Both new and experienced woodworkers can find value in bench-top planers. A planer can be used to reduce the thickness and smooth rough surfaces or natural flaws in your stock to produce high-quality pieces of furniture. If you find yourself spending tremendous amounts of money to replace expensive boards, then think of a tabletop planer as an investment to reduce replacement costs.
One of the most important qualities in a planer is the quality of the cut and snipe – the unlevel cuts on the front and/or back of a passing board). What new-buyers tend to do is look at the most popular power tool manufacturers and start comparing products from there. In this article, we’re going to focus on three planer models produced by DEWALT: the DW735X, DW735, and DW734. There are many overlapping features between the three models (e.g. motor – 15 amp that delivers up to 30,000 cuts per minute) but we’re going to focus on what sets the models apart.
First of all, one of the main distinguishing points between the DEWALT DW735s and the DEWALT DW734 is the blade length. The DW735X features 13-inch blades, slightly larger than blades used in comparable home-use table-top wood planers. This machine features a triple-knife system which both extends the life of the blades (up to 30% longer) as well as provides neater finishes. These blades reversible to offer longer usage time, but they can’t be re-sharpened and reused.
From the get-go, it’s important to understand the one difference between the DW735X and the DW735, namely the infeed and outfeed tables (we’ll talk more about this later) and the extra blades. The DEWALT DW735 is identical in every other regard. As for the extra blades, upon purchase of the DW735, you don’t get any additional replacement blades for when they dull over time.
This smaller and lighter planer uses the same triple-knife system for clean cuts, but the blade lengths are only 12-1/2-inches long. This may seem insignificant, especially to first-time buyers, but it can make a huge difference in cut depth and the quality of flattening boards. Of course, depending on how wide your boards are, anything wider than 12-1/2 inches can’t pass through this machine.
Infeed and Outfeed Tables
Included in the DEWALT DW735X planer kit are attachable infeed and outfeed tables. The length of each table is 13 inches long, giving operators an additional 36 inches of much-needed support to the 19-3/4-inch long base when feeding long boards into the machine. For new buyers, the convenience of the included tables, in addition to the additional disposable blades, makes this planer kit a much more appealing purchase than the original DW735.
As we mentioned before, this unit doesn’t come with attachable tables, meaning that you’re stuck with flattening shortboards or you need to purchase the tables separately. However, even the 19-3/4-inch long base offers more room and stability than a number of competing models with only 10-inch-long bases.
Unlike the DEWALT DW735, this unit comes with attachable infeed and outfeed tables which measure 16-3/4 inches long, giving users an additional 33-1/2 inches of support to pass long pieces of wood under the knives. Although they’re not as long as the DW735X’s included tables, they are still sufficient in supporting longboards.
Fully assembled, the DW735X is the heaviest of the three planer models discussed in this article. It weighs 105 pounds, making it a little too heavy to be portable. The weight, however, plays a vital role in keeping the unit stable on top of your workbench, though we recommend you secure the unit using the four corner mounting holes.
Without the table, the DEWALT DW735 weighs roughly 92 pounds after assembly. If you purchase the tables, you’ll add another 13 pounds to the machine. As we said earlier, this isn’t exactly a portable planer so you might as well attach the 13-inch tables to both the machine’s entrance and exit.
This is the lightest model of the bunch, weighing in at only 80 pounds. The weight isn’t exactly easy to carry up and down staircases, but users hardly ever need to take a planer between floors. We think the 80-pound weight, though relatively heavy, makes this just light enough to take from site to site if you’re working professionally.
One of the largest annoyances of using a planer is keeping the board locked down against the base table. Luckily, the DW735X features an automatic locking mechanism which measures the height of your board digitally and keeps it locked down as you pass it through the machine. Locking the stock is an essential step in reducing snipe, and this model eliminates most of the manual work for us.
The locking mechanism is identical to the DW735X’s system. The stock is measured digitally and locked in place prior to pushing it under the rapid-cutting knives. The DW735s can support stock of up to 13 inches in height.
With this model, we still need to use a little elbow grease. The DW734 features a four-column carriage lock. Users need to turn a lever to lock the board down against the base table. It’s not a big deal, and it helps greatly in reducing snipe, but the automatic locking system is preferable to manually pulling the locking bar down.
DEWALT DW735X vs DW735 vs DW734: Bottom Line
Newer is better. Here, in terms of the different features between the DW735 and the DW734, the DW735X is superior in every regard – you get longer blades for cleaner and deeper cuts, as well as additional blades to use when the originals dull over time; it comes with longer infeed and outfeed tables for greater support; it’s heavier but it prevents excessive, bothersome vibrations; and it locks your boards automatically.
The DEWALT DW734 would the preferable choice for people who are looking for a reliable planer for smaller tasks, and the DEWALT DW735 would be more cost-efficient if you’re not flattening long pieces of wood. However, in our humble opinion, you can’t go wrong with the DEWALT DW735. The quality of the cuts, reduced snipe, the powerful motor and amazing cutting speed make this the best option in our book.