Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snipes Bills and Beads

First thing first. I will be at The Woodworking Shows event in Springfield, MA this coming Saturday with Chuck Bender of The Acanthus Workshop. He will be there advertising his school and I will be there advertising my class at his school in May. The over/under for instances I hear "I can just do that on my router" is 133. 

I gave a homework assignment regarding a bead in the center of a board. I was then asked about two beads in the center.

When executing this double beaded profile please remember that a hollow is intended to cut only the circumference of a circle. It is not intended to set into a cut. It will not work for this purpose.

Since these beads are set in I will start with a snipes bill.
I do not have the luxury of being able to use only one snipes bill plane. If I simply turned the work around and come back in the opposite direction I will be going against the grain. Snipes bills come in pairs because there are instances that you want the profile facing different directions. This is the perfect example.

I then knock off the fourth corner with a rabbet plane tipped at an angle, as seen in step #3. A snipes bill will not work for knocking off the extra corner once a quirk is established.

A #4 hollow gives the final shape.

The snipes bills create a 5/8" radius and what you see above is 2/8". Take note that the actual profile a snipes bill plane creates is often not represented in the final profile. Many times the pair of planes is used simply for creating a sharp quirk or setting two profiles next to each other. This is why only a single pair is often needed.


  1. Matt,

    Thanks for the demo. I get it now. Using the #4 hollow is the step that brings it all together for me. Time to raid the couch cushions. Thanks again.

    The lesser Matt

  2. Very instructive video Matt.
    I learned a lot about using the left hand as a fence from that. Thanks


  3. I've been wondering some time about snipes bill's planes, though I've been snipe hunting... I've yet to see such a plane in the wild. After reading this post I think I better understand but am unsure, is a snipes bill perhaps better defined as a "side hollow" plane?