Fast-setting glue and sacrificial guides keep your workpiece smooth and snipe-free
When planing a wide piece of wood in a portable thickness planer, it is inevitable that the blades will cut a little deeper as the board goes in and comes out of the machine. Predictably, Matt Jackson has a couple of tricks up his sleeve—even when he is wearing a t-shirt.
One way to reduce or eliminate snipe is to add a couple of rails longer than the workpiece to each side. The longer rails will be sacrificial snipe stock, saving the workpiece from extra deep gouges.
When the workpiece is too wide for that, Matt has another solution: Fast-setting two-part cyanoacrylate glue and four sticks.
- Spray the activator onto the end grain of the sticks and the workpiece
- Apply the glue to the end grain of the sticks
- Push the pieces together so that the bottoms of the guides are flush with the bottom of the workpiece
- Flip the workpiece over and spray activator to the underside of the joint and scrape off any excess glue that has leaked out
- Scribble pencil lines all over the surface to be planed to indicate progress
- Run the blank and guide bars through the planer is successive small passes until the top surface is completely smooth and the pencil; lines are gone.
- Flip the workpiece over and take one more whisker off the back side.
If one of the guide bars breaks off during the process, re-glue it onto the workpiece and get back to work. After the workpiece is smooth, snap off the guide bars, and you're ready to roll. In this video, Matt is making this workpiece into a disc, so he goes about cutting the circle—first locating the center of the workpiece, then drawing the ring with a trammel compass, and finally cutting on a band saw.
—Matt Jackson is a master carpenter, remodeler, SketchUp Wiz, YouTuber, and contributing editor to ProTradeCraft. He lives and works in Rapid City, South Dakota.