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Tips for benchtop planer use. Scratched up on first use?

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Forum topic by ppg677 posted 04-04-2016 02:10 PM 1043 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ppg677

78 posts in 321 days


04-04-2016 02:10 PM

Hi, I bought a Dewalt DW734 and used it for like 90 minutes this past weekend to send through 4/4 Maple stock.

The planer works well. However I’m a bit miffed that the infeed table is scratched up already on first use (scratches deep enough to feel small ridges with my fingers). The actual surface table is still smooth and looks to have light scratches. A friend of mine has the same planer and he claims his still looks like new after hours of use. I’m almost inclined to go return/exchange simply because it bugs me even though I feel a bit guilty about it. My friend also says he applies Johnsons Paste Wax to the metal surfaces of all his tools, which I did not do.

So, am I doing anything wrong? Should I be taking light sanding to the boards before hand? I’ll certainly start taking a brush to the boards to try to dislodge any tiny debris. I don’t think they were laid on the floor of a garage or anything which I was warned about.

Second question— I read that glue is something to be avoided. Can I send through a joined board that has a significant ridge as shown in the pic?

Third question— this planer has a cutterhead lock. Its annoying to unlock, change height, relock. So I found myself just sending through stock without locking the cutterhead (and I had no snipe issues). Typical? I noticed the Ridgid R4330 doesnt even have a cutterhead lock because of some different design that is apparently more stable.


20 replies so far

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7216 posts in 2841 days


#1 posted 04-04-2016 03:57 PM

There should be no need for any pre-sanding prior to planing, but a stiff brush to remove dirt and debris can’t hurt. It’s likely that debris of some sort is what caused the scratching….nothing inherently wrong with the planer itself would be my guess. Wax can help fill minor scratches, but honestly it’s not something I’d be overly concerned with.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4858 posts in 2279 days


#2 posted 04-04-2016 04:17 PM

Wow, I’m surprised by your report. It almost looks like a staple or bit of metal caused the damage. Glue line are of no concern, although they should be scraped after the glue sets a bit. It’s not that the planer can’t handle it, but rather it can plane unevenly if there is a tall glue ridge.

You could try buffing it with a synthetic abrasive pad (fine) attached to an orbital sander to smooth the scratches. Then as always keep it waxed… I like Bostik GlideCote.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1835 days


#3 posted 04-04-2016 04:43 PM

My 734 has scuffs from a few years use, but nothing deep. Yours looks like it had a couple deeper scratches from debris, but the rest of the scuffing looks normal. Keep it waxed, and its nothing to worry about.

As far as the glue goes, you’ll be fine, just do light passes. I usually scrape the excess off while it’s still soft, or if I know I’ll be sending it through the planer, sometimes I’ll just grab a paper towel, not even moistened, and wipe off excess and smear it flat, so I don’t have a ridge. The planer will clean off whatever got smeared flat.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

424 posts in 591 days


#4 posted 04-04-2016 09:04 PM

And those scratches are going to affect the performance how? (there is a subtle hint there but the answer they won’t). Can’t speak to the Dewalt but it looks similar to my Delta…stamped steel tables that will show wear marks with time. Your cutter head is on top. As for the cutter head lock, I think you’ll regret not employing it…your boards will be flopping around (not good for the board) and your cutter head will be flopping around (worse than your board flopping around…can’t possibly contribute to the longevity of the tool). With time you’ll get into a rhythm with the unlocking, lowering, locking…I don’t even think about it anymore. As for glue, best to try to scrape as much off as you can but sometimes you have to run it through and realize that the knives are replaceable (and in your case guessing they are 2 sided like the Deltas so with time you will reverse them, use them again and then buy new ones). Have had my Delta (22-580 I think) for about 20 years and have run a pile of wood through it and am only now getting to the end of the second set.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4456 posts in 3426 days


#5 posted 04-04-2016 09:10 PM

As has been said, clean debris from the stock, wax the table. USE THE CUTTER HEAD LOCK (it is there for a purpose).
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View ppg677's profile

ppg677

78 posts in 321 days


#6 posted 04-05-2016 04:22 AM

So tonight I took a very close look at an unplaned rough sawn board in my small stack of lumber, and sure enough there was a tiny little rock embedded in the board. When I applied a brush to the board, it was gone.

