Has your woodworking advanced to the point where you’ve decided to start dimensioning lumber yourself? If so, finding the right thickness planer can improve your enjoyment of woodworking. Is DeWalt DW734 one of those planers? Let’s find out.
In this DeWalt DW734 review we’ll examine the design and features of this benchtop unit to help you determine if it can improve your workflow in the workshop.
Why buy a thickness planer?
- Improves work efficiency;
- Gives access to more types of wood;
- Provides access to a wider range for projects.
A thickness planer, like any power tool, is designed to reduce work time while increasing workflow. It is easier to learn and use a wood planer than it is to learn and use traditional hand planes. Saving time planning provides more time for other parts of the build.
Many woodworkers use pre-dimensioned lumber because they lack the tools necessary for dimensioning. The best thickness planers open up the opportunity to use different types of wood that may only be available as rough sawn timber.
Another consideration is the board’s proportion. Having the ability to thin materials allows you to construct boxes, cabinets, or other projects using lumber with the proper thickness.
If you make furniture or projects using glued-up panels, your shop needs a wood planer.
Presenting The DeWalt DW734 Planer
- Powerful 15 amp, 20,000 rpm motor of the woodworking planer handles larger, deeper cuts in hardwoods.
- Three-knife cutter head with 10,000 rpm cutter-head speed of the thickness planer provides 96 cuts per inch, one of the finest finishes of any portable planer
- Disposable, reversible knives of the wood planer deliver 30% more knife life and make knife change fast and easy.
This benchtop planer allows you to take up to 1/8-inch of wood with each pass. It will accept boards up to 12.5-inches wide and 6.0-inches thick.
It uses a cutter head with three blades that will make up to 96 CPI and provides longer tables wings for better support.
You get the planer, three-knife cutter head, dust hood, and infeed/outfeed tables with your purchase.
DW734 vs DeWalt DW735X
This planer runs at a single speed, while the DW735X has two operating speeds. It also uses a less-robust column design, allowing it to weigh less than the DW735X. These differences make the DW734 cheaper to buy.
This product would be a good option for a shop looking for an upgrade or one that does a lot of lumber dimensioning. It may not be ideal if you predominantly use pre-dimensioned lumber.
- Three-blade cutter head;
- 1/8-inch maximmum depth of cut;
- Durable construction;
- Strong manufacturer coverage.
- A higher price point compared to other brands;
- Weighs 80-pounds;
- Has only one running speed.
DeWalt DW734 planer review
- 12.5-inches wide
- 6.0-inches thick.
I will begin this review breakdown of features by looking at its maximum capacity. This planer will accept lumber that is up to 12.5-inches wide. It will hold wood that is up to six inches thick as well.
That thickness limit is standard for benchtop designs. I would struggle to handle wood that was thicker than this, as it would weigh a lot.
The 12.5-inch width capacity provides some extra room compared to similar-sized models. It does fall short of the 13.0-inch benchtop designs out there, though. I find this a nice compromise in size that will not matter for many woodworkers.
- 15.0 amp motor;
- 20,000 RPMs.
DeWalt uses a 15 amp electric motor to power this benchtop thickness planer. Looking at the power-tool market shows that this is a typical motor size.
It is capable of generating 20,000 RPMs, which translates to 10,000 RPMs on the cutter head. That top-speed is under no-load conditions. This top speed may drop when you take the maximum cut from harder wood species.
DeWalt has designed the electric motor to run off of a standard household current of 120 volts. It can not be modified to run off of 220 volts. Also, remember that altering the planer will void out the warranty.
Cutter head and knives
- Three knives;
- 10,000 RPMs rotation;
- 26 feet per minute feed rate;
- 96 Cuts Per Minute.
What should be mentioned is that this wood planer uses a three-knife cutter head. Using three blades instead of two provides more cuts per inch and will give you a smoother first-pass finish. It will also increase blade-longevity by up to 30-percent.
The rollers provide a consistent feed rate of 26 feet per minute. Combining that with the 10,000 RPMs on the cutter head generates 96 Cuts Per Inch (CPI). You will get a reasonably smooth surface that requires less sanding.
The knives are disposable. They are reversible, extending the use of each one. You can perform a change-out without difficulty if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
It is worth noting here that DeWalt will not honor the product warranty if you use third-party blades in the DW734 benchtop thickness planer. You will need to use the DW7342 12.5-inch Disposable, Reversible Planer Knives, which is a bummer since these cost around 50% more than their generic counterparts.
Housing and tables
- 24 x 17 x 21 inches;
- 80 pounds;
- 33.5 inches of material support.
