New planer, new planer user

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 05-05-2012 01:57 AM 1793 views 2 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Charlie's profile


1093 posts in 1102 days

05-05-2012 01:57 AM

Just ran some maple through my new DW734. Good lord, I wish I’d had one of these a long time ago.

Anyways…. doesn’t seem to be a lot of information with it on how to use it. Set it up. Best practices and all that. I mean, I just brought the cutter head down until it looked like I was barely going to take anything off a fired it up and sent a board through.

I hardly took anything off, but what a finish this thing leaves.

Anyways… looks like a quarter turn brings the head down 1/64. So I flipped that board, brought the head down a quarter turn, and passed that board through again. I did this several times. Flip. 1/64 down until I got to a finished 3/4 inch.

I guess what I’m looking for is some tips on best practices. Is 1/64 kinda wimpy?
Grain direction?

When I’m doing face frames, can I stand the pieces on edge? They’re stable that way?

Oh and the new separator …. the planer is absolutely clean inside. That 30 gallon garbage can though….. THAT has quite a pile in it. Nothing on the floor. Nice.

19 replies so far

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

2021 posts in 1050 days

#1 posted 05-05-2012 02:20 AM

Hi Charlie! Congratulations on your new tool. I don’t have one exactly like that…a bigger heavier duty one. But use tips are nearly universal.
First, never stand in front of the piece being planed in case of kickback. Stand to one side or the other.
Grain direction works best if you can orient the piece so the cutter cuts with the grain like a hand plane would. In other words, feed the board so the grain points up towards the operator.
Amount taken off depends on several things: cuts per inch, horsepower, type of wood, and uniformity of grain. Curly stuff and power planers are not usually friends, but a light cut and slow feed (or high cuts per inch) will help. 1/16 inch is usually a good maximum if your machine can handle it. I’ve hogged off 1/4” in a single pass, but not recommended as a practice. There are special safety concerns for that much cut.
I wouldn’t stand a piece on edge if the edge is less than 3/4” and the height not more than twice that. For thinner edges you can build a sub-bed with “fences” that are shaped to fit under the rollers and cutter heads. But still, the width to height ratio is limited.
You did well to plane equal amounts off both faces. Exposing more new wood on one side than the other invites cupping, maybe other deformities.
These are a few basics. Happy and safe planing. Dan

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL

View Martyroc's profile


2708 posts in 1122 days

#2 posted 05-05-2012 02:51 AM

Hi Charlie, that’s a great planer I have owned my for a little of 2 years. Here is the advice I can give you based on my experience.
1. If you are using old dirty lumber, try to clean it up with a belt sander first. I use a lot pallets in my projects the dirt is like sand paper and will dull your blades very quickly.
2. If using soft wood I have hogged of 1/16 Mostly pine, and hardwoods it’s best to resaw on the Bandsaw, if you have one available, minimizing the amount the planer has to strip off.
3. Always stand to one side to be safe from any kickback, as noted by Dan above.
4. The unit has a head lock sometimes I use it most of the time I don’t, never had any issues. I check whatever a plane with my digital caliper and have been good so far.
5. This is not areplacement for a jointer if you put a cupped board in it will just be a thinner. Upped board when it comes out.
6. I built a jig from a wood magazine design to do edges, if I find the project I will send it to you in a PM. The last few inches of the board is usually where it will twist and destroy the perfect 90 degree angle you had.

Other than that have fun, the blades are two sided so if the get dull just flip them around. I have had to do that after about my 25th pallet. There is a place online that sells the 3 pack of blades for $37, better tha everyone else selling it for $60 and up. I will PM that to you as well when I remember who it is.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View ajosephg's profile


1862 posts in 2377 days

#3 posted 05-05-2012 03:32 AM

Since no one has brought up snipe, I’ll break the ice.

I have a DW735, and built a workstation ( for it that has in and out feed tables that greatly minimize snipe. Notice that I said minimize, not eliminate. Most of the time I have no snipe, but every once in a while, I’ll get some. Rather than trying to develop a unified theory of snipe, I now allow for it by making the work piece 4 inches longer than will be required in the project so the snipe can be trimmed off.

BTW – I usually take 1/4 turn increments and never more than a 1/2 turn.

-- Joe

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

2021 posts in 1050 days

#4 posted 05-05-2012 01:08 PM

Martyroc mentioned cleaning up old lumber with a belt sander. I’m afraid that might compound the problem rather than solve it. I try hard to arrange processes so that cutting edges never enter a sanded piece. Sandpaper has the bad habit of leaving grit buried in the wood that dulls subsequent cutting edges quickly. Martyroc is right, however, that the used wood needs to be cleaned. A good sharp paint scraper is quicker than sandpaper. If it gets dull from the dirt, you can quickly touch it up.

I’m reluctant to plane used wood unless there is some way to detect broken staples, nails, or other metal leftovers buried and likely unseen. Definitely never plane used concrete form boards! Or boards that sat on gravel or sand. Fresh, clean pallets offer a pretty good source for small pieces, and I’ve been known to saw out the clear parts rather than try to pull the nails or staples.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3664 posts in 2776 days

#5 posted 05-05-2012 03:10 PM

Another snipe help suggestion:
I lift the trailing end slightly when starting a board. Then, slightly lift the leading end as the board is about to exit the planer. This is helpful when planing long boards. Even using the head locking device won’t eliminate all snipe on longer material.


