Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index

Planing Short Boards

I can never bring myself to throw away the short pieces left over from a project. They’re ideal for small projects, but they often have to be planed to thickness before I can use them.

The problem is running a board that is less than 12" long through a planer is definitely not recommended. It can get caught between the infeed and outfeed rollers, causing it to lift off the planer bed. At best, this causes severe snipe
(a deeper cut near the end of a board.) At worst, the board can get chewed up, damaging the cutterhead in the process.

To prevent this, I glue long, narrow scrap pieces to both edges of the short board, see drawing at right. These scrap pieces span across both feed rollers, so the board stays flat on the bed of the planer (Planer Cutterhead Detail).

The result is a planed surface that’s mirror smooth. If there’s any snipe, it ends up on the scrap pieces, not the board. Once the board is planed to the desired thickness, just cut off the narrow scrap pieces.

Planer Cutterhead Detail

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