I’m a terrible consumer. I exchanged the planer tonight for another one. The scratches bugged me. I also wrote Dewalt customer service a note suggesting better “on boarding” for new users.

I actually did read the users manual before operating the tool for the first time. Here is what the manual said: ” Plane only wood that is free from foreign objects, with no loose knots and as few tight knots as
possible. Do not plane wood that is severely warped, twisted, knotted or bowed. ”

Is it too much to ask for Dewalt to provide a better information to new users? Like tips of:

- Brush your boards off before using to remove embedded debris

- Don’t lay boards on your garage floor. They’ll pick up debris, oil, etc.

- For best results, apply wax to the metal surfaces.

- Don’t plane heavy glue lines

- Don’t plane end-grain

- For wide boards, don’t even think about trying to take off 1/8”.

- Keep saw dust clear from the rollers.

View bruc101's profile

bruc101

1077 posts in 3007 days


#7 posted 04-05-2016 05:24 AM

You took a planer back because it had scratches in it? What are you going to do when you get scratches in this one?

I’ve got to plane over 350 brd ft of no#2 common Cherry tomorrow, probably be more scratches added to the planer I use and I doubt very seriously I’ll even notice them. But, as I usually so, I’ll take some fine sandpaper and sand the planner bed and wax it before I run that much stock through it.

-- Bruce Free Plans http://plans.sawmillvalley.org

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1835 days


#8 posted 04-05-2016 01:00 PM

I understand that you were frustrated that you put those scratches in the table, and one could argue that this cost is a drop in the bucket to a company like DeWalt or the place you bought it from, but I think taking it back was a bit dishonest. The instructions said “Plane only wood that is free from foreign objects”, they should need to tell you how to do that, nor make assumptions regarding the cleanliness of your shop floor. They shouldn’t have to, nor could they ever possibly, go into detail of every single thing you should do before sending the wood through.

Regarding the 1/8” on a wide board, that’s a lot of maple to ask the planer to remove in a single pass, and the change in the sound of the machine in doing so should indicate that maybe that’s a bit much. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to remove 1/8” of hardwood in a single pass, regardless of width. Maybe that makes me over-cautious, but I’d rather do a couple passes on either side and put less wear and tear on the machine, and get a better cut quality. Also, the manual does say this, in the Planing Basics section… NOTE: There is a certain area on the carriage of your planer that will allow the 1/8” depth of cut on material less than 6” wide. See Figure 12 for an approximate location of this area. Your material must move under this section of the carriage or planer will not take a 1/8” depth of cut. If the material is wider than 6”, it will not fit through this area with an 1/8” depth cut

Another tip that I’ve found works well, to get a better final surface out of the planer : sneak up to within 1/16” of final thickness by taking passes off both sides, then go to final thickness with super-light passes to finish. Also, keep a spray bottle of water nearby, and if you get some spots prone to tear-out on the first couple passes, give them a few shots of water, let is soak in for a minute, wipe off any excess, and then plane them.

When you get a nick in a knife (which you probably will at some point, and you’ll see a slight ridge on the board when it comes out)...the knives are reversible. What I’ve found works well, is if I have a lot of lumber to mill (right now I’ve got a couple hundred feet of oak), I’ll flip back to the nicked side of the knives for the rough milling, and then go back to the good side for final milling. Flipping the knives take about 5 minutes.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

424 posts in 591 days


#9 posted 04-05-2016 01:24 PM



I understand that you were frustrated that you put those scratches in the table, and one could argue that this cost is a drop in the bucket to a company like DeWalt or the place you bought it from, but I think taking it back was a bit dishonest. The instructions said “Plane only wood that is free from foreign objects”, they should need to tell you how to do that, nor make assumptions regarding the cleanliness of your shop floor. They shouldn t have to, nor could they ever possibly, go into detail of every single thing you should do before sending the wood through.

