Tips for a newbie (End Grain cutting boards and a planer)

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Forum topic by archwwc posted 12-02-2014 11:55 PM 1790 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 2955 days

12-02-2014 11:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: planer end grain cutting boards snipe flatten


I am making some end grain cutting boards for some Christmas gifts this year. Just bought my first planer (Ridgid 4330 -used). I bought a lot of walnut, cherry, maple, and Purple Heart.

I started making the board that The Wood Whisperer has a great video on. Same sizes and everything.

I got it all made and went to plane the end grain. I ran into some problems with some snipe on the cutting board and am looking for some help with setup.

I know that snipe is can be a prevalent problem. Many people suggest raising the infeed and outfeed tables. I usually get snipe at the beginning of the board (the first part of the board that goes through the board). Just to let you know,I am not taking off a lot of material at a time. 1/4 of a turn at a time.

Question #1: how much do you raise the infeed/out feed tables or what do you do to reduce snipe?

Question #2: People with experience making end-grain cutting boards, do you use a planer for the end grain or what other techniques do you use to flatten the board?

Any help/advice would be helpful. I have a lot of presents to make!!!

9 replies so far

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 3084 days

#1 posted 12-03-2014 12:18 AM

Hi, I have the Ridgid planer as well. It would seem to me that if you’re getting snipe at the beginning of the cut, you need to raise the indeed table only. When the infeed table is too low, the wood goes in at an angle upward toward the cutter, which causes the snipe.

As simple as it sounds, raise it until you no longer get snipe. Take one of the boards you’re going to be sanding or planing anyway and use that to test.

I’ve only made a few end grain cutting boards, but I strongly suggest you check out Lumberjock JL7s blog. It’s very helpful.

As to whether to use a planer. I’ve done it, but it’s not recommended. It can cause the board to blow out, and the glue is murder on the cutting blades. I now use a ROS.
Best to make sure each piece is dead flat and smooth. From experience I know that the teeniest little gap, or inconsistency of thickness will create a LOT of work by the time you’re done your board. The time you put in at the outset will pay off. If you find yourself thinking ‘that’s good enough’, then it’s not.

Hope that helps.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View nicole72's profile


23 posts in 3428 days

#2 posted 12-03-2014 12:33 AM

Snipe for me is a leveling issue, and I also make my board longer just in case I need to use the middle good part of no snipe if that makes sense….I have used planer for end grain successfully and with catastrophic failure…don’t stand in front or behind of the intake/out feed, in case it fractures into pieces and throws it out. I found perfecting my glue ups is the best thing and making sure I am cutting square strips to begin with…it minimizes the unevenness…I use a belt sander typically then random orbital sander. Just bought a used drum sander that will be so nice to cut down time with belt sander!! I learn best from when I mess up, which is a lot! Just keep trying! Good luck!

-- Nicole

View ChefHDAN's profile


1802 posts in 3858 days

#3 posted 12-03-2014 01:02 AM

I don’t remember who said it but one of thLJ’s has the same planer and he made a bed out of MDF that ran the entire length plus under the cutterhead to contol snipe, & I swear I just noticed it it the pat day or two in a picture…. arrgh it’ll come to me eventually, but maybe there’s a more clearheaded LJ that has the name

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 3210 days

#4 posted 12-03-2014 02:25 AM

Try this, get 2 longer narrow boards and put on each side and keep running them through with your cutting board. You just have to make sure your running stcks are the same thickness as the cutting board. heck use some cheap 2×4’s Next time you do a glue up make the middle piece 6 inches longer front and back. When your done just trim it off. You could even glue on each side some 2×4 material and trim if off when your finished.

In fact I am makig some cutting boards now so I will take a pic for later and post it if you need one.

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 4050 days

#5 posted 12-03-2014 02:56 AM

I usually sand the boards after planing, if the snipe isn’t to bad i can sand it out. I start with 80 to 100 grit and go to 320 and by the time i get to 320 it looks good and the snipe is gone. A lot of good advice on avoiding the snipe but once you get it the best you can then sanding usually cleans it up.

View archwwc's profile


17 posts in 2955 days

#6 posted 12-03-2014 03:39 AM

Thank you all for the replays and the tips. Definitely some more practice, it is my very first board and first time using a planer.

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 4050 days

#7 posted 12-03-2014 05:03 AM

If you make very very shallow passes you will really reduce the snipe, maybe 1/8 or less turn depending on planer model. 64th or less inch per pass. The other problem is tearout, if you round over the edges a bit then you can lessen the tearout. Taking the shallow passes will help having any big issues destoying your machine or board

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 3210 days

#8 posted 12-04-2014 06:54 PM

Here are a couple of pics of what I do when making panels, cutting boards… Maybe extreme for some…. The extra length is 6-7 inches on each end…..

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Neptuno's profile


32 posts in 2326 days

#9 posted 12-04-2014 07:49 PM

If the tables are not well aligned in these small thickness planners, one good trick is to cut a piece of 1/4” MDF and “Line” the whole space with it. Glue a strip of hardwood under the MDF so that it does not walks in with your work.

This has also the added benefit of allowing you to plane much thinner slats, such as for bend laminations. I do slats down to 2 mm in my Makita. To avoid tearout in these cases, a raise the board as it comes out of the planner, and raise the infeeed portion as it gets into the machine. These tricks I am not the author, as they are taught the great Michael Fortune.


-- We must all cross the line.

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