I've started to do a bit more veneer work and need to speed up the process a bit. Currently I resaw to a little over 1/4" and plane and r/o sand down to about 3/16". I need to be able to reliably thickness and flatten to 3/16" quickly. The pieces are about 9"X12" and anywhere from curly and medium figured to quilted and some crotches and a few burls. I've considered a wide-belt, but think I'm going to hold off on that until the next year or so. Plus, I'm not sure that a piece that small would come out so well. A friend recommended a stroke sander but I've never used one for this and have very limited experience at all with one. I initially thought I'd just buy a drum sander, but wasn't sure if there would be a sniping problem.
I'm also wondering if I use some sort of sander, if I can pass the glued up framed veneered panel through it for smoothing without worrying about sniping. I'm sure that there are machines in the price range of Ferraris that would do this, but I ain't got that kind of jingle-jingle. If I could stay under $8,000 or so, that would keep the wife conscious.
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor T:
Took some custom table leaves to a "top" millwork/cabinet shop for thickness sanding, and their 50' belt sniped front and back of stock. They knew that would be the result (I guess they had given up on tuning it). Their standard solution was to erase the snipes with their stroke sander!
To prevent snipe on those 12' portable thickness planers, the solution is to gang feed, letting the first and last be sacrificial panels of identical thickness as your product. Can also be done with narrower strips alongside your product with enough lead and tail extension to load the in/outfeed rollers and take the snipes). For thinner stock, a carriage bed to support the stock is advisable. I would guess similar approaches would work with a drum sander.
Second, since you're sawing up to 12" thick pieces, you'll need at least 1 1/2 HP to get a clean cut. You can resaw with a smaller motor, but there will be more drift. The point is, the more the saw drifts, the more sanding you'll have to do. When the resawing process is optimized, you should have not much more than 1/32" to remove.
I'm assuming that your material is figured enough that planing the veneer, even if it is attached to a backing board, is a bad idea. I have a Performax 16/32, which is a poor man's Timesaver. It doesn't snipe, takes short (8") lengths, and does a great job on short, thin material. If the feed rollers come down too far, simply affix the veneer to a backing board with double face tape of hot-melt glue. Occasionally an inexpensive machine is a better solution than a top of the line machine.
Also, the previous point about having a planed surface is on the mark. You'll need to joint the original surface. Even if there're chip outs, you can always make that the glued side. Having a true, flat bottom surface is necessary to get good sanding results.