Thickness planer snipe

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snipped-for-privacy@spam.heaven said:

Aside from really pushing the envelope of what this unit was designed to handle, it is of questionable heritage. I would be shopping for a replacement while the holiday sales are ongoing.
That said, however, you could take a shot at tuning it up. Make sure there is no play in the cutterhead bearings or the feed rollers - repair or "fix" what is necessary. Use a flat surface inserted into the planer bed (power removed), adjust the thickness adjustment until there is a small clearance, and use feeler gauges to check the clearances of the various rollers and blades - they must all be parallel to the flat surface. Clean the rollers, or replace if they are chewed up. Their diameter and resiliency are somewhat critical.
If the blades do not self-register when installing, try installing them a little less proud. In other words, set them closer to the centerline of the cutterhead. that should allow the feed rollers to get a little more bite. The rollers not only provide feed assistance, they hold the board against the bed securely.
Snipe generally occurs when a board is not held down against the planer bed by both rollers - which is when first entering or exiting the cutting/holddown/feedroller assembly. Make certain that boards fed into the unit remain above the plane of the planer bed - they must not droop AT ALL or it will snipe. Heavier and longer boards are increasingly susceptible to this. I usually lift the ends of entering and exiting boards with one finger to eliminate the snipe originating from this design "feature". If you use roller stands, they must be very carefully adjusted, under load, to be at or slightly above the planer bed. Everything must also be absolutely level; in other words, both the planer bed and the roller stands must be parallel, not slightly lower on one side or the other.

Probably means thickness, not width - what would be the point of it being a 12" planer. :-o
Good Luck,
Greg G.
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I wish I could, but I think I'm close to the limit of the connubial friendship, if you know what I mean.

Great advice, thanks. I'll look at all of this. Now that I have a jointer to really flatten my boards, the thicknesser is going to have a much easier life. The rollers don't look too chewed up, and seem still plyable.

Thanks Greg Sorry for the confusion, the jointer is a new 8" which will take much of my previous work away from my old thicknesser. The instruction manual on it says: "6. DO NOT perform planing operations on material shorter than 8", narrower than 3/4", wider than 4" , or thinner than 1/2".
Notwithstanding that I don't know what the difference between thinness and narrowness is, I assume this is a typo.
The jointing proscription does not include a width maximum, so I will just pretend that I am really jointing anything over 4" wide :)
jack
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On Mon, 24 Dec 2007 12:58:17 +0900, snipped-for-privacy@spam.heaven wrote:

12.5" planer and widest is 4"? Doesn't make sense. If the manual is an Chinese to English translation, maybe they mean 4" thick instead of 4" wide. IMO that would make more sense.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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On Sun, 23 Dec 2007 23:02:33 -0600, Tom Veatch wrote:

Sorry Tom, I've confused everyone. The thicknesser can take 6" thick like all the Chinese 12" clones.
I've started to talk about my new 8" jointer. See my reply to greg.
jack
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jack wrote ...

IMO, snipe is inherent in a unit that isn't adjustable. On my old Craftsman planer, the bed is adjustable for parallel to the cutterhead, and the bed rollers are adjustable for height and parallel. The table gibs are adjustable. The feed rollers, presure plate, and chipbreaker are also adjustable, so the unit can be fine tuned to eliminate snipe. But it really does have to be carefully tweaked to achieve a snipe-free cut. I'm just saying having all those fine adjustments on a sturdy cast iron machine is the key here.
With your unit, the cutterhead and feed roller bearings may be worn. Also, the rubber surface on the rollers could be worn. If you're force feeding the unit, you're also losing any fine tweaking that could be applied, such as lifting the ends of the board. Also, the table might be worn so it has a crown under the cutterhead. And there may be slop on the cutterhead carriage or on the table support. Any little bit of slop will give the cutterhead that slight mechanical advantage it needs to pull up the workpiece and snipe it.
If you really are intent on salvaging the machine, I'd recommend making a flat table for it, and replacing any roller and sleeve bearings on the cutterhead and feed rollers.
Also check to see that there is no play in the carriage supports.
Also check and see what the height difference is, from the table, between the feed rollers and the cutters. Having the cutters sharpened will take a little off and may compensate for worn feed rollers.
HTH
-- Timothy Juvenal www.tjwoodworking.com
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On Mon, 24 Dec 2007 05:12:35 GMT, "TJ"

