After a recent discussion about door planers on the finish-carpentry forum, a fellow door hanger, Al Constantin, and I decided we weren't qualified to judge which plane was best for working doors because neither of us had used all three of the most popular tools: the Bosch 1594, the Festool HL850E, and the Porter-Cable 9118 Porta-Plane (formerly the 126). But now we have, and here's what we learned.

Snipe — cutting a gouge at the beginning or end of a pass — is one of the banes of portable hand planers. In general, the longer the plane, the less likely it is to snipe. Also, having the handle located at the rear of the tool seems to enable smoother forward pressure while cutting, which helps eliminate the problem.

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