Wow it has been a long time since we did a planer review. In fact the last time we did a planer review was back in May 2011 when we did the Delta Planer. This time we are going to tackle the Dewalt 13″ two speed planer. We hope you enjoy this review as the next planer review will be in another two years.
Looking around at this planer you might notice there are two models available, the DW735 and the DW735X. The planer is exactly the same. The only difference is the accessories you get with the X model. You get 3 extra knives and extension tables. With that said let's jump into the DW735. A while back I was working on a bar project using Purple Heart and Walnut. As you probably know, you can't just walk into Home Depot and get Purple Heart. For that we had to visit our local lumber yard who has just about any wood around. All their stock is actual lumber where the thicknesses are all different sizes. So it was our responsibility to get all the lumber down to the same thickness and that's where the Dewalt planer came into play.
I picked this planer up from my local Lowes, well not really local, it was the closest Lowes. They offer other planers, but at the time this seemed like the best one for my use. This is a 15 amp and has two speeds. Speed 2 produces 20,000 rpm and a 179 CPI. Speed 1 has 10,000 rpm's and a 96 CPI. Speed two is supposed to be for taking more material off quicker, but with not as nice of a finish. While speed 1 is slower, but a nicer finish. I ended up doing everything in speed 2 because I thought the finish in speed 2 was perfect. Besides having a two speed gear box as a nice option, this machine uses three knives which is a great feature. Might be one of the reasons that speed two looks so nice.
I really like the set up of this system. I like the fact that it rides on four acme screws which I thought was a lot more accurate and easier to get just the exact height I needed. The depth scale on the side was very easy to read and gauge what height I had the planer set to, which is very important. To lower or raise the head, there is a nice large handle on the right side of the machine. With big directions on the side that says one full rotation is 1/16″, it was hard to miss your points. On the left side you can easily set your turret depth stop with a dial for your common thicknesses. If you want 1/2″, you can set it to a 1/2″. Using the knob on the right hand side of the unit, you can always go higher, but never lower than 1/2″.
On the back of the unit is where the chip extractor is located. This did a great job taking the waste away from inside the machine and ejecting it out this port on the back. This system uses a fan assisted ejection system for removal. In fact when we were done, pretty much the whole lawn was purple as we didn't have it hooked up to a vacuum system. The base is a 19-3/4″ cast aluminum base which is very rigid and provides a solid surface.
Two features I really like are the automatic carriage lock which reduces the movements and helps reduce snipes. It's a nice feature and one less thing a user has to worry about before making a cut. The other item is the material removal gauge. While this is just a gauge and you still want to rely on the right hand side measurement, this is a nice feature. I like how the removal gauge bar is the full 13″, so no matter where you place the wood, it hits the gauge. You don't have to worry about placing the wood in the middle to get a reading. There is also a nice chart on the front that shows how much material you can remove depending on the width of your board. The maximum cutting depth is 1/8″ with a depth capacity of 6″ and obviously a width capacity of 13″. The unit weighs 92 lbs.
The only problem I experienced with this planer is when I was using it outside in the cold. I found the roller didn't do a very good job about pulling the wood through. Not that it was a big deal, but it is something to note. It was about 20° outside when this happened. All we did was point the heater at the back of the planer and it worked fine.
Overall this is a great planer and worth every penny. Very easy to set up and use. I found the measurements and accuracy to be spot on. The unit is heavy, but with the positions of the handles, it wasn't too hard to move around. The finished product was great. For as much Purple heart we sent through that planer, it seemed like the knives lasted a long time. Some of the cuts we even took off more than recommended for that machine and it did a great job. Only once did we get the tool to shut down. I would definitely recommend this planer to anyone serious about their wood.