Dewalt 734 review

Well, I got around to replacing the dead bench planer last night. Wandered down to the local tool shop and wanted to look at the dewalt 734 and 735 side by side. From what I could tell, the only real difference is that the 735 has a blower for the dust port, and 2 speeds. I already have a honking big dust collector, so the fan doesn't amke much difference to me. the 2 speeds might, but I know myself well enough toknow that I'd hardly ever use anything but "fast" - everything ends up needing sanding anyway.... So I got there, and all they had was the 734. It costs a hundred bucks less than the 735, and I could carry it home, so thats what I got (love when the decisions are that easy). Got it home, and it was pretty much ready to go out of the box. The screws to attach the dust hood were missing. Other than that, all the assembly it needed was to attatch the height handle. Dewalt customer support was closed, but a phone call at 8 this morning says that they will mail them to me....
Once it was plugged in, it was time to test it out. The DC hood managed to (more or less) hang on for most of the test. I started out by running some rough pine through. Not too surprising, but the results were good. The cutterhead lock is a little awkward, so I only used it for the finishing passes. Without it, there was entry and exit snipe, but not too bad. With the cutterhead lock engaged, I got no snipe. The first thing I noticed is that its a lot quieter than my old Delta 12" planer. Don't know if its the 3 cutterheads (as opposed to the 2 on the old Delta), but even with sharp blades, the delta always sounded like it was beating the wood to death. The Dewalts is still loud, but nowhere near as bad....
Not too surprising to find that the pine came out good. I found that the turret stop was a bit off on the 3/4" setting, but the 1/2" and 1/4" were dead on, as was the thickness gauge. I found that the turret stop had a bit of play in it, and I don't think it will provide really good repeatability, but should come within a 64th or so, so is probably good enough. Its also a major PITA to have to crank the height up to over 1 3/4 (or maybe it was 2") to set or change the turret stop, so I don't think I'll be using it much. Probably has some marketing value, but I'll probably just stick with my calipers.......
The depth of cut gauge pretty much falls into the same boat as the turret stop. Good marketing gimick, but not too usefull for me. I'l probably end up taking it off because it makes a spot in the feed side where its fairly hard to push stock in (as the stock goess in, it has to push up the depth gauge). If it was off to one side, it wouldn't be too big a deal, but its almost dead center, so it gets in the way a lot.
Next I threw a hunk of white oak at it. Pretty much the same results. Good finish, no real snipe, and still fairly quiet.
The depth control is pretty good - 1/4 or 1/2 turn is what I used, and it did a good job of getting through the saw marks and leaving a good finish (2 or three passes).
The dust colector port (hooked up to a 3HP Oneida system) sucked out every last bit of dust, chips and shavings. I couldn't find anything that escaped.
About the only thing I would really change on it would be to add some sort of feet or leveling capability. It wobbled a bit on the table (I don't know if the table is warped or if there is a defect in the base of the unit). Because it will be permanently mounted to my planer station, I'll fix it with shims.....
Overall, I'm satisfied so far. I have a couple of runs of oak and cherry coming up, so we'll see how it handles a real job.....
--JD
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I purchased the 734 before Christmas last year when Woodcraft had them for $299. I've ran several hundred feet of red oak and some white oak beside some borg pine and have been very satisfied with it. Don't have a dust collector yet so have it sitting on a bottom cabinet roll around tool box. Open the shop door and let er fly.
--
Mike S.
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wrote:

(snip)
I've just gotten the same planer. Do you have pics or plans for the station? Slip
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not really. The "station" is a space that I left between the base cabinets alongo ne side ofthe shop. Three are cleats screwed to the sides of the cabinets, and a huhnk of old countertop sits on the cleats. The planer is screwed to the counter top. Its set up so that teh in/outfeed tables are flush with the resot of the counter, so the stock is suported both going in and coming out of hteplaner (12' on either side)
--JD

Wandered
the
honking
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wrote:

Thanks
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