I own the DW735 and can attest it is a fantastic planer, the best “lunchbox” style planer on the market, in my opinion.
Among the many power tools commonly found in the woodworking shop is a thickness planer. Depending on the types of projects and the types and sources of the wood you use in your shop, a thickness planer can be an indispensable power tool.
DEWALT is a name we all know in the woodworking business. It enjoys a solid reputation for manufacturing reliable power tools, both corded and cordless, and its yellow line of tools is easily recognizable both in the shop and on the job.
DEWALT was formed in 1924, and its tools are manufactured in the United States and Canada. Its first power tool was a radial arm saw, and the DEWALT power tool line has expanded to include dozens of tools. One such tool is the DEWALT planer. The DEWALT planer line includes tools of various sizes, weights, powers, and price points, although it is fair to say that DEWALT tools are at the higher end of the price spectrum.
As with any power tool manufacturer’s line of tools, there are occasional problems reported that are more than once-offs, and DEWALT is no exception.
We’ve used DEWALT tools with good success and minimal problems, but bulletin boards in the woodworking industry nonetheless report them as woodworkers share their experiences with others and look for tips on how to deal with them.
The DW735 is one such tool. The DEWALT DW735 is a thickness planer and can be found for around $600; its cousin, the DW735X, comes with infeed and outfeed tables and extra blades and runs around $780. This puts the DEWALT planers a bit pricy, to be sure, and for that kind of money, you’d want them to be problem-free. Bulletin boards, though, suggest differently. Let’s look into this and see what we can find.
What Is A Thickness Planer?
A thickness planer, also known as a planing machine or thicknesser, is a woodworking machine used to smooth and level the flat surfaces of a board to a consistent thickness. It is a powerful tool that can be used to quickly and easily prepare wood for a variety of projects.
Thickness planers typically have a large, rotating cutter head that is mounted on a bed. The wood is fed through the planer, and the cutter head removes a thin layer of wood from the surface of the board. The thickness of the wood can be controlled by adjusting the height of the cutter head.
Thickness planers are a valuable tool for any woodworker. They can be used to prepare wood for a variety of projects, including furniture, cabinets, and flooring. Thickness planers can also be used to repair damaged wood and to create custom shapes and sizes.
Here are some of the benefits of using a thickness planer:
- It can quickly and easily smooth and level the surface of a board.
- It can be used to create custom shapes and sizes.
- It can be used to repair damaged wood.
- It can be used to prepare wood for a variety of projects.
Planer cutterheads come in two primary form factors: spirical and helical. While not directly germane to the subject of this piece, we thought we would mention them and provide just a little information about them.
While both spiral cutter heads and helical cutter heads work well and remove unwanted material from the piece of wood, there are some differences to consider.
- Helical cutter heads are more expensive than spiral cutter heads., making spiral cutter heads the choice for a limited budget. In researching for this article, we found a helical cutter head for just under $2000, although that was on the extremely high side. The range for these cutter heads is between $325 – $475, with helical cutter heads being at the higher end of that range and spiral cutter heads at the lower end.
- Helical cutter heads are generally easier to clean because they have no leading edge as spiral cutter heads do. The blunt edge of the spiral cutter head allows for some removed material to build up while they are cutting, and it is important to clean them after each use to maintain their effectiveness.
- Helical cutter head blades are interlocked along the shaft, making them stronger than spiral cutter heads. There is always a cutter blade working against the piece of wood, too, as a result of the angled row of heads.
- While there is some disagreement among experienced woodworkers as to which of the two will produce a smoother cut, the difference is not so great that one stands out over the other.
The knives on the cutter heads can become misaligned, and we address this in a later section of this piece. We thought you should know about the cutter heads and the individual knives on each when you get to that section below.
Planer Dust Shrouds
Another planer part with which you should be familiar is its dust shroud. Its purpose is as you would expect from the name.
A dust shroud is a device that is attached to a woodworking machine to collect dust and wood chips. In a thickness planer, the dust shroud is typically attached to the cutter head. The dust shroud directs the dust and wood chips into a collection bag or port.
There are several benefits to using a dust shroud with a thickness planer. First, it can help to keep the work area clean. Second, it can help to protect the woodworker from inhaling harmful dust particles. Third, it can help to extend the life of the planer by preventing dust and chips from clogging the machine.
If you are using a thickness planer, it is important to use a dust shroud. It is a simple and effective way to keep your work area clean, protect your health, and extend the life of your planer.
