Lately, we’ve been working on quite a few custom woodworking projects including pieces such as desks, credenzas, dining tables, even a couple of custom mahogany gates. Each of these pieces requires the use of various hardwoods. In the past, we’ve had our lumber milled and planed at the lumber yard, mostly because our small benchtop planer in the shop wasn’t quite up to handling a large amount of hardwood. However, as we’ve picked up more custom work, it became clear that having a decent planer would help save time and money, so it was time to upgrade. We decided that the DeWalt DW735 13-inch, 2-speed planer would fill the gap between our smaller underpowered planer and a large industrial planer.
Upon first receiving the DeWalt DW735 Planer we noticed that not only was the box pretty large, it was also heavy. But that was to be expected. Most benchtop planers have some heft to them, however, the DW735 weighs in at 92 pounds. That realization prompted us to quickly build a rolling base for the planer to stand on.
The overwhelming feeling when opening the box was that the DeWalt DW735 is already a large step up from our previous planer based on build quality alone. The machine sits on a cast aluminum base, and although the casing is molded plastic, it’s solid. Overall, the DeWalt DW735 seems to jump across the line into the professional realm from a small-scale standpoint
Dual Speed DeWalt Planer
One of the unique features the DeWalt DW735 Planer has is two feed speeds – one meant for quick thickness planing and the other for detailed finishing. Speed 1 slows the automatic feed, allowing the blades to cut the workpiece 179 times per inch which leaves a nice smooth finish. Speed 2 increases the automatic feed speed, lowering the number of cuts per inch to only 96, but makes dimensioning lumber quicker.
Upon first setting up the planer, we questioned whether we would need to use the finishing speed very often. However, we found ourselves using it quite a bit more than we initially anticipated. If nothing else, we use it on the last pass of each board we run through the planer because the smooth finish allows for a lot less sanding time.
It’s worth nothing that you have to have the unit on when you’re changing speed in order for it to effectively change gears.
DeWalt DW735 Dust collection
One thing that DeWalt has done with the DW735 is add a built in blower for clearing wood shavings from the blades. It has a surprising amount air flow, and if used without some type of dust collector, it will shoot wood shavings everywhere. It does a wonderful job at keeping dust and shavings from building up on the blades, thus lengthening their life. We were able to hook our shop dust collection up to the planer (a 4-inch connection is recommended) and it’s been working great.
Seeting the Planing Depth
Occasionally we’ll have the need to plane several boards to the same thickness. In most cases, the rough cut lumber we receive from the lumber yard varies in size. This is where the depth setting dial comes in really handy. The depth setting dial has several incremental depth stops at standard measurements from 1/8th of an inch to 1-1/4 inches. This feature was a major help when we needed to plane several reclaimed oak boards for a desktop down to 1-1/4 thick.
Changing the Blade
The DeWalt DW735 comes with a handy Allen wrench that you use for loosening the screws for the plastic cover of the cutter head and the blades themselves. The reason we highlight blade changing on this model as a favorite feature is that it’s quite easy, especially considering the ample room inside the cutter head once the cover is removed. Also, we thought it was kind of cool that the Allen wrench includes a couple of magnets on the handle for easy removal of the blades.
Performance Testing the DeWalt DW735
The DeWalt DW735 13-inch thickness planer is fairly easy to use and is pretty well self-explanatory for anyone that uses a planer. The real tests for this machine are the power and accuracy. Power is one of our main concerns with a new planer considering the number of times we trip the breaker on our old model either from overloading the motor or thermal shutdown.
We ran several different species of hardwoods through including ash, reclaimed oak, and mahogany. The planer worked remarkably well and at 15 amps, it had plenty of power to pull through and plane each hardwood without any hesitation. We planed nearly 70ft of 2-inch mahogany to 1-1/2 inch without overloading the system at all.
Accuracy is probably the most important aspect of thickness planing. After all, if the board doesn’t end up flat, what’s the point of using a planer at all?
The DW735 comes honed-in out of the box. It’s very easy to make small depth changes because of the oversize hand wheel. Each full revolution of the wheel changes the depth of the cut by 1/16th of an inch, which enables the user to easily make depth changes to even a 1/64th of an inch with a quarter turn.
Because the cutter head sits on four threaded posts – which reduces movement of the cutter head – there is very little snipe with this model. With the three-blade cutter head spinning at 10,000 RPM, the cut comes out very smooth even at the faster dimensioning speed. At the lower finishing speed, the material has a finish that is almost smooth enough to skip sanding.
Pricing and Conclusion
The DeWalt DW735 13-inch thickness planer is a real workhorse. With any planer, one hopes for a powerful, accurate machine. This machine delivers on both accounts. At 92lbs, we’re not sure we would lug it around to a project site, but it’s a welcome addition in the shop.
After running 3 projects worth of lumber through this planer, we’re impressed. The DeWalt DW735 is a perfect upgrade from the lower powered benchtop planer, and very effectively bridges the gap to professional shop machinery. We’re not quite ready to open a mill workshop, but this planer does everything that we’ve asked of it and has performed admirably.
As with many upgrades, this one doesn’t come cheap. You’ll be shelling out $629 to make this one happen. Once you do, be warned – you won’t go back to a lesser model again.
DeWalt DW735 13-inch Thickness Planer Key Features
- Powerful 15 Amp, 20,000 RPM motor handles larger cuts in wider materials with ease
- Three-knife cutter head with 10,000 rpm cutter-head speed delivers 30% longer knife life and makes knife change faster and easier
- Two-speed gear box allows users to change feed speed to optimizing cuts per inch at 96 or 179 CPI
- Fan-assisted chip ejection vacuums chip off of the cutter head and exhausts them out of the machine
- 19-3/4″ cast aluminum base is 2X more rigid than a standard 10″ base and folding tables
- Automatic carriage lock reduces the movement that causes snipe without the need for manual engagement by the user
- Material removal gauge and extra large, thickness scale delivers accurate cuts with every pass
- Extra large, turret depth stop allows user to return to most frequently used thicknesses with ease
DeWalt DW735 Planer Specifications
- Mode: DeWalt DW735
- Amps: 15.0 Amp
- No Load Speed: 20,000 RPM (Motor)/ 10,000 (Cutterhead) RPM
- Cuts Per Minute: 30,000
- Drive Motor System: Belt drive
- Max Depth of Cut: 1/8″
- Depth Capacity: 6″
- Width Capacity: 13″
- Blade Count: 3
- Blade Type: Planer Knife
- Weight: 92 lbs
- Planer Type: Bench stationary
- Cutter Head Type: Straight Knives
- CSA Certified: Yes
- Cord Length: 13.0′
- Includes: Dust hose adapter
- Warranty: 3 years limited
- Price: $629