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
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.