planer, the bed is adjustable for parallel to the cutterhead, and the bed rollers are adjustable for height and parallel. The table gibs are adjustable. The feed rollers, presure plate, and chipbreaker are also adjustable, so the unit can be fine tuned to eliminate snipe. But it really does have to be carefully tweaked to achieve a snipe-free cut. I'm just saying having all those fine adjustments on a sturdy cast iron machine is the key here.
You wouldn't like to ship it over to me in Oz, so I can have a look at it, Tim? I promise I will send is back collect as soon as I'm satisfied :)

rubber surface on the rollers could be worn. If you're force feeding the unit, you're also losing any fine tweaking that could be applied, such as lifting the ends of the board. Also, the table might be worn so it has a crown under the cutterhead. And there may be slop on the cutterhead carriage or on the table support. Any little bit of slop will give the cutterhead that slight mechanical advantage it needs to pull up the workpiece and snipe it.
Seems to be pretty tight, actually. It has had little use, but really strenuous use. I suspect that my snipe was caused by insufficient outfeed support using heavy boards. I will try it with the melamine table inserted and much lighter, shorter boards. The silly pressed sheet steel "in" and "out" feed trays are for the scrap bin. A 3'2" melamine board will be the ticket, I hope.

table for it, and replacing any roller and sleeve bearings on the cutterhead and feed rollers.
I take it this is my melamine insert? I'll try this before I look at anything else, as I said, it all seems tight with no discernable slop in anything.

Are these the two threaded rods that raise or lower the cutter head/motor assembly? I just tried to move the motor assembly wrt the frame and it appeared as solid as a rock

feed rollers and the cutters. Having the cutters sharpened will take a little off and may compensate for worn feed rollers.
The rollers don't appear worn much. I think I was just taking too much off too wide, too long, too heavy and too hard boards. I will modify my demands and present the thing with flattened top and bottom faces, and take more, lighter cuts. I hope it works, coz her indoors thinks I've had all my birthday/christmas presents for the next ten years :)
jack
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snipped-for-privacy@spam.heaven said:

For what it's worth, you really gain nothing by jointing both sides of the board, yet you can lose material in the process - not to mention the time and blades invested - unless the board is really gnarled.
I believe tradition holds that the better/flatter side is first jointed, along with one edge. THEN the planer is used to bring the opposite face parallel and to the desired dimension. Generally the table saw is then used to bring the other edge into line. Unfortunately, the process involved in planing the board to an even thickness can be repetitive if the wood varies in thickness substantially. Patience is the key, as you remove just a bit with each pass until the board is at the desired thickness. Sometimes the first few cuts on a really bad board will result in losing contact with the feed rollers in places, and will require assistance moving the material. Hogging a bunch off in one pass stresses the planer, dulls the blades, and often causes severe tearout. For this reason, your final pass on both the jointed side and the planed side should be a light cut (< ~1/64") to remove the undulations from the previous heavier cuts. Whatever works for you however.
FWIW,
Greg G.
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Yes, I understand that, Greg, but in this particular instance, to favour my poor little thicknesser, a bit of help from my burly big jointer will make things last longer. I have a set of 3 carbide blades to put in this when I get sick of sharpening the HSS blades. I would even contemplate hogging some high spots off a rough sawn board with a tailed hand planer, a non-tailed jointer, or even a belt sander with some nice 38 grit belts I have handy :)

Great advice, thanks, Greg. All the best to you and all the other woodies for the festive season and the new year. jack
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snipped-for-privacy@spam.heaven said:

