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October 18, 2023 | 3 min read | By: Len Smith
Snipe is a deeper-than-desired cut into the end of a board that happens during a milling process.
This issue occurs when an uneven force is created as the board passes through a planer, jointer, or flatbed sander. This uneven force causes the cutting head (or sanding drum) to take a deeper cut into than desired by the operator. It’s most likely to occur when using a planer or a flatbed sander that requires the wood to be fed through the equipment, wherein there are rollers that both feed the stock through the unit, while also applying downward pressure to keep the wood stable and flat.
In most machines, when a board is initially fed into the planer, only an infeed roller is exerting downward pressure on the board. Similarly, when a board is exiting the planer, only the outfeed is applying pressure to the board. As the board transitions through the machine, a lack of consistent and equal pressure on the board may result in snipe. Additionally, snipe can also be caused when an exceptionally long and or heavy board is fed through a planer or flatbed sander without adequate support.
While rare, snipe can occur when using a jointer if the outfeed table is incorrectly positioned relative to the cutter head or as a result of how the operator is feeding the wood through the jointer.
Note: Use of the term flatbed sanders is intended to encompass both commercial wide belt sanding units as well as consumer-oriented drum-type sanders.
There are a number of steps you can take to help reduce or eliminate snipe.
Do you need help with a woodworking or wood-related project and don’t know where to turn? We’re here to help. Whether you’re looking for consultation and advice, want help with design options or you’re simply looking for the right selection of wood for your project, we’re more than happy to assist you. Need help when it comes to milling or other services? We can assist you with that as well.