Ever been lead out into the woods and got left
holding the bag?
In the woodworking business, we hunt "snipe" all the time when we plane or mould wood. It isn't any fun.
Most of the time, our Logosol molder is the perfect machine for our business. Manufacturing finished wood products right here on the farm is a fantastic money maker.
When we used to take our dry lumber to a huge millwork shop up north, they used a very large and powerful 7 head Weinig Moulder to mill our wood into flooring. Even this monster machine isn't perfect, especially when using character grade wood. With any planer, you need to check the ends of each piece to be sure there is no "snipe" or thinner section - caused by the wood moving in the machine as it enters the cutters. If you don't cut out the snipe, it will show as a thinner board or narrower board in your floor. If the snipe is in the thickness of the board, you will have to sand the rest of the floor down to match the thin portion. If the snipe is on the edge, making it too narrow, you will have to fill the gap between boards. None of this is any fun.
With our small Logosol, there is less power to hold the wood as it is cut, so snipe can be a problem.
I see "snipe" from three main causes....
1. The board is not flat. The machine may not be able to hold the board flat on the table as it feeds in, until the wood is under the 3rd or 4th feed roller. This is hard to deal with and the extra waste is just a cost of business when using character wood. With "bowed" boards, I feed them into the machine with the concave side up to minimize the problem.
2. The machine is not set up properly. If the first cutter is not adjusted to the height of the table, you have another problem. It the cutting edge is low, the board will jam into the table and stall. If the cutting edge is high, it will cut the wood - then the wood is pushed down onto the table, causing a 'snipe' where the board is thinner for the first few inches. If your second guide fence is not set properly in relation to the right cutter head, the same two things happen on the groove side of the board. This is all 100% controllable and should be no real problem.