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DeWalt DW734 12 inch thickness planer

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Review by Purrmaster posted 306 days ago 4686 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
DeWalt DW734 12 inch thickness planer No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve had this planer for about 2 years now and have run lots of wood through it. From easy stuff like aspen to nastier stuff like ipe and purpleheart. My overall experience with the tool has been excellent. I don’t know how I got along before I got a planer.

The DW734 is the lower end of DeWalt’s “lunchbox” planers. The fancier one being the DW735.

This planer has three knives, of the disposable variety. They are “double sided”. When the knives get dull you can flip the knives for a new edge. Once both sides of the knives wear out you have to get a new pair. A new set of knives is about $40-50. They last a pretty long time but I am on my third set of knives already.

The planer is easy to use. Just set the thickness and run your boards through. The extension tables are sufficiently long for a planer of this size. The few settings the planer does have are easily fiddled with. The dust collection hood that comes with the planer works well and has adapters for other hose sizes. Mine is hooked up to a Shop Vac. You need to have some kind of dust collection on it. If not it will spew gobs of shavings out the front and back and be very messy.

It gives the wood a nice, smooth finish and the thickness is accurate. It’s heavy enough that it doesn’t jump around or vibrate excessively. You will get snipe with it unless your board is well supported at both the infeed and outfeed of the machine. That being said, even without that good support the snipe will only be on the last inch or so of the board and can sometimes be sanded out.

It does a good job of powering through wood. It can bog down if you’re trying to take too much good off a large board, especially with very hard wood. If you take too big a chunk at a time you will probably get some tearout. On the harder woods even if you take light passes you’re likely to get some minor tearout, especially if the knives aren’t new.

When you fold up the extension tables it takes up surprisingly little space.

As I said, I’ve been very satisfied with this machine and would get it again.

Now the downsides/gripes:

It’s loud. I mean really loud. It sounds like a freight train going by. It’s not going to burst your eardrums but it will assault your senses. It’s easily the loudest tool in my shop. If you had to run it for more than 10 minutes at a time you might want to consider ear plugs.

Changing the knives is a bit of a pain. You have to remove the dust collection hood and then take part of the back off. Each knife has several screws that hold it down. The biggest issue I had was getting everything back together again. It always takes more than a little trial and error to jam everything back into place. Screwing the dust collection hood back on is annoying, as it’s hard to access the screw holes. Thankfully you don’t need to change knives very often.

It doesn’t have enough preset settings for thickness. I would have liked a 5/8” setting and possibly a 7/8” setting. You can custom set one of them yourself.

The last gripe is that if you have the dust collection hood installed (which you should) you can’t fold up the rear table. If you move it around a lot this could be annoying. If you can plunk it down in one location you’ll be fine.




View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

774 posts in 691 days



12 comments so far

View TheOldTimer's profile

TheOldTimer

221 posts in 1684 days


#1 posted 306 days ago

Very nice revue, thank you very much. I may replace my old Delta with this planer in the near future. They often go on sale at times. My older Delta is a pain when it comes to changing knives also. I would like to have a 735 but they are pretty expensive compared to the 734.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

View bygrace's profile

bygrace

122 posts in 567 days


#2 posted 306 days ago

I have also had this planer for a few years. I also had to switch the blades but don’t remember it being that much of a pain. Other than that I agree with you, especially about the noise. It has served me well also.

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2704 posts in 1175 days


#3 posted 306 days ago

Great review.
I have the same planer and love it.

Regarding noise, I always wear hearing protection (anyone using screaming power tools should) so that’s not a con for me. My router table is loud too.

I didn’t hook up the dc chute. I just put a garbage can behind the planer stand and sweep up whatever the can doesn’t catch.

I haven’t changed knives yet, but byrd makes a shelix head for the 744; depending on how long I get from the knives I might make the switch next year.

@TheOldTimer: After using this planer for a while, I can’t imagine the 735 being $200+ better than the 734. I worried the same thing but the 734 is a workhorse.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10557 posts in 1288 days


#4 posted 306 days ago

Very good review. You covered the important stuff AND you have used it enough to know its worth.

I have my “disposable” planer blades resharpened and they cut and last better than new. It costs me $30 to have both sides of 3 blades sharpened. (Best Grinding in Tulsa, Ok.)

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View REL's profile

REL

45 posts in 2255 days


#5 posted 306 days ago

I have the same planer and still have the original box. I used it only a few times. Works great. I have a room problem and purchsed a Hammer combo jointer/planer. I’ve been too lazy to put the DeWalt 734 up for sale. If there is someone around Metro NYC interested send me a note. I will let it go for about $250.00.

-- REL, North Jersey

View emart's profile

emart

234 posts in 1226 days


#6 posted 305 days ago

I also have this planer and it is very useful. When I was looking for a thickness planer this one was the only one on amazon that didn’t have a some sort of major flaw like its competitors in the same price range. as for the noise every thickness planer I have used has made a noise that can wake the dead and peel the bark off a dog so I just use ear plugs and hope the neighbors wont be forming an angry mob. I have never had any issues with changing the knives i found them very easy to set especially compared to my jointer. As of right now I am on my second set of knives after owning the machine for 2 years. The only time it gave me any trouble was when i was planing 10” wide black locust slabs but that’s a tall order for anything that isn’t industrial.

@gfadvm I had no idea the disposable blades could be resharpened I will have to look into that and see if my local blade sharpened can do something with my old set of knives

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them https://www.custommade.com/by/emeraldcrafts/

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

774 posts in 691 days


#7 posted 305 days ago

I’ve run 12 inches of stuff like purpleheart through it and it does bog down and cause some tearout. But like emart said, that’s to be expected in a lunchbox planer.

I haven’t had to try and have the knives resharpened. The sharpening services I have used don’t get blades as sharp as I would with sandpaper and glass.

You are correct that changing the blades on the planer is about 5,000 times easier than my jointer. I probably should have mentioned that in the thing’s defense.

View TheOldTimer's profile

TheOldTimer

221 posts in 1684 days


#8 posted 304 days ago

Foot No: I do not know of a portable planer that is quiet. They are all loud but I understand that if you install the shelix blades they cut down on the noise. I sharpen my blades also, after three sharpenings I replace them.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

774 posts in 691 days


#9 posted 304 days ago

TheOldTimer,

Do you use some kind of jig when sharpening the planer knives?

View Luke's profile

Luke

235 posts in 1285 days


#10 posted 301 days ago

I also have this planer, I have to say I “settled” for this when I couldn’t afford the 735. First time I used it any remorse for not getting the larger planer went away, this one works like a champ. Probably why its been around for so long with no revisions.

View TwoThumbBruce's profile

TwoThumbBruce

13 posts in 1614 days


#11 posted 175 days ago

Does anyone know if there is a minimum length that can be safely planed? I’m making a project with 12” scraps of oak and worry about kickback.

-- Bruce, Virginia

View emart's profile

emart

234 posts in 1226 days


#12 posted 175 days ago

12” is on the very limit of what is considered safe according to the manual

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them https://www.custommade.com/by/emeraldcrafts/

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