Regarding the 1/8” on a wide board, that s a lot of maple to ask the planer to remove in a single pass, and the change in the sound of the machine in doing so should indicate that maybe that s a bit much. I don t think I ve ever tried to remove 1/8” of hardwood in a single pass, regardless of width. Maybe that makes me over-cautious, but I d rather do a couple passes on either side and put less wear and tear on the machine, and get a better cut quality. Also, the manual does say this, in the Planing Basics section… NOTE: There is a certain area on the carriage of your planer that will allow the 1/8” depth of cut on material less than 6” wide. See Figure 12 for an approximate location of this area. Your material must move under this section of the carriage or planer will not take a 1/8” depth of cut. If the material is wider than 6”, it will not fit through this area with an 1/8” depth cut

Another tip that I ve found works well, to get a better final surface out of the planer : sneak up to within 1/16” of final thickness by taking passes off both sides, then go to final thickness with super-light passes to finish. Also, keep a spray bottle of water nearby, and if you get some spots prone to tear-out on the first couple passes, give them a few shots of water, let is soak in for a minute, wipe off any excess, and then plane them.

When you get a nick in a knife (which you probably will at some point, and you ll see a slight ridge on the board when it comes out)...the knives are reversible. What I ve found works well, is if I have a lot of lumber to mill (right now I ve got a couple hundred feet of oak), I ll flip back to the nicked side of the knives for the rough milling, and then go back to the good side for final milling. Flipping the knives take about 5 minutes.

- BinghamtonEd

Ed…I don’t worry about fine ridges from a slightly nicked knife. In fact I find them useful when sanding. When the ridges disappear I know I’m done sanding with the 80 grit.

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1835 days


#10 posted 04-05-2016 02:21 PM

If possible, I prefer to avoid the ridge. I find that, without the ridge, I can get a great finish-ready surface with a couple passes of a sanding block with 150 & 180, 220 if needed based on wood/finish type. If I have a large project, I’d like to save the time spent sanding out all of those ridges with a lower grit. But, like you, I’ve also sanded them out on smaller projects.

I’m starting the milling for my new kitchen cabinets this week, and I’ll be putting a new set of knives in prior to final milling (the stock ones have one dull side, and one nicked side on them). If I can avoid sanding out those ridges, I’ll save myself a lot of time and sanity.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

628 posts in 1418 days


#11 posted 04-05-2016 02:53 PM

Don’t bother changing dull or nicked blades. Just take the planer back to the store and get a new one.

View nerdbot's profile

nerdbot

97 posts in 827 days


#12 posted 04-05-2016 02:55 PM

I was also going to suggest, since you just purchased it, you could call Dewalt and they most likely would have sent you new beds. Especially within that first 90 day money back guarantee window. I have quite a few Dewalt tools (routers, table saw, planer, 20V tools). If it’s an issue that can be solved directly by calling the support number, I’ve been completely happy. Only once did the issue go to the local service center, and that was when I had a bit of trouble, but they eventually fixed the issue.

My first router (ever) had an issue within the first 30 days – there was slop in the plunge router, apparently from a missing washer/bearing in one of the plunge arms. I don’t recall if it arrived that way or if it broke loose (I had loaned it to a friend before I was able to use it for the first time). Dewalt said the easiest thing for me to do would be to return it.

View ppg677's profile

ppg677

78 posts in 321 days


#13 posted 04-05-2016 02:56 PM

Yes, I feel a bit guilty about it. Home Depot is about a mile away from me. The “90-day money back guarantee, no questions asked” makes it far too easy to broach the line of dishonesty. But frankly I felt really crappy about using a tool for the first time, reading the directions beforehand, and making an operator error that resulted in deep scratches in an otherwise shiny smooth table. So now I’m a happy customer, will continue to buy local for this reason (as opposed to ordering from Amazon), and Home Depot / Dewalt gets to sell a refurb unit.

Also I was concerned f there were deep scratches in the infeed table, then surely my knives got knicked too.

Anyhow, yeah, I was a bit torn. I felt crummy about what I did to my tool and I felt crummy about making the jaunt over to Home Depot.

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

424 posts in 591 days


#14 posted 04-05-2016 03:03 PM


Don t bother changing dull or nicked blades. Just take the planer back to the store and get a new one.

- Kazooman

Wait until he has to try to remove the screws holding the knives! Unless they found a smaller gorilla to tighten them at the factory then he’ll have a real complaint!

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

424 posts in 591 days


#15 posted 04-05-2016 03:06 PM

This site needs a “cancel” button. Anyway, as long as I hit the wrong button and now feel obligated to finish, when it is time to flip the knives, there are a few people here that will give you some hints.

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