Sorry if I repeated the obvious, Jack. Haven't seen your nym before, so have no idea what your experience - there are widely varying levels of experience represented in this group. As well, many lurk and might pick up a pointer. I'll shut up now. ;-)
Hope you finish your project in time, and have a pleasant holiday.
Greg G.
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I lurk and pick up pointers all the time.
I find this list best when folks seriously attempt to 1. understand the writer's question / situation and, 2. Attempt to offer sage constructive advice - even though its been said (and archived) many times before.
I have a rigid Planer from HD that was on sale for $200. I've had it on home made stands and the floor and want to "bury" it into an eight foot long "table" such that the table surface is on the same plane as the in/out feed decks.
The melamine or formica idea sounds good - but it made me think of that UHMF (?) plastic stuff they sell for maing slippery jigs and of the "boat lumber" you can buy in 3/4" thickness that is really slippery and tough as nails - not to mention "pricey."
I've not experienced too much snipe, but I never plane a board cut to anything near the finished size and always take it down a "hair" at a time.
I flip it from one side and end to the other (four passes per board per cut) to try and keep it as flat as I can as I take it down to the required thickness. As I often do multiples, this can get a bit confusing with six or eight boards being "processed" at a session. Lots of shavings (anyone have any success making mulch out of shavings/ sawdust?).
I have my eye on the Dewalt two-speed/three-blade model and wait for a factory rebuilt or sale. Anyone use that model? Good, Great? Worth the four hundred plus?
I would think that the rollers may have "dried" and gotten, thus, a bit harder and smaller than when new. Wonder if soaking them in something would help restore their size and grip?
Re-enforcing the in/out feed tables sounds like a plan - but steel sounds better than wood or composites and might allow for the addition of an adjustment mechanism of some sort. Tractor Supply has lots of sheet steel and tube/angle/flat stock. If you can sacrifice 1/4" of material capacity, a sheet of 1/4" steel laid through the opening and supported on in/out feed sides with some heavy 1.5" angle should allow you to create a solid bearing surface as flat and unbending as you could hope for. Mounting it to the planer and the whole thing to a strong "table" should take care of everything sabe the (possibly) shifting cutterhead.
Is the cutter head accessible? Can you see bearings and races? If so, might you try replacing those? Are there bearings and races on each of the rollers? Might they be worn and sloppy as well?
Don't re-design the tool, repair it and improve on it. Removing the rollers is not a sane and safe option (as has been said repeatedly).
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Hoosierpopi wrote:

UHMW ("Ultra High Molecular Weight") or HDPE ("High Density PolyEthylene"). You can get it 12" wide adhesive backed for not a whole lot of money from McMaster.

If you're talking teak it's not really all that slippery--the reason it's used for decks is that it's got decent traction. UHMW or Teflon would be your best bets.

--
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--John
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jack wrote...

Ah - I've heard of that place - that's that little desert island in the South Pacific, right?

Sounds like you're on the right track with the sturdier table idea. Might help to use a couple of roller stands, also, too help support the weight.
-- Timothy Juvenal www.tjwoodworking.com
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Don't remove the feed rollers ! It's dangerous to try to use your planer without them. Instead, clean them. I usually use paint thinner on them and then follow it up with 409 or a similar detergent type cleaner. After a good scrubbing they should work like new again.
Using a piece of melamine for a feeder bed will help with feeding and it will reduce snipe some, but I have had the best success by inserting a piece of scrap wood of the same thickness immediately following the good piece of wood. Butt the ends together and don't leave any gaps. If you do this right the planer will think it's running a longer board and the snipe will occur on the scrap piece. All planers produce snipe. The better quality planers produce less. My newest planer, a DeWalt 735, was supposed to be snipe free according to the salesman. It's much better about snipe than my older planer, but it still snipes, however, it's so little (a few thousandths) that it can usually be sanded out very easily, so I still follow up my good boards with a piece of scrap if I really don't want any snipe in my boards.
Charley
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"Charley" wrote

Good advice, especially when preparing/planing expensive material when you can't afford to lose any of that precious figured stock to snipe. Having to sand out even the smallest bit of snipe can really throw off future joinery operations, and play havoc with the fit of things like M&T joinery down the road.
As others have noted, and in normal operation, I usually set the very ends of both infeed and outfeed tables on my jointer a bit higher than level (tapering both tables slightly downward to be flush with the planer bed), and even doing that it is often necessary to lift the ends of the stock slightly on entrance and exit.
To illustrate, and when I really can't afford to have any snipe whatsoever, I build a quick n' dirty planer jig similar to the one on my Jigs & Fixtures page, and feed the whole enchilada through the planer, with both leading and trailing sacrificial stock of an appropriate thickness that will take the snipe if I screw up the feed angle:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/Jigs.htm - (scroll down to "planer jig").
The one pictured was built for a very specific purpose (taking a slight, after-the-fact ,warp out of some already assembled inset door frames), but the idea is obviously adaptable for many situations where _no_ snipe is of paramount important.
--
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Last update: 12/14/07
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If you do try this, PLEASE be sure to get video of it and post somewhere for all to see.
Or have your next-of-kin do it.
Mike
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