View helluvawreck's profile


16334 posts in 1682 days

#6 posted 05-05-2012 03:43 PM

I’m going to get one of these Dewalt planers (or current model) in a couple of weeks. Thanks for the post.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Charlie's profile


1093 posts in 1102 days

#7 posted 05-05-2012 05:00 PM

If you’re going to do something like face frames (for example…. since I have a lot of them to do) would you feed a 10ft board through? Or would you rough size it to lengths, plane it, and then finish size it?

I have a stack of maple, straight line ripped one edge, random widths and in 8 and 10 foot lengths. I work alone so I was thinking about trying to get the material into “easier to handle” sizes before planing. Good idea? Bad idea?


View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

2021 posts in 1050 days

#8 posted 05-05-2012 05:18 PM

Well, Charlie, it depends. Usually it is more efficient and gives more consistent results to plane to the required thickness in the biggest possible sizes you can handle. If you have a 40” or bigger support surface (15” or more on each side of the planer) you can effectively feed and receive a 10’ stick using the technique suggested by Bill White. If you go with precut lengths, you lose an AWFUL lot of good lumber to snipe allowance (see ajosephg post). If you rip the long sticks before planing, be sure to plane them all in one setting of the planer. It is almost impossible to accurately repeat a given thickness in a subsequent batch, digital technology possibly excepted. To ease the handling, and to minimize loss due to cupping, I would rip roughly to width for face frames and then plane the batch before cutting to length. On these smaller planers, feeding two sticks side by side is a bad idea. If you space two apart at opposite sides of the planer, the feed rollers have a better chance of gripping the narrow pieces. Dan

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL

View Charlie's profile


1093 posts in 1102 days

#9 posted 05-05-2012 06:14 PM

Right now I have the infeed and outfeed tables that come with the planer. They make the total support surface about 34 inches. I could pretty easily rig up some temporary roller stands using PVC pipe for rollers, but to pass an 8 or 10 footer through, I think I’d have to move some stuff around in the shop and pass the boards through the open french doors :) (I don’t have a really big shop…. 16×18 and the table saw and workbench are in the middle). And then I’d still have to find a way to pass an 8 footer through the table saw to rip it. I think I have enough room for that (with a very little bit of shuffling-stuff-around) but no way on the 10 footers.

I understand about planing it all at once. I had thought of that and figured that when it’s time for planing, it ALL gets planed so it’s all the same thickness. There’s a 3/4” stop on it, but….. just better to do it all at once.

So… ok… pretty sure I can plane them at full length. Ripping….. not sure, but maybe. At least the 8 footers. One of the things that’s foremost in my mind all the time…. because I’m working alone all the time …. is “can I set this up to EASILY handle the material and SAFELY guide it through…” whatever process I’m doing. That means, no rickety “jury rigged” supports. Temporary is ok, but has to be solid and stable. And NEVER having my body in an awkward position. And if I’m tired…. the only thing electrical that gets turned on is lights and radio…hehehe….always plenty of cleaning, straightening, etc and it makes the other work go easier and faster. :)

View mveach's profile


56 posts in 1199 days

#10 posted 05-07-2012 05:11 AM

Note: The extensions on my 734 had to be adjusted per the manual. Also note that the end of the extensions are all that contact the wood. They do this to reduce friction. If you are planing a board that is not long enough to go past this edge, it is more likely to snipe.

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


381 posts in 1837 days

#11 posted 05-07-2012 05:33 AM

Had my 734 for a few years and love it. No other tool paid for itself as fast as that planer did. The other guys have covered most of the tips. The one thing that I would add is that you can run boards on edge if you build a jig with adjustable fences that will keep it stable on edge. You can find plans for one on

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Cato's profile


641 posts in 2128 days

#12 posted 05-08-2012 02:56 PM

All pretty good info and tips for you Charlie.

I use a wire brush on all 4 sides of rough lumber to get any grit out of it before jointing or planing. I go back over the wood with a softer brush to get the debris off. Saves those thin two sided blades from some abuse.

Light passes are the key as well as flipping the board. The infeed and outfeed tables on my DW planer have adjustment screws so that you can raise the outer ends of the tables to help with snipe.

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

2021 posts in 1050 days

#13 posted 05-11-2012 10:56 PM

Hey Charlie,
I finally remembered a nagging thought about something not mentioned. You asked about edge planing and with individual pieces there are some pretty severe limitations. If, however, you gang those pieces on edge on a flat surface and fasten the bundle into a “thick board”, then you can do the work quickly, safely, and accurately.

OK. So how to fasten them into a bundle? I’ve been known to screw them together in the end waste, staying to the center to avoid any chance of a knife collision. The screw, of course, goes through the planer horizontally in the center of your bundle ends. Two way tape, temporary glue (hot glue, paper glued between, etc) at the ends will work too, but slower. Just be sure the individual pieces remain upright as you glue or fasten them. Dan

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

2021 posts in 1050 days

#14 posted 05-22-2012 01:01 AM

Hey Charlie,
How is the work going with the planer?

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL

View Martyroc's profile


2708 posts in 1122 days

#15 posted 05-22-2012 01:57 AM

Post # 4 Dan, your absolutely correct about the sandpaper, however in my case i was talking more extreme. Since i use more than 75% pallet lumber, I run through blades after 2 – 3 pallets, with some heavy sanding before hand with the belt sander i can go about 25-30 before I notice the planer working harder and the boards not as smooth. With Rough sawn lumber its not an issue but with the grit and small particles you chew through blades pretty quickly. Most if not all of the pallets I use are from overseas, and some of the woods you cannot beleive they are using these for pallets, I guess from where these come from, its not exotic hardwood, they treat it like we do pine here.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

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