Here are some tips for using the dust shroud with a thickness planer:
- Make sure that the dust shroud is properly attached to the planer and fits well.
- Check the dust shroud regularly for damage. A larger piece of wood might have caused a weakness in the shroud that leads to a tear that can leach material.
- Empty the collection bag or port regularly. You do that with your vacuum cleaner, so why not the dust shroud on your planer that serves the very same purpose?
- Clean the dust shroud regularly. Again, we do that regularly with our vacuum cleaner, our coffee maker, and our water filter, so why not our power tools like a thickness planer?
The DEWALT DW735 does not come with a dedicated dust collector, though. A dust collector would certainly be a desirable addition to a planer, as a lot of material is being removed rapidly as the wood is moved through the chamber.
It does have a built-in dust collector system that can be connected to a shop vac or other dust collector system, and this is certainly better than nothing. But a dedicated dust collector system would have been preferable.
We mention this because it places even more importance on keeping the collection port clean and the dust shroud cleaned on a regular basis.
What Are Some of the Reported Problems With the DW735 Planer?
The DW735 thickness planer is a great tool for many woodworkers, but it does have some potential problems. Some of the most common problems include:
- Chip ejection problems: The fan-assisted chip ejection system on the DW735 can sometimes be inadequate, especially when planing large pieces of wood. This can lead to chips clogging the chip collector and making it difficult to keep the work area clean.
- Knife alignment problems: The knives on the DW735 can sometimes become misaligned, which can lead to uneven cuts. This can be a frustrating problem, and it can be difficult to fix without specialized tools.
- Noise: The DW735 is a powerful tool, and it can be quite noisy when in use. This can be a problem for some users, especially if they are working in a small space.
Overall, the DW735 thickness planer is a great tool for many woodworkers. However, it is important to be aware of the potential problems that can occur with this tool. By taking steps to prevent these problems, you can ensure that your DW735 will provide years of reliable service.
Here are some tips for preventing problems with the DW735 thickness planer:
- Clean the chip collector regularly: The fan-assisted chip ejection system on the DW735 is designed to help keep the work area clean. However, it is important to clean the chip collector regularly to ensure that it is working properly.
- Check the knife alignment regularly: The knives on the DW735 can sometimes become misaligned, which can lead to uneven cuts. It is a good idea to check the knife alignment regularly and make adjustments as needed.
- Use ear protection: The DW735 is a powerful tool, and it can be quite noisy when in use. It is a good idea to use ear protection to protect your hearing when using this tool.
Planing Reclaimed Wood
Recycling wood is a common practice, and grabbing planks from old barns and other structures keeps a shop planer busy in prepping them for a new use. However, those old planks and boards were hand-hewn in many cases, and did not have the benefit of a planer when the barns were built.
This can mean a vastly uneven board surface with high points along the span. While you may set your planer to remove 1/16 ” at a time, hitting one of those high points along the span can mean much more, and that can tax the planer and put a strain on the knives of the cutter head.
This is why we mentioned knife alignment in the previous section and suggest you check it regularly. Planing reclaimed wood with your DEWALT DW735 can lead to an issue that is easily avoided simply by setting the planer bed lower to remove less with each pass per piece of wood under the planer blades.
Planing In The Cold
If your shop is cold and you are planing in the winter, more than your fingers will be affected. The rubber feed rollers on your DW735 and other planers will be adversely affected by the cold and will harden.
This will interfere with a good grip on the pieces of wood as they are pulled through the planer. Rubber feed rollers need 50 degrees or better to work effectively. Uncovered fingers do, too, as a matter of fact, so give your fingers and your rubber feed rollers a little warmth.
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- Two speed gear box allows users to change feed speed to optimizing cuts per inch at 96 or 179 CPI
A DEWALT DW735 Video in Action With Tips
Although the planer in this video is the DW735X model, the tips are valid for both the DW735 model and all planers. The features of the DW735X are identical to the DW735; the X version comes with extra blades and input tables, and outfeed tables, as we mentioned earlier. The tips in the video alone make watching it worthwhile.
The DEWALT DW735 is heavy for any power tool, let alone a benchtop planer. You’re not likely to lug it around from place to place, so having a permanent position for it, whether on a dedicated workbench for that purpose or on a bench with wheels, is a good idea.
Not all of the problems reported about this planer are fatal, and many of them can be DIY-addressed. Some, as you’ve noted, can be avoided with some good maintenance and care practices, too. Just use your head with the DEWALT DW735 planer and with every power tool, and you’ll reduce the chances of problems with them.
Last update on 2023-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API