem w/ the planer... :)
Second first thing I'd do is (assuming the material isn't just terribly poorly sawn to begin with) run one pass thru the planer to uncover grain/color enough to make rational decisions about layout.
Then I'd plan layout of the rails/stiles to first get good grain/color match w/ a reasonable plan for not wasting excessive amounts of material.
At that point I cut to appropriate length as you've noted to avoid losing excessive material in the straightening process--some may be only a single length, other two or even three just depending on the individual boards and convenience.
At that point surface one side and then plane to thickness. If you really can't reduce the snipe, I'd leave sufficient thickness and use the jointer/hand plane for the final work or carry the material to a shop w/ a thickness sander rather than waste 6" off every board.
Upshot is, I'd not put up w/ a planer that badly out of tune and if it can't be tuned for some reason; a new portable that can be is pretty inexpensive these days...
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wrote:

Snipe is caused by the workpiece tilting up into the cutterhead when it's held down by only one of the feed rollers. I'd almost bet the farm that the length of snipe you're experiencing is nearly identical to the distance between the cutterhead and the feed rollers.
Understanding what caused it let me solve my snipe problem by a combination of technique and setup.
For setup, I set the infeed and outfeed tables so that the outboard ends are slightly higher than the inboard ends. They are intentionally not perfectly coplanar with the planer bed. This small angle helps to keep the "free" end of the board down against the bed when it's held by only one of the feed rollers. I determined the amount of the "proper" misalignment by trial and error. Too much upward "kick" on the ends of the tables can overpower the down pressure from the feed roller and cause a small gouge an inch or two from the ends of the board.
Also, if the board is longer than 3 or 4 feet, use a roller stand to give added support to the outboard end to reduce the board flexing from it's own weight.
For technique, as the board enters and exits the planer, while it's held down against the bed by only one drive roller, I exert a small upward pressure, by hand, on the outboard end of the board. This also helps prevent the free end of the board from lifting into the cutterhead. Again, how much upward pressure to exert is a matter of trial, error, and experience.
With those two changes to setup and procedure, the snipe problem with my Jet 13" planer/molder disappeared. I can usually cut pieces to final length before planing and not lose anything to snipe.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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One other way to minimize snipe is to feed a second board before the first has gone all the way through. That way, you only get snipe on the at the beginning of the first board and at the end of the last board.
But try to adjust your planer & use outfeed tables first & see how much you can eliminate.
Luigi
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On Sat, 18 Jul 2009 13:29:53 -0700 (PDT), Luigi Zanasi

I've heard that and seen it recommended in a number of places. Only problem is, I tried it and it didn't work. The second board, unless rigidly attached to the first board does nothing to keep the trailing end of the first board from tipping up into the cutterhead after it clears the front roller. Likewise, the first board does nothing to keep the leading end of the second board from tipping.
If the snipe is somehow caused by the cutterhead moving to a different vertical position when one of the rollers isn't in contact with the workpiece, what you suggest will prevent snipe. But, if that's what's happening, the cutterhead/feed roller carrier needs a design fix. And even then, there could still be a component of snipe caused by vertical movement of the stock as it clears one of the rollers.
In my case, the cutterhead and, except for the spring loading, the feed rollers are rigidly fixed to the planer frame and the bed is raised and lowered to adjust the thickness of the stock. With that geometry, as far as snipe is concerned, one board or several parallel/sequential boards is immaterial.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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While what you say makes complete sense, my experience is that snipe is eliminated by feeding the feeding of sequential boards before the next one has gone through does eliminate snipe except in the first and last board. Why that is, I don't know, but it has worked for me.
Luigi
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On Sat, 18 Jul 2009 18:17:05 -0700 (PDT), Luigi Zanasi

Most likely because we're working with machines that have different operating modes. I think most planers in the wild are probably the benchtop type, i.e. DeWalt 734/735, that adjusts thickness by moving the cutterhead and the bed is the fixed datum. With that design, your recommendation has a great deal of merit. And I probably should have thought of that before I spouted off.
Any clearances, slop, tolerances, etc., in the operating mechanism without some provision to rigidly lock the carriage in position during a cut could allow a slight movement of the head as the board engages/disengages a feed roller. Parallel/sequential feeding would keep both rollers engaged continuously except for beginning the first and ending the last board and prevent that cutterhead movement from generating snipe.
It doesn't work for me because my planer is a stationary machine with the cutterhead rigidly and immovably locked to the planer frame at all times, so the cutterhead height above the bed isn't affected by whether or not both rollers are engaged. Thickness is controlled by moving the bed instead of the cutterhead.
One theoretical disadvantage of the fixed head design is since the bed and I/O tables move, there's no way to set up auxiliary roller stand support of longer boards and keep them perfectly aligned with the planer bed without readjusting between each pass. But, in my experience that's more a theoretical disadvantage than a real one.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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But my planer is like yours, fixed head, movable bed (Makita 2040 15"), so the mystery continues. Like I said, your argument makes perfect sense, I can visualize the board going through & sniping, so why no snipe when I feed a board before the previous one has finished going through?
Luigi
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On Sat, 18 Jul 2009 22:25:32 -0700 (PDT), Luigi Zanasi
I use a Makita 2040 no snipe and never adjusted.
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Luigi Zanasi wrote: ...

I don't have much experience at all w/ the portables other than just running a board or two thru one somewhere else; mine is the _old_ Rockwell Model 13 industrial-weight little brother to the full-size guys.
_BUT_, it helps w/ mine to butt pieces because the feed and outfeed rollers then don't "fall off" the end as the next piece is feed which makes for more consistent geometry. As well, if they're butted directly, the friction between the two keeps the ends more coplanar.
I don't know if either of these even have bed rollers, but they're the primary culprit w/ mine--set them too high and material will "rock" over them.
Other than that, the suggestions for not letting the ends droop (in or out) is key as well as ensuring the outfeed pressure bar (not roller) is adjusted correctly to the knives' cutting radius.
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Tom Veatch wrote:

It would seem to me that the cutter head flexing problem associated with benchtop planers would apply to bed flexing in planers with movable beds?
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You've got a point and the effect on snipe should be the same whether the bed deflects or the cutterhead carrier deflects.
Obviously planer snipe doesn't lend itself to simplistic solutions or the tool manufacturers would have eliminated the problem long ago. About the best the rest of us can do is find something that works for us, individually, and go with it. Every planer model, and maybe each individual machine, is different enough that what works for one might not work for the next one. The sequential/parallel feed technique obviously works for a lot of people, just not for me and mine. Concentrating on, and preventing, board tipping did work.
Maybe what we all ought to do is set our powered thickness planers out beside the road and pick up an old Stanley #8 jointer.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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On Sat, 18 Jul 2009 10:37:01 -0700, Brian wrote:

If your 6" jointer is a long bed model, 5-6 feet is about as long as I'd try. If it isn't, like mine, I'd hold it 4' or so. Just an opinion.
And I've eliminated, or at least minimized, planer snipe on my ancient AP10 by simply lifting the other end on both infeed and outfeed.
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