The most common topic I get asked questions about is tools. And while I continiously tell everyone I do not like to talk about tools as I do not want my content to be all about tools I’m going to have to give in a little and start sharing my thoughts on some of the tools I do own to hopefully alleviate some of the repetitive questions I get asked (that doesn’t mean stop sending me questions! I’ll still respond). This week I’ll give you an overview on my planer and setup and hopefully within the next week or two I’ll have something to share in regards to my table saw.
Since using my planer in my half lap bar stools project I’ve gotten a huge wave of requests to explain my planer setup. So that’s what I’ll do here. But first I’ll lightly go over the planer itself and give some of my thoughts on it.
The planer I’m using is a DeWalt DW735. I’ve had it for about two years now and have mixed feelings about it. The easiest way to be direct about the issues is to do a little thumbs up thumbs down listing.
- Strong motor. It chews through a full 13” wide slab with relative ease. You can hear the motor change pitch when it is faced with a wide slab but it’s never bogged down on me.
- Height adjustment is flawless. No complaints there.
- Has a thickness gauge to let you know where you are at. I have a piece of 5/8” melamine shelving in the bed so I have to subtract 5/8” for an accurate measurement. Not a big deal.
- Fan powered chip ejection with dust collector hookup. It also has a smaller port adapter that I suppose will fit a shopvac. I don’t have a shopvac so I can’t speak for that part. The fan motor is a beast though. You don’t need a dust collector with this setup. Just pipe the exhaust port into a filter bag. I’ll get into that later in this article.
- Benchtop model so technically it is portable. But there is a caveat with this…
- Readily available upgrades and options on the internet (blades, helix option, infeed outfeed tables).
- Snipe is controllable.
- It’s a benchtop planer but the fact that it weights 92 pounds makes it a lot less mobile. Yes, you can pick it up and move it but it’s definitely a “set it and forget it” planer in my opinion.
- It’s quite expensive for a benchtop model. At the time of writing this article you can get it for about $500 USD.
- The DeWalt brand blades have a very low lifespan. I don’t use mine that often and after two years im on my third set of blades. At $55 per set this can get expensive.
- You can’t sharpen the blades as they are installed via index pins that do not allow height adjustment. Some have said they have sharpened theirs but I’ve had no luck.
- A lot of people have had issues with the rollers not properly feeding the material. I’ve never had this problem but I have also modified the bed slightly which would reduce this.
- Right out of the box, snipe is horrible.
Should YOU Buy This Planer?
While I do have Amazon affiliate links on this page in the slim chance that someone actually purchases it through me…..I’m not going to tell you that you should or shouldn’t buy anything. That’s not my decision to make. I honestly don’t care and have nothing to gain or lose from DeWalt if you do or do not buy this planer. It’s an investment that you need to research, evaluate, and determine on your own. That being said, I would not purchase this planer if I had to do it again. The reason being is purely financial and has nothing to do with the great performance of the machine. The DW735 is a money pit in my opinion. It’s not a one time investment due to the cost of the poor quality, non sharpenable replacement blades. I understand that with every planer you will eventually have to buy new blades but these have an incredibly short lifespan that cannot be stretched due to not being able to sharpen the blades. Yes, you could upgrade to carbide blades but even then its a larger investment. Yes, you could upgrade to a helical cutterhead for the planer but even then you are nearly doubling the cost of the machine. I’ve got about $650 in it after two years. If I were to do it over again I would take one of two paths. Either buy a much cheaper benchtop planer that allows sharpening of the blades and use the extra money on another tool for the shop or save up a hundred more and get a Steel City helical cutter head benchtop planer.
My Planer Setup
On with the show. I’ve had my planer sitting on top of a junk dresser I found in the trash for about a year and a half now. I love this setup and highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for a decent planer setup and has the room. Either build or find a dresser shaped piece of furniture. This allows a perfect shaped top surface for the planer to be secured to and do it’s work. And also, because there are drawers below it’s a great way to utilize storage space in the shop.
I didn’t take any exact measurements but I believe my dresser is about 5 feet long. On the top I have two chunks of 2×4 screwed down to the top of the dresser directly on the front and back side of the planer. This prevents the planer from sliding without actually screwing or bolting it to the dresser. On the ends of the dresser I have two more chunks of 2×4 to support an auxiliary bed that I use through the planer.
To extend the bed of the planer I used a 6′ piece of melamine shelving and slid it through the planer. To secure it I have one screw through the melamine and into the chunk of 2×4 on both ends of the dresser.
As mentioned earlier, there is a 4” dust port on the back of the planer that makes dust collection a breeze even without a dust collector. I use a short piece of Harbor Freight 4” dust collection hose here. No clamps needed. Just slide it on and forget about it. I’ve never had it come off during use even when my collection bag was full.
The flexible hose goes to a 4” sewer and drain 45 degree PVC fitting. From there a short section of 4” pipe is used with the bell end on one side. A regular pillow case is then secured to the pipe with a bungee cord. This is by no means a low micron dust filtration option but I find that nearly all of the waste from a planer is larger chips and this pillow case does a fantastic job at holding it all. Even with the bag full the planer has no problem shoving more chips into the bag and slightly compressing what is in there. All the junctions in the flexible hose and PVC are all slip connections. Nothing is secured with tape or clamps.
After playing around with the planer shortly after assembling this setup I completely eliminated snipe. Then gradually snipe returned on the infeed side of the cuts. It wasn’t until I took pictures for this article that I realized why. To reduce snipe everyone recommends ramping up the infeed and outfeed sides of this planer. That only works if you have auxiliary tables. So what I did was I cut my support blocks for the melamine shelving about 1/8” higher than the bed height of the planer.
It’s hard to notice at first but here you can see the outfeed side of the melamine auxiliary bed. At the planer the melamine is slightly more than 1/16” higher than the original bed. Something must have settled because I just noticed on the infeed side the melamine bed was bottomed out on the planer bed. That means I just need to shim the 2×4 support block on the infeed side and snipe should be reduced or eliminated again. Because the auxiliary bed is essentially suspended a slightly greater force is needed by the rollers to push the material through. I’ve never had any problems with the rollers not feeding the material through as they should with this setup.
Well I hope that helps out in some way. You can do this with any planer and I’m sure it will help out with snipe. If you found this article useful I’d love for you to share it for others to find helpful as well. Helping me reach more people greatly helps me to produce more free content in the long run. Thank you, good luck, and have a great day!