This model measures 24-inches x 17-inches x 21-inches. It weighs 80 pounds. You will notice it is harder to move around or store than some of the other compact designs out there, which is not ideal for small shop owners. The WEN 6552T only weighs 66 pounds, for example.
DeWalt provides two different hole sizes on each corner for mounting. The larger holes are for bolts, and the smaller holes are for nails or screws.
The manufacturer uses strong cast-aluminum for the metal components. DeWalt uses high-impact plastics and resins in other areas. It will be durable enough for shop conditions or out in the field.
Four columns support the cutter head carriage. They lock, offering a secure position that will not move during use. That will help to eliminate snipe.
A metal table offers a smooth surface for your lumber to move across as the knives cut. One of the stand-out features on this wood planer is the extra-long infeed and outfeed tables. They offer 33.5-inches of material support, which is more than you find on a lot of benchtop planers.
- 90-day money-back gaurantee;
- One year free service;
- Three-year limited warranty.
DeWalt is known for making quality tools. The company shows confidence with a robust coverage plan for the DW734 wood planer.
You have 90 days after the purchase date to return it if you do not like its performance. They also offer one year of free service, although you will have to pay postage. Finally, DeWalt covers material defects and labor for three years.
What Are Buyers Saying About The DeWalt DW734?
When doing research for this review I found plenty of users who have many positive things to say about this benchtop wood planer.
There are plenty of five-star reviews that rave about the tool’s performance. Even debris/dust collection (an issue with all benchtop planers) is bearable.
One complaint that you often see with small wood planers is snipe. The extra-long table wings eliminate this issue, even for beginners.
Another common theme that I stumbled upon is how well the DW734 compares to other models. Many buyers share the feeling that DW734 outperforms most of its competitors in all aspects of performance, with DW735X being the exception here.
Possible Alternatives To The DeWalt DW734
It would be appropriate to also present some alternative wood planers to help you make an informed decision. Some of these alternative models are also lower-priced.
DeWalt DW735X Benchtop Thickness Planer
- Purchase includes one stationary 13" Planer, in/out feed tables with fasteners (attached to the base of the Planer base), extra blades and dust hose adapter. Stand is not included.
- Three knife cutter head of the thickness planer delivers 30% longer knife life and makes knife change faster and easier
- Two-speed gear box of the wood planer allows users to change feed speed to optimizing cuts per inch at 96 or 179 CPI
Full review: DeWalt DW735X Benchtop Thickness Planer Review
You can upgrade to a larger capacity and heavier use with this planer. It weighs more and has a larger price tag, however.
This is a good option for high-volume shops and professional woodworkers. If you need more capacity or speed selection, definitely check out the DW735X.
- Two operating speeds;
- 13-inch width capacity;
- More stable carriage.
WEN 6552T Benchtop Thickness Planer
- Onboard material removal gauge informs users about the cutting depth of each pass
- Plane boards up to 6 in. T and 13 in. W
- 15 Amp motor generates 25,500 cuts per minute at a 26 ft. per minute feed rate
Full review: WEN 6552T Benchtop Thickness Planer Review
This benchtop design is more compact. That makes it easier for you to move and store. It also features a good dust collection system.
Those wanting more width capacity with a smaller footprint will find this planer a good alternative. If you are looking for a lower-priced planer with a little more cutting width and a smaller table, take a closer look at the 6552T.
- 13.0-inch width capacity;
- Fan-assisted debris port;
- Only 66 pounds.
Craftsman CMEW320 Benchtop Thickness Planer
- HARD AND SOFT WOOD MATERIAL REMOVAL: 15 Amp motor of the woodworking planer provides power for both hard and soft wood material removal
- MAXIMUM STOCK REMOVAL: The thickness planer features Poly-V Cutterhead drive for maximum stock removal
- SMOOTH OPERATION: The wood planer featuring two knife, quick change, solid steel cutter head mounted on ball bearings, assures smooth operation and long life
A cheaper alternative can be found with this planer. It has a basic design that is easy to use, something that new power-tool users will appreciate.
This would be considered an entry-level tool marketed for amateurs and DIY homeowners. Woodworkers on a tight budget should look more closely at the CMEW320.
- A budget-friendly price tag;
- Easy to use;
- Poly-V cutter head drive system.
The Final Trim
I hope that this review has provided you with the information needed for an educated purchase.
It should provide you with plenty of capacity for home wood projects without limiting your workflow. The power and speed provided by its motor will work with soft and hardwoods.
Three knives will create a smooth surface that should need minimal cleanup. The disposable blades should also last longer than a two-blade system would.
Finally, the build quality and product coverage will more than justify the price that you pay for this benchtop wood planer from Dewalt.