How to use a bench-top planer the correct way and avoid common problems like tear out, snipe and ridges. Reclaim old wood, clean up inexpensive rough- sawn boards, and create custom thickness for woodworking projects.
Nothing beats owning a planer when you need to smooth boards and mill them to an exact thickness. Planers used to be found only in cabinet and mill work shops. Now you can buy a bench top planer for several hundred dollars at home centers and tool retailers.
If you do any remoudeling, deck building or woodworking, you’ll never regret the investment.
Feed the board into the planer so the cutter head cuts with the grain.
Tear out happens when you feed the board into the planer with the wrong end forward.The knives catch into the raised fibers and tear rather than cut.
Remove saw marks from ripped 2 x 2 with a planer. Gang feeding speeds the work and reduces “snipe” on the end of the board.
Rip the 2 x 2 to about 1 5/8″ which allows you to remove saw marks and still have 1 1/2″ thickness.
Dig out all remnants of nails, screws and staples before planing old lumber. One encounter with a nail is all it takes to put a good nick in a set of knives.
The best way to minimize snipe, is to simply leave about 5″ extra on each end of the board to be cut off after. Another trick is to feed in a sacrificial board first. Then feed the next board in against the end of the first board and continue feeding boards end to end. Finally feed in another sacrificial board. The planer will treat it as one long board, and only snipe the first and the last board.
Stack boards side – by – side to plane off saw marks. Look at the face of the board and orient each board to avoid tear out.
Sand out ridges left by a nicked planer knife. with 120 grit sandpaper. This can be done by hand or with a belt sander.