Major problem with Dewalt DW734 Planer

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Forum topic by Furnitude posted 09-06-2011 06:36 PM 19386 views 3 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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380 posts in 3502 days

09-06-2011 06:36 PM

As I started discussing on a separate thread, I’ve got a major problem with my Dewalt DW734 planer. I bought it used and in good condition. Because of some performance issues, I realized I needed to change the blades. From all I’ve ever read, this was supposed to be a snap. The only thing that has snapped so far is my patience. There are three blades, with 8 bolts each. Out of those 24 bolts, 17 (!) are either frozen, stripped or both. I used the allen wrench provided with the machine. I’ve used allen wrenches a million times, so I knew to engage the wrench fully before starting to turn it. The metal for the bolts is so soft that the bolts were immediately stripped with almost no force. I tried a Grabit bolt extractor: fail. Nothing. I tried LiquidWrench penetrating oil. Nothing. I tried pounding them with a hammer. Nothing. I tried grinding two parallel sides with a Dremel wheel but the heads of the bolts have a very low, oval profile, so that didn’t work either.

What to do? I’ve read a few other threads here and there of people having the same problem and using various remedies to take out the bolts. It strikes me as crazy that something so simple on an otherwise high-quality machine could turn into something so complicated and difficult. I’m afraid the machine is ruined! I’ve already put several hours at least into working on it. All of this could have been prevented if Dewalt had only used hex-headed bolts with enough of a profile to capture with a wrench. I’m not sure what options I have. I might try to take it to an authorized service center. I might try to find a metal worker who could remove the bolts. Does anyone have advice about how to remove the cutter head? Sorry for the rant, but I can’t afford to sacrifice hundreds of dollars over something so stupid.

-- Mitch, Also blog at

40 replies so far

View EvilNuff's profile


60 posts in 2622 days

#1 posted 09-07-2011 03:45 AM

I had zero problems at all with the bolts on my dw734, sorry to hear about your problems.

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3683 days

#2 posted 09-07-2011 03:54 AM

Had the same issues with a Delta bench top jointer….I feel your pain : (

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2685 days

#3 posted 09-07-2011 04:35 AM

I had the same problem with my planer [Ridgid]. I took it to the service center before wrecking the bolts and the tech used a metric hex driver, banged it with a big hammer, and they came right out. The wrench supplied with the planer was either soft or slightly undersized. I now use a metric hex driver in a screwdriver handle and have had no further probs.

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

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#4 posted 09-07-2011 05:19 AM

If the above doesn’t work, I have used progressively larger drills to drill out a center of the bolt. When you get to cleaning out the threads, use a tap. BTW, I have done this on other things, not a 734.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Furnitude's profile


380 posts in 3502 days

#5 posted 10-14-2011 01:30 AM

i’m still struggling with this problem. I’ve tried screw extractors, dremeling a slot for a screwdriver and pounding on the bolts to shock them loose. I called to power tool repair shops, including an official Dewalt place, and neither said they could help me. One of the problems is the angle is terrible plus the cutterhead turns. You release a little catch to turn it in the way you want, but it isn’t held there by anything. i couldn’t really get in any hard blows with a hammer because of the limited space and angle. I’m thinking of some options:

1. Taking the planer apart, removing the cutterhead and buying a replacement cutterhead. The cutterhead alone would cost about $100 plus the blades and the blade guards. That’s around $150 and I don’t even know if it would work. Paying $150 to get this working would be better than paying $400 for a new planer, especially since i don’t have $400 to spend.

2. Advertising the planer on craigslist with a description of what needs to be fixed. Maybe someone would be willing to pay $150 or so to buy it as is with the hopes that they could fix it.

3. Trying to re-install the bolts I took out—or using replacement bolts. The blades were really dull and not performing very well. Is that better than not having a planer at all?

4. Putting it in the trash.

All of these are very painful options. It’s so frustrating that something so small and simple could render such a complex machine useless. I love Dewalt tools generally. But all of this would have been prevented if they had only used bolts with hex-shaped heads.

-- Mitch, Also blog at

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#6 posted 10-14-2011 02:38 AM

Do you have room to drill the bolts out as I suggested before?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View HawkDriver's profile


447 posts in 2628 days

#7 posted 10-14-2011 02:52 AM

My 734 has Torx heads, not allen and I have had no issues (maybe mine’s a later model). If I were you I would try the following:

1. Remove the cutter head.
2. Soak the screws in liquid wrench over night
3. Center punch the heads.
4. Drill the heads and use spiral easy outs based on directions included with easy out sets.
5. Replace the screws with torx versions.

Easy Outs:

I have had great results with my snap-on easy out set on other applications. Adding a bit of heat to the cutter head may aid in loosening the screws as well.


-- Patrick, Helicopters don't fly. They beat the air into submission.

View Tim78's profile


16 posts in 2572 days

#8 posted 10-14-2011 04:38 AM

I had the same problem with my DW 735. I used my dremel and ground the heads of the bolts off. After removing the cover plate for the blades and the blades, the bolts came out by hand! (The pressure was released). I went to the DeWalt repair place and they quietly gave me a complete set of new hex head screws and wrench at no charge. Worked great!

Best wishes,


View WDHLT15's profile


1741 posts in 2471 days

#9 posted 10-14-2011 04:49 AM

I found the bolts on my older DW733 2 blade planer to be easy to snap off if even slightly over-tightened. And I mean slightly. You had to tighten them to the point that you were concerned that they were tight enough to hold the blade securely. If you went a slight bit further, they snapped off and had to be drilled out. I used a 1/8” drill bit to drill down into the snapped off bolt about 1/4 inch deep, reversed the drill, and the bolts would come out.

There is a product called bluecreeper that is the best ever at unsticking things.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View taoist's profile


124 posts in 2486 days

#10 posted 10-14-2011 05:36 AM

If you have an air compressor and an air hammer (rivet gun) there is a tool called a screw knocker that will knock the screw and with the proper bit will reform the head, to a degree. You can pick up an air hammer for about $20.00 from Harbor Freight or Northern Tools. The screw knocker I have came from an aviation supply company. There are a couple on ebay right now:

After you get the gun and knocker, you will need a 3/8” drive socket to fit what ever size the wrench is to fit you screws.
Needless to say the cutter head will have to be out of the planer to do this.
Good Luck !

View knotscott's profile


8008 posts in 3370 days

#11 posted 10-14-2011 12:35 PM

I had a similar issue with my Ridgid R4330 when it was new. Had to send it to a service center to change the blades, but it came back with the same issue….19 of the 21 screws wouldn’t budge. An impact driver with a hex bit did the trick. It sounds like yours may be in worse shape.

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

View Furnitude's profile


380 posts in 3502 days

#12 posted 10-14-2011 11:17 PM

after thinking about the prospect of not having a planer for months, i’m resolved to fixing the darn thing. I appreciate all the great suggestions. Unfortunately, I got a little eager with some of the bolts early on and they are stripped beyond hope. For one of the blades, I think only 3 bolts are stuck. as soon as i have time, i’m going to use that as my test run and try to grind off the heads. If I can remove the blade guards at that point, I think I’ll be able to remove the shafts from there. I could go at them with a hammer and/or try to get some vice grips on them. Something tells me that with the heads removed, the shafts won’t have anything to make them stuck any more. i’ll keep you all posted and try to take some pictures. thanks again!

-- Mitch, Also blog at

View electricalD's profile


116 posts in 3104 days

#13 posted 10-14-2011 11:29 PM

I work on an oil rig in an environment where salt plays havoc on everything with a thread. From what I can see you now have two options. Send it to the manufacturer for repair/replacement or get a qualified machinist to do the repairs. I am just starting into the craft but have 25+ years in industry, the last 13 in the oil field. I can tell you that once I buy my machines, the bolts are coming out and I am putting silicone grease on the threads. You don’t need much. Vaseline works as an alternative. Silicone grease never hardens and as I previously mentioned, not even the salt air affects the threads on a bolt or other fastening device. I have been using this for years and it never fails. You just have to be careful, I guess, in the case of woodworking machinery that you don’t put too much on that it gets onto the wood with which you are working. There are other non-seizing agents out there as well, like copper slip. You have to be careful that when using something like this that it doesn’t react with the metal, thus corroding it. Good Luck.

-- If there were no God, there would be no atheists, G. K. Chesterton

View Furnitude's profile


380 posts in 3502 days

#14 posted 10-17-2011 04:29 PM

Victory is mine! Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions. Yesterday I had time to work on my planer and I was able to remove all of the frozen bolts. I tried a couple of methods. One was to insert the allen wrench and hammer it in. That allowed me to remove two of the bolts. The others were too stripped. I got out my ancient Dremel and used a grinder wheel to cut off the heads. My first step was to cut a slot down the middle of the head. I was able to use a standard screwdriver to then remove one of the bolts. The next step was to cut a perpendicular slot. Using a hammer and screwdriver, I was able to knock off a few of the remaining corners and that broke the freeze. I was able to unscrew those bolts. On the ones that just wouldn’t move, I ground the entire head off, leaving the shafts in their holes. When I removed the blade plate (or guard), I found that the shafts were totally lose. So now all of the bolts are free. I’m going to replace them with these from McMaster-Carr:

I’m relieved that I’ll be able to salvage my planer. I was looking at going months without one. I spoke with someone at an official Dewalt repair center and he told me there was likely nothing I could do. I’m very glad I didn’t listen to him. Dewalt makes great tools. I own several and will buy them in the future. But I will also say that if anyone buys a new Dewalt planer, they should immediately see if the bolts can be removed. If they can’t, they should take it back to the store. What’s the purpose of having changeable blades if you can’t remove them?

Thanks again, everyone, for the suggestions. I appreciate the help.

-- Mitch, Also blog at

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3643 days

#15 posted 10-17-2011 04:38 PM

awesome! congratulations. I almost ran into the same thing with my 735, but luckily the inwards pressure I applied was enough to get those off.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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